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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Monday, November 04, 2002
4:06 PM

As long as we're on TolesWatch, I will, as predicted by Eleven Day Empire, have a word about this cartoon, which has two panels. The first depicts the Cold War strategy of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), and we see two sets of missiles aimed at each other. The second shows missiles after being launched, with the acronym TRAP, for The Result of Anticipated Pre-emption. Of course this is the fear generated by President Bush's pre-emption strategy, and on its own merits it's not an insane argument. But it overlooks the main problem.

Toles and others who mock pre-emption don't recognize that we are already on the brink of destruction by our enemies. We don't have the luxury of waiting around to see how many skyscrapers Al Qaeda can incinerate or how many cities an Iraqi-backed Terrorist of Convenience can fuse into bloody glass. This does not mean that the U.S. is now free to bomb unattractive regimes on a whim. But technology has erased most of the strategic benefits formerly provided by the Atlantic and the Pacific (and don't get me started on Canada and Mexico). The main benefit, of course, was time. Gone.

We are now living in crisis, but without scary pictures on TV it's back to sleepy time for Toles & Co. Saddam is awake and closer than ever to producing a nuclear stockpile. But he looks pretty cute, the way Toles draws him. That's the world where Bush is a bigger threat to life than Saddam.

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