A (Not Very) Sophisticated, Edited Version Of The Editorial Below (Sent To Wash Post 3/12/2003)
For someone who does happen to "give a damn about the truth", I'm disappointed in Richard Cohen's shallow dismissal of Dennis Kucinich on your editorial page.
Mr. Cohen, how do we determine the truth? The only effective, publicly proclaimed pro-war argument is that the case is top secret, and therefore can't be defended, and that we are to accept that the information and reasons for war really exist. To have faith amidst uncertainty. The only problem with this approach is that a powerful case has already been made for explaining our war path, thankfully freeing our minds of the demands of faith and towards the exercise of reason.
This case is what's known as The Project For The New American Century (TP), which very clearly supports military action in the Middle East, has aggressively done so for a number of years, and is grounded upon reasons very clearly different from those being forwarded by the current administration, the key planners of which for all intents and purposes are the same people.
Unfortunately, without going into the reasons in the TP, they're not being publicly acknowledged, or debated. Apparently they're not relevant anymore. Leaving a free American in a quandary. No longer is the question "who" do you believe, or "what" do you believe, but an altogether more bewildering, since we already know "who", "which what" do you believe? The merry-go-round argumentation for political expediency, or the more ideological case that hints of great political dangers?
The responsible belief is clear. Crystal. We are a free country, with freedom of speech, discourse and argumentation the lifeblood, so let's not throw it away defending ideologies and not arguments for war. An argument must be made with information, and the more accurate and less cynically manipulated the better. Human lives are at stake. The current mix of secrecy, innuendo, fear-mongering, fabrication, plagiarism, dirty tricks, reasons recycling, and little substance interpreted with great hyperbole is less than convincing to any free thinking, freedom loving, non-jingoist individual.
Power, and those who exercise it, should be accountable, as any moral actor would intend to be. The projection of American power in the world is, by founding definition, the projection of the "people" of America. We have a stake, a voice, a responsibility, and the vulnerability that accompanies them. The editorial page is one of the places for this gauntlet to be thrown down. Let's respectfully air and assess all of the valid, factually-based defensible arguments, of which Kucinich's is one, referee dueling interpretations, and lay bare the ground upon which we stand as a freely willing moral people defending life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Integrity should be our legacy. Communication, shared information, debate, and common understandings the keys to collective decision making and accountable moral action. Spread it around. Accountability, and a clear sense of direction, should be our paramount concern. We don't have that today, and we need to declare it. In this regard, the UN is not serving as an "irrelevant debating society", as some have described it, but a very relevant one, being the testing ground internationally for asserting values, making a case for action in their regard, and defending the case against rival cases.
Let's do the same back home. The editorial pages and writers should take heed, or face the fate of becoming "irrelevant". Remember, if it turns out your case just isn't any good, or you don't know how to play the really good hand you're keeping in your sleeve, you can always blame the French.
As we can see, there was no top secret case. No hidden information we couldn't reveal in fear of tipping our hand. This war was gratuitous, and history will inevitably detail it this way. No matter the future.