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 V.15 No.33 | August 17 - 23, 2006 

Thin Line

We Need a Reason—We get spooked. In the wake of another attempted terrorist attack uncovered by the Brits last week, I, for one, was pretty creeped out. That might have something to do with my lack of faith in airport security.

In my dread, it's hard not to get carried away, not to blow things out of proportion or jump at every misleading headline. Fear does that to you. So does guilt. So does need.

According to the results of a Harris Poll that came out on July 21, 50 percent of the people polled believe Iraq had illegal weapons when we went into the country in March 2003. No matter how many times it's been proven that there weren't any "weapons of mass destruction," half of us, theoretically, still believe they were there. Half of us believe there was a reason—a good one—to do what we've done, to spend what we've spent in lives and money and resources.

Some newsfolk are flummoxed. How could it be? How could so much of the public still believe in the looming WMD tale, even after we told them--proved to them--it wasn't so?

A base level of patriotism that I can't even fathom was important to my elders, to generations before me. Our country, collectively, is like the woman who somehow can't see her boyfriend is a jerk; the father, who in spite of all the smoke curling out from under his kid's door, can't wake up and smell the marijuana. The lie lives because we need it to live.

Well, that—and Fox News.

According to a Newsday report, Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Michigan Rep. Peter Hoekstra released a report that might have had some people confused two weeks before the poll was conducted. The report said that since the 2003 invasion, 500 chemical munitions had been collected. Just to be clear, no one said they were the fabled WMDs or that they had been hidden from the U.N. Sources stated quite the opposite. Still, it was the top story at Fox.

Then there's this beauty from Fox on July 21, "Are Saddam Hussein’s WMDs Now in Hezbollah's Hands?" That's a headline from this year, from 2006, after we've shown repeatedly that there weren't any hidden weapons, after Bush's coworkers squirmed in a glaring public light and said to some extent, "Eh, maybe not. Maybe that's a 'no' on the scary weapons."

But we need them. We need weapons of mass destruction. We need a reason for our behavior, a reason to believe in our government.


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