He was a brutal dictator, a crazed man, the personification of evil.
He massacred, brutalized, tortured and mutilated more people than you and I will ever meet in our lifetime. His victims were political opponents, people of faith, average citizens on the street, innocent men, women and children. He victimized anyone he chose to -- for any reason.
He invaded neighboring countries, raping and murdering along the way. He threatened to destroy others.
He was, himself, a weapon of mass destruction.
The world began to notice his atrocities. Decent people in many countries said it was time to stop the madman.
Yet, many liberal religious leaders in America said that to intervene would be a mistake -- to confront a madman in another land would be wrong.
Take for instance, the arguments of Ernest Fremont Tittle of the Methodist World Peace Commission:
In a world that is suffering from injustice piled upon injustice, the immediate overcoming of evil may be impossible. There may be no escape from the wages of sin. The question then is, what course, if faithfully followed, would eventually lead to a better state of affairs? War, I am convinced, is not the answer. War can overcome a dictator; it cannot rid the world of dictatorship. It can stop an aggressor; it cannot put an end to aggression. On the contrary, it can only provide new soil for the growth of dictatorship and aggression.
When America and her allies finally did defeat the madman, instability filled the region. While the victims rejoiced at being free, those who supported the madman created havoc and mayhem. The religious leaders shook their heads at the "liberation," pointing to the mayhem as proof they had been right.
Yet, in the months that followed the liberation, mass graves containing the beaten and starved bodies of civilians were found. Torture chambers were discovered. Diaries and records of unspeakable atrocities against the innocent surfaced. Horrific stories of brutality from survivors struck the hearts of even the hardest of men.
Eventually the world began to ask, "Why didn't we intervene sooner? Why did we let evil reign for so long?"
Who was this madman? Hitler.
We still ask ourselves, "Why didn't we intervene sooner?"
The voices of the religious pacifists eventually fell silent about America's involvement in fighting the madman that was Hitler. But today, the same cries for pacifism have arisen once again.
Today?s madman was different, and so were his tactics. But the consequences for the victims reek of the same insidious evil.