What a world it would be if we could predict the future.
In the film “Minority Report” a “pre-crime division” in Washington D.C. is able to stop future murders. To do this, a trio of psychic “precogs” is hooked up to a computer monitor that displays the visions of the future slayings they see. The images are used by an elite group of police officers to track down and arrest the killers before they commit their crimes.
Today, coincidentally also in Washington D.C., the future is already here. We need to look no further than an elite group in President Bush’s inner circle to see our government is already trying to develop its own pre-crime division.
But these people do not patrol the world with jet packs and flying cars. They are drawing war plans against our nemesis in the Persian Gulf: Iraq.
Bush, Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and other members of the administration maintain that a military action should be deployed to Iraq to oust the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein, despite the disapproval of every other country in the rest of the world and the warnings of influential Americans such as former National Security Advisor Brent Snowcroft, former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, and Henry Kissinger.
As the main character of “Minority Report” finds out when he is accused of the murder of someone he has not yet met, the pre-crime system is flawed. He finds that not all the telepathic precogs see the future in the same way and there is no absolute certainty that a crime is going to be committed until it actually takes place. Sometimes one of the precogs sees a different vision of the future, called a minority report.
Despite the fact that the public, Congress and the United Nations are still unaware that Hussein has done anything potentially destructive yet, the Bush administration’s pre-crime division insists that a regime change is in the best interests of the planet without offering any proof. At this point they are playing the ultimate fortune-telling game to figure out if Hussein is perfecting chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons.
What does the administration know that we don’t? Do they have their own trio of precogs floating in a pool of gelatinous goo under the Oval Office telling them to act now before it’s too late?
This is a scary prospect to think about.
What if they are wrong and set a precedent for any country in the world to attack another because they could conceivably become a threat sometime in the distant future? For example, what if China decided to invade Taiwan just because it could be seen as a threat to them?
If we strike Iraq without provocation our nation would be adopting a preemptive policy of shooting first and asking questions later.
This makes us no better than the terrorists that attacked the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
White House legal counsel Alberto C. Gonzalez said this week that under the War Powers Resolution of 1973, Bush can order a war without approval from Congress — just as Johnson did during the Vietnam War and Carter did during the hostage crisis in Iran.
Obviously, that’s not exactly the best tradition to follow.
Without the support of congress, other UN countries, and a majority of our own citizens a preemptive strike against Iraq is not going to be like a Spielberg-directed blockbuster. We will be watching laser-guided smart bombs take out targets in Baghdad on live primetime CNN broadcasts instead. We will be sending our own troops to yet another country to fight, at the same time destroying our coalition that is currently helping us fight the war on terrorism.
Trying to predict the future is a dangerous idea. Before we attack Iraq we should know exactly what we are up against. If there is an undisputable case the pre-crime division of the Bush administration can present to the rest of the world for an attack then by all means we should act. But until that happens the world will be searching for the minority report that makes a case against us.