As the Bush Administration continues to beat the drums for war on Iraq, it is nothing less than courageous that President Bush, in his September speech before the United Nations, admitted that many of the weapons of "mass destruction" that America has introduced to the world, are in all reality weapons of "mass murder."
When George Bush introduced this new term — "weapons of mass murder" — to describe nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, he could not have been any clearer about their intended use.
Of course, the use of such weapons has been clear to many people for many years. Those in the antiwar movement, for example, have argued that these weapons have no place in tactical warfare. The reason? There is almost no chance that any of these weapons can be used without killing innocents ("civilians") in great numbers.
One might have imagined that with this new insight into the nature of the arsenal which underlies American power, President Bush would issuing an official apology to Japan for the mass murder of Japanese citizens via the debut of the atomic bomb in World War II.
One might also have imagined that the American federal government, with its vast stockpiles of "mass murder" weapons, would plan for their disposal or destruction, now that their owner has clarified their murderous nature.
For way too many years governments have spent time and money on the development of these weapons, allegedly motivated by the thought that the possession of such weapons could deter war. In fact, these weapons can only lead to untold horror.
It is, perhaps, an unintended but true testament to America’s leadership role that the United States was the first nation to admit the truth about the reason these weapons were produced.
With this new honesty, one hopes that the men and women of many nations, including America, will see that the use of such weapons is incompatible with their moral beliefs.
Some may contend that the term "mass murder" was merely a slip by the tongue-tied President Bush. Others may blame this honest assessment of modern weaponry on a speechwriter. If President Bush, however, desires genuine greatness in the ranks of "world leaders," he should demonstrate by his actions that he meant what he said: the United States should assiduously avoid the use of any "weapons of mass murder" against Iraq.
America has been looking for cooperation from the world community in its alleged mission of making the human race safer from a modus operandi, i.e., terrorism. If President Bush can manage to avoid the use of weapons of "mass murder," to use his term, in any possible war with Iraq, the human race might take one tiny step in that direction. But only a tiny step.
Jim Glaser [send him mail] is a Vietnam vet and a volunteer in veterans hospitals. David Dieteman [send him mail] is an attorney in Erie, Pennsylvania, and a PhD candidate in philosophy at The Catholic University of America.