Ross Mackenzie
Q: Who are you? A: Your basic average American - Everyman. Q: OK, Everyman. Yesterday was the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the worst such single-day loss of life since Antietam or Cold Harbor. Here's the microphone. How do you feel? A: Angry. Outraged. Q: But can't you say we sort of deserved it? A: No. Q: The economic and military superpower that we are? A: That's baloney. Certainly the dead didn't deserve it. They were innocents. And to suggest our existence, our behavior as a nation and a people, somehow justified the hatred that produced the 9/11 conspiracy is the purest guilt-driven fatuous nonsense. Give me a little more time and I'll tell you how I REALLY feel. Q: So who are you angry at? What are you outraged about? A: Angry at the conspirators and their controllers and enablers and the fanatic goons that made them possible. Outraged at Muslim extremism, at Arab apologists, at the notion that 9/11 somehow was my fault or the fault of my country. And at the turn-the-other-cheekers and rationalizing jerks and pusillanimous pussyfooters here and abroad that don't think we should do anything about it. Q: Like what? A: Like declaring Yasser Arafat's terror regime, so deftly defended by pious anti-Semites, as part of the international terror network. And like, for starters, taking out Saddam. Now there's an idea. We keep saying we'll do it. Let's get going - let's roll! Q: But, Everyman, what about Congress and the United Nations and the international community? A: Look. Saddam has violated every UN decree and resolution directed at him. He threw out UN weapons inspectors in 1998. And Congress? Congress is a joke. Q: How can you say that? A: Easy. After three days of debate 11 years ago, the Senate voted 52-47 (and the House 250-183) to go after Saddam; Congress re-authorized Saddam's removal during Clinton's second term. He's still there. The only reason the Democrats are demanding another vote is that they fear this president, as opposed to the previous one, would actually do something. Now Daschle, who clamored for still another Senate vote, says the Senate will need at least two months - conveniently until after the congressional elections, of course - to make up its mind. Q: War against Iraq again - at what incredible cost? A: Yes, it could be incredible, particularly if Saddam uses biochemicals, as he has against Iran and his own Kurds. But we have ever-better military technologies. More likely, allied casualties would be light, as they were in the Gulf War despite the low groanings of the likes of that supreme blowhard of a senator, Teddy Kennedy: "Most military experts," he said, tell us "the 45,000 body bags the Pentagon has sent to the region are all the evidence we need of the high price in lives and blood that we will have to spare. We're talking about the likelihood of at least 3,000 American casualties a week, with 700 dead, for (the many weeks or months) the war goes on." Precisely 44,852 of those body bags went unused. Q: Everyman, Everyman! Those are human lives, American lives, we're talking about! How can you justify going after Saddam again? And what about the maxim, 'First win the people, then win the war'? A: President Bush already has the people behind him. The polls show about two-thirds of the American people think Saddam should go. They think that already. They don't believe the Saudis or the French or the Canadians or the American left. They believe Messrs. Bush, Cheney, Powell and Rumsfeld. They believe Condoleezza Rice. They believe satellite reconnaissance. They believe Iraqi defectors, such as Khidir Hamza - who used to run Iraq's nuclear program - that Iraq has greatly improved its missile-delivery capabilities and could possess three nuclear weapons within three years. They believe other intelligence that Iraq has limited stocks of chemical weapons and extensive stocks of biological weapons - and that Saddam has demonstrated his willingness to use such weapons against Iran, Israel, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and his own people. They believe Saddam is harboring Qaidists now, as he harbored the big-time terrorist Abu Nidal. But.... They believe, as President Bush said at West Point, that America has a moral obligation to take out Saddam (or anyone) via pre-emptive strike if we know, or think we know from the best available evidence, that he is a credible threat to us specifically and mankind generally. In the wrong hands, weapons of mass destruction are a threat to everyone (as I, your basic average American, fully understand). National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice is right when she says, "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." Q: Isn't that rather a childish, twitty, nitwitty remark for someone in such a high position? A: Buddy, listen. It's the truth. So let's not go wobbly. Let's demonstrate that 9/11 changed everything for all of us - for the better. Take Saddam out now. Make it the exclamation point on the epitaph for those murdered on 9/11.

Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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