Tim Belford: Short Takes On Life
Tim Belford
Tim Belford
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Tim Belford is host of Quebec A.M. -- CBC Radio's popular English- language morning show (91.7 FM, 6-9, Mon.-Fri). He also is said to know a thing or three about wine.

Posted 01.07.03
Quebec City


The old ad game

It had to happen.

American politics has finally been taken over by Madison Avenue.

For years now we've been getting our clothes "whiter than white,"

Everything from gasoline to fabric softener has been "ultra" soft or "ultra" clean or "ultra" fast or "ultra lean."

Like lemmings the banks have sent us trotting off, told we'd rather have ATMS than human tellers.

We've got CDs, DVDS, Palm Pilots, and twenty-seven different functions on our telephones -- none of which, by the way, actually involve answering the darn thing.

We're building the biggest houses we've ever had for the smallest families we've ever seen.

We've got three-car garages and four-car families.

Advertising reigns supreme.

Say it often enough, cute enough, and loud enough and they'll buy it.

Now, this concept hasn't been lost on George W. Bush.

The Leader of the Free World doesn't seem to have made up his mind yet whether he's going to be Harrison Ford in Clear and Present Danger or Dr. Strangelove.

But, he does know he'll have to sell whatever he does to the American people and their allies.

So, from the beginning he's sung the same song.

Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Can't see them? Doesn't matter! Can't find them. No excuse!

We know they've got 'em.

Now, If he's right, and he may well be, how are they going to deliver them?

Iraq's army is now driving Toyota pick-ups. Their navy consists of several Kon Tiki-like reed boats. And their air force reigns supreme just about everything within a quarter mile of Baghdad.

Britain's prime minister, Tony Blair, is playing his part as well.

In his New Year's address to the nation he said, "I cannot recall such a time when Britain was confronted simultaneously by such a range of difficult and in some cases dangerous problems."

Does the year 1940 not ring a bell?

Maybe Tony didn't take a first in history at Oxford, but, as I recall, all Britain had at that time was the bits and pieces of an army rescued from Dunkirk.

They didn't have an American ally with smart bombs. And unlike Sadaam, Uncle Adolph had weapons of mass destruction and was using them.

So, maybe Iraq has the weapons and maybe Iraq is an axle of evil or whatever George W. calls it.

But let's drop the advertising shtick. After all, you can't, and you shouldn't, sell a war like detergent.