Musings of the Chronologically Challenged™ Fourth Generation
Monday, February 17, 2003
IN THE MAIL BOX -- Kevin from Texas
Hi Indigo -
Another imbecile entertainer has proffered his pacifist thoughts in regard to the Iraq situation. Dave Matthews of the Dave Matthews Band has written an open letter criticizing the Bush administration's policies and calling for a non-military solution to the Iraq situation. Won't these entertainment types ever get it? His letter can be viewed here. Here is my response to his letter:
Sorry Dave, but to say that you are being naive in this case is an understatement. We artists have a tendency to be idealistic, and that is usually not a bad thing. However, we often fail to understand that the realities of human frailty are the undoing of the highest of our ideals.
War is always tragic, and should never be taken lightly. War, however, is sometimes inevitable. Just as police must sometimes use force, even lethal force, to bring evildoers to justice and (first and foremost) to ensure the safety of the innocent, so must moral sovereign regimes sometimes act to bring evil and immoral regimes to justice. You may be among those who argue that ours is not a moral regime. If that is true, against whom are you directing your indictment? Our administration and our elected leaders are democratically chosen by our populace. More often than not, and by a wide margin, the policies of our government are the desired policies of the electorate. I'm sorry that you happen to be in the minority opinion on this particular policy issue, but the simple fact is that it is the will of a substantial majority in this great and largely moral nation that military force be used to take down the regime of Saddam Hussein. Saddam's regime, by contrast, is not democratically elected. He governs his people with an iron fist, brutally torturing and murdering any who dare question his supreme will. Saddam is a madman harboring and abetting terrorists and maintaining vast stockpiles of deadly chemical and biological weapons to which those terrorists have ready access, and which WILL SURELY BE USED AGAINST US should we allow him and his accomplices the opportunity.
Let us consider the recent history of appeasement. During the great military buildup in Germany in Hitler's early days, most of the world chose to pretend that Germany was not a threat to world security. After all, Germany had just been dealt the utter humiliation of military defeat in WWI, and had been brought low by devastating economic sanctions. The people had been reduced to beggars and paupers, and whole wheelbarrow loads of Deutsch marks were not sufficient to buy a loaf of bread. These Germans could surely never be a threat. Sure, Hitler was not bashful about expressing his plans for a new and powerful Germany that would rise from the ashes of defeat and crush its former oppressors under an iron boot. But who could take this ridiculous little man seriously? Germany was a wreck. Surely the military alliance that had brought down Kaiser Wilhelm's regime could readily put an end to the designs of this madman should he attempt to see them realized. So it was that Hitler was allowed to build his forces until he was able to unleash them on an unprepared world. Those favoring appeasement were wrong, and with deadly result. In addition to the massive loss of life and the devastation to the nations upon whose soil WWII was prosecuted, there were literally millions of INNOCENT deaths of non-combatants, such as those who lost their lives in Hitler's concentration camps and ovens. Despots do not respect the dignity of those who have neither the will nor the ability to resist them. They kill with impunity until they are brought down by force.
There are those who would argue that there are few parallels between Hitler's Germany and Saddam's Iraq, but they are wrong. Both nations reeled but survived following years of punitive sanctions. Both nations used lies and subterfuge to skirt arms limitations imposed as a result of their past military defeat. Both nations' leaders were/are men who believe themselves to be virtually messianic figures. Hitler believed that he was restoring the true Aryan kingship of Europe and the world, while Saddam has mused that his mission is to restore the glory of Nebuchadnezzar. While Saddam may not possess the raw military might of Hitler's Luftwaffe and Panzer divisions, he possesses that which Hitler never obtained or used: asymetrical weapons of mass destruction. Saddam has shown his willingness to use chemical and biological weapons, and he would certainly use nuclear weapons if given the opportunity. Left to his devices, there is no question that Saddam Hussein will continue to create WMDs and to forge alliances with the terrorist masterminds capable of delivering those weapons to the soil of the United States and of other nations that oppose him.
Let us also take a moment to consider the consequence of past appeasement of the North Korean regime of another madman, Kim Jong Il. What has that gotten us? Our vast humanitarian aid and provision of millions of barrels of petroleum has freed that rogue state to create a nuclear enrichment program that has already yielded one or two nuclear devices. When this subterfuge was discovered and our aid reduced punitively, Kim decided to reactivate his plutonium breeder reactor and press ahead with his nuclear weapons program. N. Korea is already the world's largest proliferator of missile technologies, and may have already provided nuclear know-how to other rogue states. Can there be any question that the weapons-grade plutonium it is now intent on producing will be available to the highest bidder? Again, appeasement has led us to the brink of tragedy, and to the reality of nuclear proliferation to rogue and terrorist states.
The lesson we perpetually refuse to learn is that totalitarian states governed by madmen cannot be negotiated with. For negotiation to have any basis, there must be grounds for believing that a regime or a dictator will abide by his agreements. Just as violent criminals should not be paroled if they cannot be trusted to not immediately perpetrate another crime against the innocent, so should the ultimate sanction be imposed on repressive and immoral regimes who continue to be a threat to their neighbors and to the law-abiding free world. This is not a new issue with Iraq. We are now at the end of the road on a 12-year journey of defiance and brutality, during which time Saddam has grown more dangerous, not less so.
Now, let us consider the people of Iraq. May I suggest that you consider the stories of those who have escaped that totalitarian regime after their own torture, and after the brutal tortures, murders, and rape of their family members. Iraqis live under a reign of terror. Common Iraqis do not enjoy the fruits of the vast mineral wealth of their homeland. Saddam and his loyalists live in regal splendor, while the common Iraqis live in abject poverty. Perhaps war will result in innocent deaths, but how many innocent lives will it save from the hand of Saddam Hussein? Furthermore, is not this sacrifice a cheap price to pay for the liberty and prosperity that will arise from the destruction of Saddam and his evil regime? Just as a surgeon must often cut and excise healthy tissue to remove a malignant tumor, so may there be innocent lives lost in removing Saddam. Nevertheless, must the tumor not be removed, given that failing to remove it will lead to a far worse consequence?
Finally, there are those who claim that the US is an imperial force, seeking to impose its will on the Iraqis and to despoil them of their oil. When has this ever been true? If such were the designs of the US, then why did we not do the same to Germany and particularly to Japan in the aftermath of WWII, rather than spend our own tax dollars to rebuild and reestablish those nations as free republics? After taking out Noriega, why did we not make Panama a satellite state, rather than standing by our unilateral agreement to hand over the Panama canal, which was built with the toil and tax dollars of hard-working Americans? Why have we not siezed the oil production of Afghanistan in compensation for our vast expenditures in bringing down the repressive Taliban? When has America EVER taken spoils after military victory over a soveriegn state? True, we took territory from the Spanish and the Mexicans in the 19th century, but those were only (mostly) uninhabited territories, and not established national homelands. Understand also that spoils have been a part of military conquest, even acting as a deterrent to rash aggression, from time immemorial, yet the United States has eschewed that privilage from its inception. The same cannot be said of Britain, China, France, or Russia, who share our position as permanent members of the UN Security Council.
I hope you will consider these realities, and will reassess your stand in light of these facts. I admire your idealism, but reality intrudes on your vision. We do not live in a utopia, and we will never live in a utopia. Free will guarantees that there will always be those inclined to evil and possessed of will to power. The world can never be free of despots, and we must realize that reason is the sole province of the reasonable. Within the constraints of reason, those who love freedom must be willing to take up arms when our lives and liberty are threatened and when our fellow humans are repressed under the iron fist of a human monster. Such is the case today. We can act when we must act and avert the terrors waiting to be unleashed, or we can go the way of cowardly appeasement until we are given an overt cause for action that will silence the naysayers such as yourself. The problem with the latter course is that such a cause for action may be the loss of an entire city or perhaps multiple cities to nuclear, biological, or chemical devastation, and that in the past it has led to such horrors as the Holocaust. When that happens again, will you be willing to admit that the blood of those innocent lives is on your hands as much as it is on the hands of the monster whose intent has long been manifest?
Kevin Scott Stone