Voltaire’s Absurdities and Atrocities

Voltaire said, Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

Just a couple of examples of each (yes, I will restrict myself to only two apiece):

First, Absurdities

  1.  George W. Bush, Radio Address, October 5, 2002:  The danger to America from the Iraqi regime is grave and growing. The regime is guilty of beginning two wars. It has a horrible history of striking without warning. In defiance of pledges to the United Nations, Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons. Saddam Hussein has used these weapons of death against innocent Iraqi people, and we have every reason to believe he will use them again. Iraq has longstanding ties to terrorist groups, which are capable of and willing to deliver weapons of mass death. And Iraq is ruled by perhaps the world's most brutal dictator who has already committed genocide with chemical weapons, ordered the torture of children, and instituted the systematic rape of the wives and daughters of his political opponents.
  2.  George W. Bush, State of the Union Address, January 28, 2003:  Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.

Atrocities

  1.  From The Washington Post, Dec. 8, 2004:  "A former U.S. Marine staff sergeant testified at a hearing Tuesday that his unit killed at least 30 unarmed civilians in Iraq during the war in 2003 and that Marines routinely shot and killed wounded Iraqis."
  2.  From NPR's  Steve Inskeep and Peter Kenyon, June 2, 2006:   "The U.S. military confirms it is investigating a report that American troops killed Iraqi civilians in a Sunni village northwest of Baghdad. The news comes amid allegations that American Marines killed 24 unarmed civilians at Haditha."
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