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|03-03-2003, 08:39 PM||#1|
Member Since: Sep 2002
War is evil, but that’s not the point
War is ugly. War is hell. Yes, folks, “War is evil,” as Jimmy Carter so eloquently noted to a reporter for London’s Daily Mirror recently. It’s very reassuring that some American voters once entrusted a man with the presidency who is capable of uttering nothing more than platitudes generally understood by most third graders.
This has been the prevailing underlying sentiment of the current “peace movement,” of those who oppose President Bush’s carefully planned strategy to remove Iraq’s brutal dictator. What have been missing, however, in addition to the “Bush is a fascist”-style sloganeering, are any authentic ideas as to how to contain Saddam Hussein or free the Iraqi citizenry from tyranny without war.
Like President Carter, who has always believed that any conflict can be resolved without force, those who campaign for peace in Iraq by siding with the antiwar effort are sadly misguided. War is evil, they’ll say, but they neglect to understand that it is often necessary; and it is often morally justified, especially when it is evil that one is attempting to eliminate.
A graduate student at American University asked me recently if I thought that antiwar clothing could make a true political statement. By definition, I told her, I believe any action that represents the views of a people can be acknowledged as a political statement. But I think we should focus more on the hypocrisy that is this current crusade for “peace” than on the clothing in particular. I think those who are protesting this impending war in Iraq, and in some cases the war against terrorism in general, are making a stronger political statement against President Bush, and Republicans and conservatives by and large, than they are against war itself.
Except for maybe Berkeley, where were these antiwar protests when Bill Clinton intervened in Bosnia (unilaterally, by the way) in 1996? Current peace advocate Sheryl Crow even made a trip to Bosnia with Hillary and Chelsea Clinton in 1996 to support the war effort, after all. Simply a coincidence that today Ms. Crow believes “war is not the answer”?
Of particular nuisance are those on the left who think that the leaders we elect to make judgments on foreign policy issues should have no say in matters of war if they have not served in the military themselves. For instance, Helen Thomas protests the administration’s intent to strike Saddam forcefully by complaining that those “seeking the killing fields, seeking the war, have never been on the battlefield.” Apparently, decisions on whether or not we should go to war should strictly be made by astute Hollywood diplomats like Janeane Garofalo and George Clooney.
Ironically, this didn’t seem to be a topic of concern when now-antiwar-actor-and-activist Mike Farrell gushed over draft-dodger Bill Clinton’s decision to use military force in Kosovo by saying, "I think it's appropriate for the international community in situations like this to intervene. I am in favor of an intervention.
When confronted with these inconsistencies regarding wars in the past, the left will turn to blathering on about the president’s intentions of acting unilaterally,” even though over 20 European countries have sided with us so far. Supposedly, fourteen months of efforts to convince the world that Saddam has been a bad boy, accompanied by pointless U.N. resolutions to disarm him, constitute “imperialistic unilateralism” by the United States. Whether permission to forcefully neutralize Saddam will be granted by international powerhouses Cameroon and Guinea remains to be seen.
These people act as if we’re planning to raid Canada, not a desperate country under the thumb of an evil overlord. Those now signing up to be quote-unquote human shields would apparently rather put their own lives on the line to defend a murderous thug instead of the men, women, and children who have been living in misery for decades, tortured and killed for doing nothing more than listening to rock and roll music or writing poetry depicting the pathetic quality of life that is de rigueur in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. For all the work Jimmy Carter has done for Habitat for Humanity International, he must believe it’s okay to stand idly by and watch innocent human beings suffer needlessly as long as he builds them a house.
The weak-kneed bellyaching and mean-spirited name calling that is our current antiwar movement might seem like effective measures for guaranteeing peace for an oppressed people. But when questioned the peaceniks still can’t seem to explain why we didn’t commandeer all the Middle East oil after Gulf War I, why Saddam has repeatedly chosen to ignore all prior international requirements to disarm, or why Iraqi exiles now living in the West don’t seem to want to show up to rally against this war.
The concept that is apparently lost on those opposed to war at any cost is that freedom is anything but free. Instead of whining incessantly about why the United States is the greatest threat to humanity around the globe, everyone in the antiwar and anti-American communities should instead wake up and be thankful that there is at least one country in the world whose citizens are, in the name of freedom, willing to give their own lives for those of perfect strangers.
Trevor Bothwell is editor of The Right Report and author of the cookbook, 50 Ways to Impress Your Girlfriend’s Parents. He is a former elementary school teacher and college instructor.