On to slightly more important matters…

When you read about the evils of Saddam’s regime, it all almost begins to make sense. Maybe they’re right, you think. Maybe the Iraqi people really will be grateful to have been liberated from this repressive, murderous, torturous regime.

And then you read this:

The US intends to shatter Iraq “physically, emotionally and psychologically” by raining down on its people as many as 800 cruise missiles in two days.

The Pentagon battle plan aims not only to crush Iraqi troops, but also wipe out power and water supplies in the capital, Baghdad.

It is based on a strategy known as “Shock and Awe”, conceived at the National Defense University in Washington, in which between 300 and 400 cruise missiles would fall on Iraq each day for two consecutive days. It would be more than twice the number of missiles launched during the entire 40 days of the 1991 GulfWar.

“There will not be a safe place in Baghdad,” a Pentagon official told America’s CBS News after a briefing on the plan. “The sheer size of this has never been seen before, never been contemplated before.”

And then you come to your senses.

If this is true, and not just some kind of planted Psyop story designed to freak out the Iraqis — well, fuck us all. Does even the most bloodthirsty warblogger honestly imagine that the Iraqi people are going to be grateful, if they even manage to survive a two day blitz of 300-400 cruise missiles?

Sometimes the cure really is worse than the disease.

* * *

And then there’s Nicholas Kristoff’s level-headed cost-benefit analysis in this morning’s New York Times (registration required — get over it):

The starting point to justify an invasion, it seems to me, has to be an affirmative answer to the question: Will we be safer if we invade?

The real answer is that we don’t know. But it’s quite plausible that an invasion will increase the danger to us, not lessen it. As a C.I.A. assessment said last October: “Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks [in the U.S.]. Should Saddam conclude that a U.S.-led attack could no longer be deterred, he probably would become much less constrained in adopting terrorist actions.” It added that Saddam might order attacks with weapons of mass destruction as “his last chance to exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him.”

Frankly, it seems a bad idea to sacrifice our troops’ lives — along with billions of dollars — in a way that may add to our vulnerability.

I don’t know if Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction (though attacking Iraq is certainly one way to find out for sure). But I don’t doubt for a moment that there are plenty of people who would like to see a reprise of 9/11, and who will view this as a terrific opportunity to make that happen. The pro-war types seem to be thinking of the Attack on Iraq as an exciting new reality series they’ve been looking forward to — but as a resident of the City Most Likely to be Destroyed by a Suitcase Bomb at any Moment, I have this nagging feeling that I may end up on the wrong side of the television screen…