Hixie's Natural Log

2002-09-18 17:01 UTC Open meetings on live TV are a good thing

While setting up my laptop earlier today I was watching Donald Rumsfeld talking to the House Armed Services Committee in an open session explaining why the US should attack Iraq to prevent Saddam Hussein getting Nuclear WMDs.

Near the start of his speech, a couple of demonstrators interrupted the meeting with chanting (Inspections! Not War!). I found this frankly embarrassing. Mr Rumsfeld handled this interruption very well, pointing out that Iraq had agreed to disarmament, not inspections — inspections being merely a way of checking that the disarmament is taking place — and that the demonstrators showed the value of free speech, that they would not even remotely be allowed to interrupt such a meeting in Iraq.

Mr Rumsfeld made many good points; he didn't play the usual politician's game of trying to say nothing while talking a lot. He also spoke in an international context, speaking of the US as a member of the UN rather than the typical American perspective of considering the UN as just an extension of the states. I have great respect for him.

However, I don't think his points were an argument for all out war. I know I've only got TV and films to go by, but surely it would be better to send a small team in, grab Saddam Hussein and his cabinet, and put them on a fair trial for crimes against humanity. There shouldn't be a need for all out war. Unless the real special forces aren't anywhere near as sophisticated as the ones on TV.