No Surprise

This was written in April, 2003, when the war had supposedly ended. No substantive change since then.

The current war has apparently caused many people to believe that the opponents of the war have been proved wrong. One letter to the San Francisco Chronicle suggested that the opponents should eat crow, and cited some facts: 1. The US (etc.) forces scored a swift and complete military victory. 2. Many people in Iraq have been glad to be quit of Saddam Hussein.

In her next letter no doubt she'll tell us something that we didn't all know on March 19, and then we'll know why we should eat crow; meanwhile, the issue seems unresolved. To ease the job of finding something new that was unknown before the war and would tend to make its opponents wrong, I offer a couple of lists.

Not Surprising

Here are things that I don't find surprising, and I really don't see how anyone possibly could be more than microscopically surprised at them. That's kind of a long list. It illustrates that most of what happens in the world is not surprising to those who pay attention and don't think they can predict the future with certainty; the surprises just catch our attention better.

Some Surprise Value

Here are a couple of things at which it seems reasonable to be at least mildly surprised, though certainly not amazed, confounded, or dumbfounded. This just in, 2003-04-17: They have reportedly found a training camp for terrorists, apparently linked to Palestinian groups. Where this might fit in the surprise listings is impossible to say yet.

Afterword: Qualifications, Reservations, and an Inference

Contrary to my dogmatic statement about what it's impossible to be surprised at, people's assessments will differ. Some, for instance, may claim that I am a victim of pro-war propaganda in being even slightly surprised that nothing whatever has been found in the WMD department. They may well be right.

All these items describe the state of things right now. Some may change seriously at any moment; among these might be the total lack of WMDs and the isolated nature of damage to historical sites. But owing to a strange oversight in the creation of the world, the data we have are all that we have to make decisions on.

The two mild-surprise items, and some others, are signs of a country that was not at all prepared to fight a war, even in defense against an invasion. Did such a nation present a clear and present danger that it was going to attack its neighbors viciously? You decide.

You read it here first: The day after I posted that mini-analysis of Iraq's state of readiness for aggressive war, the same was in Arianna Huffington's syndicated column. Sometimes the lady almost makes one regret our requirement that the President must be a natural-born citizen.


Date last modified: August 9, 2004.
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