When the Enemy Has Your Mother

This is long, apologies. I don't believe Blogspot does that whole truncation/link to rest of blabbering thing.

My friends, partner, and I all know that our city by the Bay is part of a happy Liberal bubble. While it's nice to have everyone around you agree with your political views as ever so self-evident and justified, it also becomes perplexing (for me at least) to deal with aliens, er, conservatives like my mother.

My mother is an intelligent woman. I can't understand why she falls for the current administration's shiny pretty distractions and highly-waxed spin, every damn time. She loves to talk about how great these charlatans are. She insists on forwarding me every last drippy, faux-patriotic screed that comes through her inbox. She does this even though she knows I disagree with her, and that hearing her talk about politics drives me mad. Perhaps she carries on because, like me, she thinks that the other side has to see the light eventually.

Usually, when she starts going off, I tell her that the kids are about to jump out the window and that I really have to go. This worked earlier in the week, when she started going off about how badly and disrespectfully Rumsfield was being treated during his interrogations, and how the only one who had anything nice to say was Elizabeth Dole, who brought up how many hospitals and schools we've fixed, etc. etc. To which I couldn't help but point out that infrastructure repair is critical, but TOTALLY FUCKING IRRELEVANT to the inquest...whoops, sorry, Mom, Iz is tottering on the windowsill! Gotta go!

Then there are the days when I can't help but respond. I try to be even-handed, and to provoke her into thinking for herself. I suspect I just piss her off. But I'm trying to reach out, I really am. As I did two days ago when she sent me this:

> It is amazing how the facts are unimportant to so
> many, and how soon they forget! (Read through to the
> bottom!)
> "One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq
> the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction
> and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom
> line." - President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998
> "If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our
> purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the
> threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction
> program." - President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998
> Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there
> matters a great deal here. For the risks that the
> leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or
> biological weapons against us or our allies is the
> greatest security threat we face." - Madeline
> Albright, Feb 18, 1998
> "He will use those weapons of mass destruction again,
> as he has ten time since 1983." - Sandy Berger,
> Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb 18,1998
> "[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and
> consistent with the US Constitution and laws, to take
> necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and
> missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond
> effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to
> end its weapons of mass destruction programs." -
> Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl
> Levin (D-MI), Tom Daschle (D-SD), John Kerry (D - MA),
> and others Oct. 9,1998
> "Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of
> weapons of mass destruction technology which is a
> threat to countries in the region and he has made a
> mockery of the weapons inspection process." - Rep.
> Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998
> "Hussein has chosen to spend his money on building
> weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his
> cronies." >- Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of
> State, Nov. 10, 1999
> "There is no doubt that ... Saddam Hussein has
> invigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate
> that biological, chemical and nuclear programs
> continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status.
> In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery
> systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit
> missile program to develop longer-range missiles that
> will threaten the United States and our allies." -
> Letter to President Bush, Signed by Sen. Bob Graham
> (D, FL,) and others, December 5, 2001
> "We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein
> is a tyrant and threat to the peace and stability of
> the region. He has ignored the mandated of the United
> Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction
> and the means of delivering them." - Sen. Carl Levin
> (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002
> "We know that he has stored secret supplies of
> biological and chemical weapons throughout his
> country." - Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002
> "Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has
> proven impossible to deter and we should assume that
> it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power." -
> Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002
> "We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is
> seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." -
> Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002
> "The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October
> of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains
> some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons,
> and that he has since embarked on a crash course to
> build up his chemical and biological warfare
> capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is
> seeking nuclear weapons..." - Sen. Robert Byrd (D,
> WV), Oct. 3, 2002
> "I will be voting to give the President of the United
> States the authority to use force-- if necessary-- to
> disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly
> arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is
> a real and grave threat to our security." - Sen. John
> F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9,2002
> "There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is
> working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and
> will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five
> years .. We also should remember we have always
> underestimated the progress Saddam has made in
> development of weapons of mass destruction."- Sen. Jay
> Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002
> "He has systematically violated, over the course of
> the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution
> that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his
> chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear
> capacity. This he has refused to do" - Rep. Henry
> Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002
> "In the four years since the inspectors left,
> intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has
> worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons
> stock, his missile delivery capability, and his
> nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and
> sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members..
> It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam
> Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage
> biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying
> to develop nuclear weapons." - Sen. Hillary Clinton
> (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002
> "We are in possession of what I think to be compelling
> evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a
> number of years, a developing capacity for the
> production and storage of weapons of mass
> destruction." - Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8,
> 2002
> "Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein.
> He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an
> oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly
> grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to
> miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating
> America's response to his continued deceit and his
> consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction ..
> So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass
> destruction is real" - Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA),
> Jan. 23. 2003

I stewed for a while. Why does she send this shit to me?

But eventually, I became pleased. Because she sent it to a big group of friends and relatives, and doesn't know how to bcc:. Because she gave me an opportunity to reach some complacent conservatives, and maybe lodge an uncomfortably nagging tickle in the back of their brains:

Hi Mom and friends,

This is indeed interesting.

While I admire the research this person did in compiling these quotes, I would have appreciated an equal amount of effort going into finding the instances in which the quotees were perceived as contradicting themselves.

The reason is that I doubt any of these people are going to deny that Saddam Hussein was a threat, and that something needed to be done.

What Mr. Bush's critics are saying, and rightfully so, is that the specific tactics and information he used to take our country to war were badly timed, misleading, and fraudulent. Not that we shouldn't have done anything. Not that we should have kept our noses out of it.

I urge each and every one of you to research this matter yourselves. It is too easy to get swept up in a calculatedly divisive wave of emotion based on skewed information, or a quick email forward.

With much affection,


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