In any debate there are people on the two sides, and then a lot of people in the middle. Polls have often showed that how you phrase the question skews the kind of response that you receive.
There is a hilarious TV show out called “The Colbert Report” with the guy from the Daily Show Steven Colbert. Here is a link to a site that some nutty fan runs, to get the feel for it. In any case, when Colbert had Tim Robbins on his show, his first question was “Why do you want to cut and run, and why do you hate our troops?” Robbins stammered out some lame response that we shouldn’t have been in Iraq in the first place and the whole thing was kind of done for a joke but it was an excellent example of how wording a question can change the response.
The reason that this matters is that for Iraq, all of the people against taking down the insane dictator Saddam and his berserk evil sons Uday and Qusay, go under the family friendly moniker “anti-war”. Thus they are “anti-war” protestors, with the not-so-subtle hint that everyone else is some kind of war-mongering lunatic.
Today at Saddam’s trial some of the myriad, completely innocent people that Saddam’s henchmen tortured spoke up to testify against him and his crimes against humanity. I won’t repeat them because they are gory but feel free to go here or here or pretty much anywhere on the web for details.
The war wasn’t started because people are “pro-war”. The war was started, among other reasons, to free people, especially Kurds, from these types of tortures and grievous human rights violation. How about a new term? How about “pro tyranny”. That is much better than “anti-war”. They weren’t against Saddam’s tortures, or the misery he inflicted on his people, so they could also be “anti-freedom”.
It sounds silly and stupid but simple terms tend to define the debate for people in the middle, people who don’t have much time to think about issues, or care only a bit. Probably people who read this blog don’t fit into any of those categories (you either like it a lot or hate it a lot) but it is important for those that think freeing Iraq from the butcher Saddam was a good thing for the world need to think about how the enemies of freedom are defining the mission.
Finally, there will likely be people that compare the situation at Abu Ghraib prison to Saddam’s crimes of butchering hundreds of thousands of innocents. In their land of moral relativism the mistreatment, while abhorrent, of a few Iraqi prisoners is the equivalent of Saddam’s crimes, so who are we to judge? That is just idiotic and ignorant. Is everything the same as everything else? Is shoplifting the equivalent of murder because they are both crimes? Of course not. If you don’t believe me, ask the Kurds. They won’t have a museum about Abu Ghraib, but they have a horrible museum of Saddam’s crimes.
If someone has a better title for the “anti-war” crowd than mine I am all ears. We need to start somewhere…