Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Savage war. Dan Savage, the editor of Seattle's The Stranger and a noted sex columnist, caused a stir earlier this year when he came out in favor of the war in Iraq. He hasn't changed his mind, but this week he offers some regrets:

I regret that the president of the United States is a lying sack of shit. And I regret the first piece I wrote about Iraq. I was taken in by the Bushies' attempts to link Saddam and Osama, and conflate Baathism with Islamo-fascism, and the first piece I wrote is so credulous that I can't read it without cringing. I put too much stock in Condoleezza and her mushroom clouds, Colin and his mobile weapons labs, and Cheney and his alternate reality.

Savage hangs his hat on Christopher Hitchens's coat hook, arguing that the United States had a responsibility to remove Saddam Hussein's lunatic homicidal regime, especially since we had so much to do with propping him up over the years. It's an eminently respectable argument, even if I don't agree with it.

Unfortunately, Savage goes insane at the end. Here is his last paragraph:

Saddam Hussein was our man in Baghdad for years, our creation, our problem. And that it's costing American lives and money to remove Saddam Hussein from power is, in a sense, only right.

Money? Okay, fine. But lives? Is Savage serious? Is he really sitting up there in the Pacific Northwest, somehow satisfied or even pleased that American soldiers are making the moral equation even by doing us the favor of getting killed in a war that Savage himself doesn't have to fight? This is repulsive.

Remedial reading for Savage: today's New York Times front-pager on Army Sergeant Jeremy Feldbusch, who, while serving in Iraq, was hit by a piece of shrapnel that blinded him and damaged a part of his brain that controls emotions.

Savage may believe it's "only right" that Feldbusch's life has been ruined, and that Donald Rumsfeld's long-ago handshake with Saddam has thus been somehow negated. What Times reporter Jeffrey Gettleman really shows us, though, is the true horror of war - and why it is a moral obscenity that the Bush White House lied about weapons of mass destruction.

Savage should stick to what he's good at. Like licking doorknobs.

The Dissector's year in review. Danny Schechter, the executive editor of Mediachannel.org, blogs some of the lowlights of 2003 here. And check out his new personal website, Dissectorville.

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