Tuesday, January 28, 2003

All this talk about smoking guns. In the archetypical high-noon gunfight, the protagonists face each other in the deserted street. After a bit of dramatic posturing the bad guy goes for his gun. Of course the good guy has lightning fast reflexes and gets a well-aimed shot off before the bad guy's gun clears leather. Who holds the smoking gun then?

Even though the good guy knows the bad guy needs killin', he can not be the one to draw first. He must wait for the bad guy to slap leather. When he waits, he acts in clear self-defense and the sheriff can't bring charges. It would be easier for everyone if the good guy just bushwhacked the bad guy and shot him in the back. Much less chance for unwanted casualities. But if he did that sort of thing, how do we know he's the good guy? How can we judge his bravery or strength of moral character? The good guy has to wait for the attack and just be faster.

Of all the possible candidates, Saddam Hussein is one who most certainly needs killin'. But how will that happen? Will it be done with moral certainty or moral ambiguity? We'll see.

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