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The Porky Pig Approach On Not Invading Iraq

Horse Fly
Published Thursday, August 15, 2002

When I ask myself why I believe the United States should not invade Iraq, as the Bush administration seems fixing to do, I find myself wondering how my inner Porky Pig might put it.

A long time ago, when I was seven or eight years old, I read a Porky Pig comic book that made a lasting impression on me. In the story, as I recall, the Acme Bubble Gum Company offered a prize—a trip around the world—to the winner who, in twenty-five words or less, could fill in the blank: "I like Acme bubble gum because..." Millions of contestants wracked their brains for just the right argument, but Porky won the prize! He was depicted waving to the cheering crowds from an open car celebrating his victory with a ticker-tape parade. "I like Acme bubble gum because," he wrote, "it is pretty good."

That early in my life I am sure my vocabulary was not voluminous enough to include the word "straightforward," but my nonverbal gut delighted in Porky’s sincerity. His ingenuousness got right to the obvious, non-padded point.

Porky would certainly not argue, as I would try to argue, that Iraq has been cleared of any involvement in the events of 9/11. Nor would Porky cite the work of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) that from 1991 to 1998 destroyed 90-95 per cent of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction as well as the factories and equipment that produced them and the long-range missiles that could deliver them.

Porky would not go to the lengths I would to point out that back in 1991 U.S.-led forces took the skies over Iraq in just the first week of the Persian Gulf War. He would not ask what kind of military threat Iraq could possibly pose if its anti-aircraft capability is only 70 per cent of what it was then and it’s present anti-aircraft artillery can reach only 6,000 feet anyway (why U.S. and British patrols in the no-fly zones can bomb with impunity).

Porky would not plea that there is no legal justification for one country to invade another for what it might do. He would not have seen Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise’s movie "The Minority Report" that illustrates the fallacy of punishing people "pre-crime" because they are always free to choose differently than we might expect.

I would say that under cruel sanctions for the past eleven years, Iraq is in an economic straitjacket, but Porky would not. He probably could not do the simple arithmetic to figure out that even with Iraq selling all the oil it can, after U.N. deductions from its oil sales, what the UN gives Iraq back to spend on its humanitarian and oil industry needs boils down to about $300 per Iraqi per year.

Porky would probably not calculate that invading Iraq would be expensive, but I would point out that according to Congressional analysts, the U.S. war in Afghanistan is estimated to cost $10.2 billion this year, not to mention the lives of scores of U.S. servicemen. I would also cite a Guardian report that estimates that 1,300 to 8,000 Afghans were killed directly by bombs and as many as 10,000 to 20,000 other Afghans died indirectly from disruption of aid deliveries, exposure and malnutrition as they fled the bombs.

No, my inner Porky Pig would get right down to brass tacks and fill in the blank in twenty-five words or less like this: the United States should not invade Iraq because... bombs make children cry.

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