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The Bell Curve:

Mayor shames Mad Mel

August 10, 2006|By JOSEPH N. BELL

If nothing else, Mansoor's views are clear and provide a rallying place and legitimacy for people who share them. For those of us who don't, we can only hope that this kind of exposure will remove Mansoor from elected office in November.


An Associated Press story that I ran across on the Internet last week and never spotted in any of our local newspapers depressed me deeply, since the people who were polled may well be voting in November. A national Harris Poll taken on July 21 found that 50% of the respondents said they still believe that Iraq did, indeed, have weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded in March of 2003.

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This, in spite of the facts that:

  • A 16-month investigation by U.S. weapons hunters known as the Iraq Survey Group declared that Iraq had dismantled its chemical, biological and nuclear arms programs in 1991 under U.N. oversight.

  • The Iraq Survey Group report reaffirmed the work of U.N. inspectors who had come to the same conclusion after Iraq allowed more than 700 U.N. inspections of potential weapons sites — inspections that were still underway when the U.S. invaded.

    A poll administrator, trying to explain why half the country can still believe in mythical weapons of mass destruction in the face of such specific and overwhelming evidence to the contrary, said, "As perception grows of worsening conditions in Iraq, it may be that Americans are just hoping for more of a solid basis for being in Iraq to begin with."

    Or, more broadly, that we choose our positions first and then look for evidence to support them while we deny any and all evidence to the contrary. A recent example is the commentary by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher denying the powerful scientific evidence of global warming.

    An electorate, at every level, that is into denial rather than critical examination of the source and substance of existing evidence can be moved much too easily by emotional appeals that denigrate real issues. We can only hope that flag-burning and gay marriage don't drive the national election in November. Or "removing the welcome mat" of humanitarianism in Costa Mesa.


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