Sunday, February 16, 2003

We spoke, maybe they listened.

"UNITED NATIONS (Feb. 16) - Rattled by an outpouring of anti-war sentiment, the United States and Britain began reworking a draft resolution Saturday to authorize force against Saddam Hussein.
Diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the final product may be a softer text that does not explicitly call for war."

I know this must disappoint George W., having gotten his way all his life from Exeter to admission to Yale with a C average, but this may finally be a sign of reason prevailing over petulance.
When millions of people around the world are crying out against the war, pausing to listen is a wise decision. Millions of protesters may have a point.
Back in the Vietnam era, politicians spoke ominously of the domino effect. The theory was, if one nation fell to communism, others would follow like tipping dominos.
The domino theory was used repeatedly to justify U.S. involvement in what was basically a civil war in Vietnam. We all know what happened, and we all know that communism is now the last bastion of fools who have led their impoverished countries into economic rubble.
As a former government spin doctor for the Department of Veterans Affairs, my job was to craft phrases designed to mollify the media on matters like Persian Gulf Syndrome.
With the media clamoring for information about the odd, multiple illnesses striking returning Gulf War veterans, I coined the term "you can't rush the science," meaning that we didn't have any answers until all the research was done on the causes of various diseases our vets were developing.
While that was partially true, it was a convenient catch phrase that made it difficult for the media to pressure the VA for answers it had, but did not want to provide.
To wit, the federal government is filled with spin doctors whose job it is to provide catch phrases to justify whatever action that is on their agenda.
That the public falls for so many of them is less a credit to the spin doctors than a reflection of the lemming mentality of our society.
If more people would wake up, look around and judge for themselves what is right and what is wrong, critical reasoning would take the place of slogans and catch phrases designed to mollify the benignant electorate, who settle for pat phrases.
The catch phrase this administration has used, "You're either for us or against us," is but one example. It precludes the possibility that they could be wrong and displays an arrogance that the world has spotted and called us on.
The administration has two options: Either listen to the opposing voices, or hire better spin doctors. The ones they have are slipping.

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