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Saturday, March 01, 2003
Tex of Whacking Day, he of the beautiful color scheme, calls to our attention this opinion piece by Richard Dawkins, in the Daily Fisk.
Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist who has written many well-received books, some of which I have, but haven't got around to reading. Dawkins commits a common sin in scientists, believing that a lifetime of intense study in one area entitles you to credibility when you pontificate on matters outside your specialty. It will occur to some that I am guilty of the same sin, because here I am, pontificating. This is true. But, for me as for Dawkins (or Tex, or any of a number of bloggers who day jobs are a mystery to me), We the People get to voice our opinions on these things.
But Tex and I don't get to do it in the pages of the Independent. Dawkins, speaking there, is no less a celebrity opining outside his sphere of expertise than Sheryl Crow. I'll admit that, between Dawkins and Crow, I'd rather see Dawkins in the Independent; he's less likely to tell us that the way not to have wars is not to have enemies. And giggle.
Apparently Tony Blair has now come out and said that Saddam must go, rather than continuing on with the "disarmament" line. This morning's paper said that Bush has said much the same thing (I must have missed that). Dawkins thinks it's some sort of ploy on Blair's part, but Blair would have to be a lot dumber than he is to believe that the real problem with Labour was that he only intended to disarm Saddam, rather than remove him altogether. The anti-war faction doesn't want any war, for whatever purpose.
But the coincidence of both Bush and Blair saying this tells me, poor thinker that I am, that they are throwing off the UN mask. So far, their main justification for military action has been Saddam's lack of compliance with UN resolutions. As he has in the past, then, Saddam has been promising compliance, then compliance with reservations, then complied a little, then... Pinning war to the UN resolutions means he can keep this up forever. Now, if these reports are correct, they're saying Saddam must go regardless of compliance.
If they're playing down the disarmament aspect, I'd say we were ready to roll without too much more UN footsy.
Which election is this? Bush's original election, or last year's midterm elections? If he means the 2000 election, then he's apparently forgotten all about that little September 11 business. I'll say again that you can make a good case (right now) that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11 or Al Qaeda, but it's obvious that the administration thinks otherwise.
Schröder, who is so popular his government is in danger of collapsing. Also, if I recall correctly (and I may not), his party's opponents actually got more of the popular vote, but due to some arcane German election procedures, Schröder was returned to office. Now, again if I recall correctly, these weren't shady or suspect proceedings, but the natural way German elections work, although perhaps obscure to us. I emphasize this because Dawkins's very next sentence is:
Dawkins says this three times in this piece. What I say three times is true. Nope, sorry, doesn't work that way.
To our friends in foreign lands: Bush is the President. He was elected President. Get over it.
At the time, I was not happy with the outcome of the 2000 election, nor with the way it was decided. However, that's all over now and Bush is President. He did not have a clear mandate, that's certain, and had Gore been declared the winner, the same would have been true for him. If Gore had been declared the winner, Richard Dawkins would be equally correct (which is to say, not at all) in saying that Gore was not elected.
Dawkins's whole point is that Britain will help Bush get elected by helping him
win the war easily, Is that really what they want to do?
Oh, but he's not anti-American! Don't make that mistake:
This really pisses me off:
As a scientist, I would like to say the following to Mr. Dawkins: Bite me.
Yeah, there's a drained brain behind me as I type, using his mighty intellect to print out silly pictures.
You got that right, bubba. British universities pay chicken feed, and on top of that you have to live in Britain, where the climate's cold and the beer's warm.
Because, of course, only dimwitted uncouth fundamentalist rednecks would vote for Bush. "Oh, how do you stand living in a country with those...those...persons? I'd feel defiled."
Dawkins's awesome mental powers seem to be working on some esoteric logical plane to which my feeble intellect cannot aspire. See, it was the majority who voted for Gore last time, but this time Bush seeks to woo a majority of Americans by slaughtering some Arabs. Apparently last time some uncouth rednecks inadvertantly voted for Gore when their shotguns happened to blast a hole in the ballot next to Gore's name. Either that, or many of the knuckle-draggers who didn't vote at all last time refrained because Bush somehow failed to include enough blood and guts in his platform
But remember, he's NOT anti-American.
Yeah, if only Britain had a better climate. If only it wasn't so crowded. If only the crime rate was lower. If only self-defense was legal. If only Big Brother wasn't watching. If only the tax rate wasn't so high. If only Europe weren't taking the place over. If only the British intelligentsia weren't filled with condescending twits like you.
Thanks for Niles though. He says he's not going back until you can do something about the climate.
Shivering Briton Peter Briffa also has a few comments.