Tuesday, December 10, 2002

SOLIDARITY WITH SADDAM? Oh, great. The four Canadians who plan to be human shields have entered Iraq. It's one thing to stand up for the suffering Iraqi people and call for an end to economic sanctions (must I point out that, perhaps, Saddam's actions may have something to do with their continuation?), but to place yourself in harm's way on Iraqi territory is pretty damn close to siding with the dictator, is it not?

Fred Hiatt sounded a similar note in a Washington Post column yesterday on "Saddam's Lawyers" in the antiwar left: "The opponents of war often claim to be speaking for the Iraqi people. In any dictatorship, it is impossible to gauge how the people feel, particularly in one as brutal as Iraq. Two years ago the Revolutionary Command Council added 'amputation of the tongue' as an approved punishment for anyone who speaks ill of Saddam Hussein or his family."

Again, this is not an argument for or against military action. But it is awfully difficult to distinguish between reflexive anti-Americanism (or opposition to liberal Western culture, for that matter) and what passes for pacifism these days.

Sad to say, one of the Hollywood celebs who attended the anti-war press conference today was the wonderful Tony Shalhoub. If you're a fan of TV whodunits, his new ABC/USA Cable show "Monk" is a keeper. One reason it's so enjoyable, as noted by S.T. Karnick in National Review Online, is that while Monk's character is an extreme obsessive-compulsive (to the extent he's been institutionalized), the show in no way treats his disability in a mawkish fashion. Indeed, it's Monk's maddening fixation with order which makes him a brilliant detective. The show's a delight to watch, notwithstanding the star's politics.

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