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Maxed Out

The light bulb goes on

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By G.D. Maxwell

Finally! An explanation that makes sense.

Ten years ago, I quit a perfectly good job that paid me more money than I ever thought I’d make. I sold a perfectly good house in a perfectly good neighbourhood in Toronto, divested myself of most of my worldly possessions through a series of comic garage sales, packed up what was left and moved to Whistler to work for twelve dollars an hour and be a ski bum.

People around me asked the inevitable question, "Are you out of your mind?" I patiently explained to them my reasons for moving. I loved mountains and there was a hole in my soul the CN Tower just couldn’t fill. I loved skiing much more than I loved slushing to the subway in Ontario’s winter. And passion trumps money every time if you just give it a chance; in other words, life’s life, it ain’t no dress rehearsal.

It was a simple explanation for a complex act and more than a few friends thought I was lying, crazy or probably both. But it was an explanation that made sense.

The problem I’ve been having with the war being waged in Iraq by my home and native land mostly revolves around the lack of sense of any – all – of the explanations offered by the Bush administration. I don’t expect much of what George W says to make sense. But he has surrounded himself with some very smart, if extremely scary, guys and I did expect them to come up with something that made more sense than the flimsy film of half-truths they’ve offered to date.

Oh yeah, I forgot to warn regular readers. This column isn’t about skiing, wacky Whistler culture, or the unsettling fact the WEF has booked space for their 2005 get-together in our town. It’s about war and politics, so if you’d prefer to get back to your hacky-sack game, this is a good place to stop.

So what’s this war all about? Is it about bringing down a sadistic dictator who commits atrocities against his own people? You mean like the leaders of North Korea, Zimbabwe, Libya, Nigeria, China, Indonesia and others? Hell, if that’s the reason we’d better get ready for a state of war for the rest of our lives.

Is it about the unproven links between Saddam and al-Qaeda? Well, what about the proven links between al-Qaeda and Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Somalia and others?

Okay, maybe the links aren’t airtight, but what about the likelihood of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands – being sold outright – to al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups? Isn’t it about that?

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