The Truth, Mainly - 12/23/2002

War and peace: a Christmas cacophony
by Leon Satterfield

U.S. intelligence officials "predicted Saddam will use his biological and chemical weapons if he believes he is about to fall. . . .They expect Iraq to use such disease weapons as anthrax, poisons like botulism, and mustard gas."—Associated Press, Dec. 19, 2002.

(I heard the bells on Christmas Day/Their old familiar carols play/And mild and sweet the words repeat/Of peace on earth, good will to men.)

"I have never seen as much discipline as I've seen in this operation. To the extent that people thought we were prepared for the first Gulf War, as they say where I come from, they ain't seen nothin' yet."—Sen. Joe Biden, quoted by Associated Press, Dec. 9, 2002.

(O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth/And praises sing to God the King and peace to men on earth.)

"On July l, an AC-130 pounded several villages in Afghanistan's Uruzgan province, and Afghan authorities said afterward that 48 civilians were killed, including women and children celebrating a wedding."—Associated Press, Dec. 9, 2002.

(Holy infant, so tender and mild,/Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace.)

"Saddam Hussein missed his last chance to come clean with the world, the White House said Wednesday.—"Lincoln Journal-Star, Dec. 19, 2002.

(Hark the herald angels sing, Glory to the new-born King;/Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.)

"Mr. Goldhagen's argument is that.the genocide against the Jews did not arise out of nothing: it was related to the Christian culture of Europe."—Book review, NY Times, Dec. 9, 2002.

(O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, you bring us hope and beauty./Thy strength and love which never cease show us the way to lasting peace.)

"The countries dubbed an Axis of Evil by President Bush may be going nuclear, U.S. officials fear. . . ." "Calling them by that name may have accelerated their programs," said John Wolfsthal of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace—Associated Press, Dec. 14, 2002.

(Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.)

Rev. Pat Robertson says Islam is "violent at its core." Rev. Jerry Falwell says the prophet Mohammad was a "terrorist."—NY Times, Dec. 6, 2002.

('Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la, la la la la.)

"The Iraqi leadership is doing all it can to deny the United States any pretext to start another war….it remains to be seen whether Baghdad's best try will be enough."—The Jordan Times, Dec. 10, 2002.

(Have yourself a merry little Christmas./Let your heart be light./From now on our troubles/Will be out of sight.)

"North Korea called today for the U.S. to negotiate a nonaggression pact between the two countries, calling it the only way to avoid a war."—NY Times, Dec. 16, 2002.

(O tidings of comfort and joy/Comfort and joy,/O tidings of comfort and joy.)

"A Bush administration strategy announced yesterday calls for the preemptive use of military and covert force before an enemy unleashes weapons of mass destruction."—Washington Post, Dec. 11, 2002.

(O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth./And praises sing to God the king, and peace to men on earth.)

"Al-Qaida continues to command an extensive network of well-financed terrorist operatives in 40 countries."—Lincoln Journal-Star, Dec. 18, 2002.

(Peace on the earth, good will to men, from heaven's all-gracious King,/The world in solemn stillness lay, to hear the angels sing.)

"There's no doubt he [Saddam Hussein] can't stand us. After all, this is the guy that tried to attack my dad."—President George W. Bush, quoted in the Lincoln Journal-Star, Dec. 15, 2002.

(Then let us all rejoice again/On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;/Then let us all rejoice again,/On Christmas Day in the morning.)

"What the father started, the son wants to finish. That's basically it, you know. It's part of the Bush legacy."—Antonio Maldonado, 18-year-old SMU freshman, quoted by Associated Press, Dec. 19, 2002.

(And in despair I bowed my head:/There is no peace on earth, I said,/For hate is strong and mocks the song/Of peace on earth, good will to men.)

"War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other's children."—Jimmy Carter, Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, Dec. 10, 2002.


Retired English Professor Leon Satterfield writes to salvage clarity from his confusion. His column appears on alternate Mondays. His e-mail address is:

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