All those who support the American war in Iraq should make a deal with anyone opposed to the war. Offer to answer any 20 questions the opponents wish to ask if they will answer just one:
Do you believe we are fighting evil people in Iraq?
That is how supporters of the war regard the Baathists and the Islamic suicide terrorists, the people we are fighting in Iraq.
Because if you cannot answer it, or avoid answering it, or answer "no," we know enough about your moral compass to know that further dialogue is unnecessary. In fact, dialogue is impossible. Our understanding of good and evil is so different from yours, there is simply nothing to discuss. Someone who was asked a hundred years ago "Do you believe that whites who lynch blacks are evil?" and refused to answer in the affirmative was not someone one could dialogue with.
Here are the responses you are likely to receive:
1. The Bush administration is just as evil: for illegally invading a country that did not threaten us; for "lying" to get us into Iraq; and because it is a war for corporate profits.
2. Some of those we are fighting may be evil, but not all; some are simply fighting against foreign occupation of their country.
3. We cannot call anyone evil; only God can make such judgments.
I will respond to these "responses," but what is most important is to acknowledge that none of them actually responds to the question. Anyone posing this question to opponents of the war must not let them off the hook. They must answer the question: Do you believe we are fighting evil people in Iraq?
Regarding the issue of judging anyone evil, the best response is a question: Can we judge anyone to be good (not perfect, just good)? Of course we can. But if we can't call anyone evil, we can't call anyone good, and we certainly know that there are good people. If there are good people, there have to be not good, evil people.
Anyone who remains unable to morally judge people who slit the throats of innocent people, who place bombs in the middle of markets, and who murder anyone attempting to help women achieve basic human rights is a moral imbecile.
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