Sunday, June 19, 2005

"Iraq is gonna get it."

All this talk about the 2002 Downing Street memos again brings back a memory seared into my brain by the surprise I felt at the time.

This was a week or two after the WTC attack on September 11, 2001, a time during which all sorts of closed-door meetings were being held in the Senate and elsewhere. The media, it seemed, had reporters and cameras parked outside these closed doors at all times.

At the conclusion of one of these meetings (probably a meeting of the Senate Intelligence or Foreign Relations Committees), as the members streamed out from behind the massive doors, a camera at about shoulder height recorded the sights and sounds of the distinguished gentlemen passing by.

As Senator Jesse Helms walked past the camera he looked at it and said, "Iraq is gonna get it."

I was floored by the indiscretion of the statement and because it was the first mention I'd heard of Iraq in connection with the WTC attack. My sense is that Iraq was always "gonna get it" and that the WTC attack only added further cover.

As the Iraq invasion drew closer and closer my position became that the war was probably necessary. The real reason had to do with bringing about change in the Arab Muslim world, to increase the chances for democratic change, which would, in turn, make the governments there more answerable to the populace, thereby reducing conditions leading to Islamic radicalism and terror. Something like that. In other words, I thought the neocons might be right.

I thought the neocons might be right in the sense of John Perry Barlow's brilliant "SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL". Barlow was trying to understand events, and came up with his Mexican-drunk-driver-ploy analogy (sorry, you'll just have to read his piece).

I don't know if Barlow's take is correct, whether the neocons were right, or much of anything in this world. But when Helms quipped, "Iraq is gonna get it," I was stunned.

I'm puzzled, now, by the fact that I can't find any references to his quip. I'd have though someone besides me registered it. Hell, maybe it was a dream.

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