"Gassed his own people."
It's a pretty awful idea, and just about everyone who supports war in Iraq will utter that exact phrase at some point. Then, they'll nod slightly and look for your capitulation in the argument. If they don't get it, a look of conviction (about you) will cross their face and you can bet your lunch money they're thinking "one of them."
It never seems to come up that "gassing anyone" is a pretty bad thing to do, and "gassing someone else's people" is execrable as well. In other words, the hidden logic to "gassing his own people" is that using poison gas on human beings can be ranked in some sort of least to worst order. But when we find ourselves making *those* sorts of distinctions, is there really any more "up" or "down"? Isn't that what makes it true that we're in an "abyss" in the first place?
A friend adds,
"For me, the most disappointing aspect of the war/anti-war debate (if you can
call it that) thus far has been the willingness of the American public to
accept the absurd proposition that Iraq can possibly prove they do NOT have
weapons of mass destruction. I'm no PhD, but I'm fairly certain that
proving a negative has never been successfully done before. The fact that
so many Americans have gullibly accepted that this "opportunity to prove a
negative" is somehow giving Iraq an opportunity to avoid war is so
frustrating to me. It's as if this country is trapped in a Monty Python
sketch. If the chances for death and destruction were not so great, I would
be laughing out loud over this absurdity."