Well, of course, it's plain as day what we can do to avoid war. We can -- ummm -- hale the Taliban before the international criminal court. That's according to one of the marchers in Sunday's anti-war demonstrations. While we await the terrorists' decision to give themselves up, we might ponder the expedient set before us by ActForChange -- "send a message to Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, calling on the group to turn over (Osama) Bin Laden and ease the oppression of women and relief workers in Afghanistan." To expedite communication, ActForChange will e-mail or fax your message to the ambassador.
On a loftier plane, retired Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, a trusty old anti-warrior, says, "The only way to peace is to talk, to negotiate and to build understanding."
The anti-war left isn't numerous, but, boy, is it repetitious. The overflowing refrain is, compassion, understanding; no revenge, no retaliation, no bombing of innocent parties (e.g., compassionate freshmen at Kabul U). You scratch your head. Just when did the Bush administration announce a war of revenge? When did it declare for the obliteration of innocent civilian lives? You say it never did? Then how come ... ?
Forget logic. It's just the good old anti-war left, confused as ever in its own woolly mind -- but scarcely disabled, such is the power of rhetoric, from confusing the genuinely innocent. The attraction of peace 'n' love rhetoric is as plain as Osama's beard: Nobody gets killed.
Just here the trouble begins, logically speaking. More than 6,000 innocent people already have been killed. In response, we are to sit down with the killers (or, strictly speaking, those who commissioned the killings) and -- talk?
Even if that line of inquiry looked fruitful, more questions would arise: Who says the other side wants to talk? Hasn't the Taliban called for the killing of Americans and Jews "wherever" they are? And suppose even that hurdle is surmounted. Who posits on the Taliban side a lust for "peace" and "understanding" comparable to our own?
As America's street critics, and writers of barmy op-ed articles, suggest, we could talk to the terrorists about why they don't like us. Daily, 24-hour talkfests along these lines shouldn't take more than five or 10 years. (Plenty of time for killing Americans and Jews.)
Once we understood the reasons for American unpopularity, we could respond appropriately. That is, we could surrender. Oh, please, don't hit us anymore! The freest, strongest nation in world history just can't abide (sniff, sniff) the idea of its polity and policies offending people who fly airplanes into skyscrapers.
Suitable apologies for our bad thoughts and actions having been rendered, and Osama's sandals having been burnished by American tongues, we could go peacefully about our business -- until some other parties decided to call us to account for our manifold sins and wickedness -- the North Koreans, say, or the Communist Chinese.
Can't the give-peace-a-chancers see the ludicrousness of their position? You'd like to think so. These are folk who attend, or have attended, some of the country's finest universities.
How grateful we ought to be for every Yale University beer bust that deflected the young George W. Bush from competing attractions like teach-ins and love-ins and sing-ins and sleep-ins. Our president not only survived Yale, he walked away with -- marvelously -- his common sense intact. Would that others of his generation had been so blessed!
It's OK, though. Mr. Bush's people, as contrasted with the fax-a-despot kind, are a solid majority, willing to run risks for real peace. Willing, that is, to defend American lives and homes against those whose words and actions show they respect nothing about us -- our lives least of all.