Closure on nuance

Posted: Jul 31, 2003 12:00 AM

Another tape-recorded message from Saddam Hussein surfaced this week, making it the third audiotape he has released in the past month. If we're really serious about finding this guy, maybe we should start searching Iraq's recording studios.

On the tape, Hussein acknowledged the death of his sons Uday and Qusay Hussein and called their deaths "good news" – which is more than the Democrats have said. He thanked God for his sons' "martyrdom." Indeed, Hussein said that even if he had 100 other children, he "would offer them the same path." Apparently the alluring path of martyrdom is not one Saddam is choosing for himself.

Hussein praised his sons for putting up a brave fight, noting that U.S. forces had surrounded their compound with advanced weaponry, ground troops and warplanes. In case that didn't work, U.S. forces were prepared to tell Janet Reno that a small Cuban boy was inside the house.

In other terror news, the government issued a warning to the airlines this week about terrorist attacks on commercial aircraft being planned before the end of the summer. Al-Qaida has apparently sized up the new security measures put into place by Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta and has discovered some areas of vulnerability. Among the weaknesses the terrorists hope to exploit is the fact that airlines are prohibited from looking for Arab terrorists.

The memo sent out by the Department of Homeland Security says groups of as few as five terrorists might try to seize planes for suicide missions soon after takeoff or right before landing. As the warning explains: "The hijackers may try to calm passengers and make them believe they were on a hostage, not suicide, mission." Norman Mineta sent out an emergency follow-up memo warning airlines not to make assumptions about whether hijackers really want to fly to Cuba based solely on their Arab appearance.

The Bush administration's warning to the airlines apparently stems from the psychological makeup of conservatives. The conservative psyche was recently plumbed by some top researchers from the University of California at Berkeley, Stanford University and the University of Maryland at College Park. (Profiling conservatives is OK, just not Arab terrorists.)

According to the study, "terror management" is among "the common psychological factors linked to political conservatism." This feature, we learn, "can be seen in post-Sept. 11 America, where many people appear to shun and even punish outsiders and those who threaten the status of cherished worldviews."

Liberals, by contrast, think outside the box. For example, the left's "cherished worldview" prohibits racial profiling. But after 9-11, liberals approached the issue with an open mind. In recognition of the fact that 19 Arab immigrants with the identical hair color, eye color and skin color, half of whom were named Mohammed, had just murdered thousands of our fellow countrymen, liberals decided to keep prohibiting racial profiling.

Meanwhile, conservatives, with their simple-minded lack of nuance, tried to "turn back the clock" to a time when angry barbarians did not fly planes into our skyscrapers. They shunned – and even punished – outsiders who threatened their cherished worldview of a country free of savage terrorist attacks.

The report described "liberal" traits as including a powerful "need for closure." (I believe conservatives just want closure on the word "closure.") But in the press release, one of the researchers, Jack Glaser, said the study suggested that Bush had "ignored intelligence information" about Iraq because of the conservative "need for closure." So I guess another liberal trait is "making no sense."

The study also explained that "conservatives don't feel the need to jump through complex, intellectual hoops in order to understand or justify some of their positions ..." Whenever you have backed a liberal into a corner – if he doesn't start crying – he says, "It's a complicated issue." Loving America is too simple an emotion. To be nuanced you have to hate it a little. Conservatives may not grasp "nuance," but we're pretty good at grasping treason.

As proof of the conservative lack of nuance, Glaser cited Bush's statement, "I know what I believe and I believe what I believe is right." Not only that, but Bush once told a reporter: "Look, my job isn't to nuance."

Uday Hussein didn't need a phony study to comprehend Bush's lack of "nuance." The London Sunday Telegraph recently reported that, soon after the war began, Uday was deeply depressed. According to the former director of Iraqi television quoted in the Telegraph, the last words he heard Uday speak were these: "This time I think the Americans are serious. Bush is not like Clinton. I think this is the end."