Thomas Wictor

This is why I hate politics

This is why I hate politics

I’m apolitical. Although I vote, my heart isn’t in it, and I never expect anything good to come from it. The question du jour being asked Republican presidential candidates is, “If you knew then what you know now about Saddam Hussein, would you have invaded Iraq?” Because of politics, the politicians who want to be president are scrambling all over each other to say, “No! Never! Me? Absolutely not!”

Ironically enough, the one politician who had to take four bites at the apple before he could say “No” is Jeb Bush, brother of the president who asked for and received congressional approval to invade Iraq.

Jeb Bush is…not my cup of tea.


On his voter-registration application in 2009, he listed himself as Hispanic. Now, I get to say everything I’m about to say, because I actually have Latino blood. In reality anyone gets to say what I’m about to say, but to prevent the knee-jerk shrieks of “RACISM!” I’m using the collectivists’ rules against them. Being of Latino heritage, I can’t be called a racist.

My mommy was Mexican.


Here’s my maternal grandmother Carolina (Ka-ro-LEENA, not Carol-LINE-uh) on the left, my great-aunt Elvira (El-VEE-ra, not El-VAI-ruh) in the center, and my great-aunt Clara (KLA-ra, not CLARE-uh) on the right.


My cousin Filbert, a federal marshal who could’ve been an Aztec.


So I’ve got Latino-cred.

Jeb Bush is a panderer. He panders to Latinos. Do they like that? I don’t know. My Latino heritage was never a source of pride or shame. It’s simply part of what I am. It isn’t part of who I am, because I don’t know what it means to be Latino. In Venezuela I spoke Spanish before English. Venezuelans flipped out when this little blond, pale-skinned, German-looking kid addressed them in unaccented Spanish.


But Spanish was just a means of communication. Mom told me that we had a Venezuelan friend named Julio. I don’t remember him. He spoke to us in English, and we answered him in Spanish. One day Mom asked us why we did that, and it made us self-conscious. Mom felt bad, because we all stumbled around after that. We hadn’t been aware that we were using two different languages, but an adult commenting on it made us feel that it was strange or illegitimate.

As a music journalist in Los Angeles for ten years, I went to tons of parties thrown by big dogs in the entertainment field. I’ve never met more racist people in my life. They didn’t know that I had a Mexican mommy, so they sneered at “beaners” and “spics” when they spoke to me. It didn’t make me angry, because I knew what hideous lives they led. To get anywhere in the business, you have to have sex with everyone. Terrible, degrading sex. All these people who hated Mexicans had been utterly abused and then became abusers. So their comments didn’t upset me. They live in hell.

When chubby Anglos like Jeb Bush condescend to me by speaking Spanish and calling themselves Latinos, it just makes me tired. I know that such a person will make a lousy president. He’s proven it by his four different answers to the Iraq war question.

If I were running for president, here’s what I’d say to a reporter who asked me, “If you knew then what you know now about Saddam Hussein, would you have invaded Iraq?”


“Well, that’s an extremely stupid question. Any question that begins, ‘If you knew then what you know now’ is a gigantic waste of time. All decisions have to be viewed within the context that they were made. A president has to make decisions based on the best possible information. When you have all sixteen American intelligence agencies telling you the same thing, and your presidential daily briefings are even more dire than what the Congress is being told, then you have to go with what the professional spooks are telling you.

“Do you want the president of the United States to form his own private intelligence agency? If so, to whom would it be accountable? The fact of the matter is that Iraq under Saddam Hussein was a closed society, cut off from the world. It was impossible to know precisely what was going on there. What we did know was terrifying.

“Besides Benito Mussolini, Saddam Hussein was the only leader since World War I to use chemical weapons on a mass scale. Not even Adolf Hitler used chemical weapons, because he was afraid of the consequences. Saddam Hussein had no ability to anticipate consequences. He lived in a world of fantasy, surrounded by sycophants who told him what he wanted to hear.

“I don’t buy the argument that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction when we invaded in 2003. For one thing the former second-in-command of Saddam’s air force said that two cargo planes took WMD from Iraq into Syria, and the US military watched a convoy of eighteen-wheelers do the same.


“For another thing people insist that Saddam destroyed all his WMD but then lied and claimed he still had them. This was so that his enemies wouldn’t know that he’d disarmed.

“Well, why in the world would he disarm if his intention was to completely fool the entire world into thinking he hadn’t? Why not just keep the WMD, especially since he’d need them to fight the people threatening war unless he disarmed?

“And despite what’s become common wisdom, Saddam Hussein did in fact sponsor jihadist terrorism, including al-Qaeda. He trained terrorists and financed them. The only thing we never found was evidence of an operational relationship, but that’s moot because on June 18, 2004, Vladimir Putin said in an interview that Russian intelligence had warned us that Saddam’s special forces were planning acts of terrorism inside the US and against American military and civilian interests abroad.

“Before General Dwight David Eisenhower ordered the Allied invasion of Europe, he wrote out the text of what he would announce if the operation were not successful.


“‘Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that Bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.’

“If I’m elected president, I’ll make decisions based on what I’m told by the professionals, and then I’ll take full responsibility for making those decisions. But I won’t play stupid games such as answering your ‘If you knew then what you know now’ question. There’s too much at stake to trivialize it that way.”

And that’s why I’d never be elected president.