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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Wednesday, September 11, 2002
10:38 PM

Here is one of the most brilliant posts of the year, ViaInsta, by Brothers Judd,


You ever had an epiphany--one of those moments where the scales fall from your eyes, the light dawns, the voices speak, and in one blinding insight that which was obscure becomes crystal clear? I had one this morning and am very angry with myself for not realizing this before. David Gregory, NBC's White House Correspondent, was on Imus in the Morning today and he was asked about George W. Bush's U.N. appearance tomorrow. He revealed that--with half the nation and most of the world expecting the President, like a dutiful and chastened schoolboy to present a kind of book report about Saddam trying to develop nuclear weapons, and then grovel for a UN mandate to do something about it--Mr. Bush is instead going to confront the member nations and the institution itself and ask: What more do you need? He'll discuss the many UN resolutions that Saddam has violated and ask what the purpose of the body is if they're unwilling to enforce their own diktats. He'll demand, though one assumes politely, that either the UN act immediately in accordance with its own previous decisions, or we'll act for them. And with that, like Jake Blues entranced by The Reverend Cleophus James, I saw the light: this is [the Gary Cooper movie] High Noon. ...

In the movie, Marshall Will Kane thinks the grateful townspeople will help him fight the bad guy when he returns, but they start slinking off...

Kane's initial disbelief turns to disgust, which is only exacerbated as his deputy makes material demands in exchange for his assistance (Russia), his former lover scorns him (Canada, France, and Germany) and members of the last posse that helped bring Miller in bail out on him (the Sauds, etc.). And he is caused great pain as his new wife (anti-war Americans) determines to leave town without him, rather than accept violence. He loves her and her Quaker ethics are real, but still he has to do what he knows is right. His only willing helper is a man we're given to believe must have once been a worthy lawman, but is now a shaky, though courageous, drunk, with residual memories of faded glory--he's willing but unfortunately no longer of much use (Britain hasn't quite fallen this far yet, but it's close). So Kane must face evil nearly alone and save his society in spite of itself....

They aren't necessarily bad people; they're just short-sighted. But when the final battle comes a very few will be forced to face their delusions, particularly Amy Kane, who realizes in the end that regardless of her beliefs evil is real and a good man, her husband, may succumb to it unless she helps. In much the same way, one suspects that those in America who counsel caution (the Times, the Democrats, etc.) will recognize once the shooting starts that what is at stake is that which they, in their heart of hearts, love--freedom, democracy, and the decenct society we've all built together. No, we may doubt it now, but Amy will be by our side.

And as we watch the whole drama unfold, we look at the Germans and Canadians and the rest and we see their secret shame at leaving to be fought by others a battle that is rightly theirs too. We can always find reasons not to fight, but we can't always live with ourselves afterwards. Sooner or later such craven cowardice must eat away at the soul..

As High Noon approaches, will our friends and neighbors join us? Or will we hear only the sound of bolting doors and windows being shuttered?

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