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JUSTICE: Crime & Scandal | February 18, 1998


An Unpublished Letter to Los Angeles Times

Note: In 1998, UN inspectors were on their way out of Iraq -- the dynamic was the opposite of the situation in 2002.

In a perfect world, there would be no Saddam Husseins. And should one ever arise, we could talk to him or embargo his people; and he'd see the light and mend his ways. Or else all our President would have to do is push a button or wave a magic wand or something and the tyrant and all his henchmen and weapons of mass destruction would suddenly disappear, with no one else, on their side or ours, getting hurt...which is exactly what a lot of folks, both here and abroad, seem to think should happen.

That would be nice, of course; but in the real world, about the best we can do is what our diplomats, our Commander-in-Chief, and our men and women in service are doing. And what will happen after the bombs start dropping, if indeed they must? Well, in the real world, that in large measure, unfortunately, seems to be up to the insane Mr. Hussein, despite the wishes of some that an outcome be guaranteed.

Incidentally, in a perfect world, we could be governed by an absolute monarch, a king or queen whose every act was sacred. But the founders of this country had seen in the real world that no one is perfect, that absolute power corrupts absolutely: That is precisely why federal power is divided amongst three branches, divided further within each branch, and ultimately divvied out to each of us millions of voters; and that is also why it is sheer folly, in the real world, to give carte blanche to "inquisitors general" or to expect personal perfection from public figures, whether they reside on Mount Rushmore, Pennsylvania Avenue, or Capitol Hill.

"Reality bites" sometimes, but "nothing's perfect".

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