Let's listen in on a conversation - in a coffeehouse somewhere, on the periphery of one of the recently organized demonstrations - between an opponent of taking out Saddam and his weapons of mass destruction, and a proponent of getting it done forthwith.
BUSH SUCKS -
He stands at the edge of greatness, poised to finish the job left unfinished by his father.
- AND SO DOES THE FASCIST U.S. MILITARY.
Have you ever used the phrase "Communist U.S. military"? Probably not, but never mind. Yet, what you're talking about is the finest fighting force - and one of the finest institutions - on the planet.
IT WILL BE AN INVADING FORCE IN AN UNJUST WAR IF IT DOESN'T HAVE THE SUPPORT OF THE UNITED NATIONS. THE UN IS EVERYTHING. THE UNITED STATES MUST HAVE UN SUPPORT.
It does have support of the UN, by a 15-0 Security Council vote in November on Resolution 1441 threatening "serious consequences" if Iraq did not, does not, voluntarily offer up its weapons of mass destruction for disposal under the eyes of UN inspectors - everybody at the UN and everywhere else understanding "serious consequences" to mean war.
BUT THE NEW ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY AND OTHER MAINLINE CHURCHMEN - EXPERTS ON THE SUBJECT - SAY IT WOULD NOT BE A 'JUST WAR.' AND WHAT ABOUT ALL THE SPONTANEOUS DEMONSTRATIONS AROUND THE WORLD AGAINST GOING AFTER SADDAM - PARTICULARLY IN SAN FRANCISCO AND LONDON AND MADRID AND ROME, CITIES IN THE COUNTRIES WITH GOVERNMENTS MOST PRO-WAR?
These days "just war" is a manipulative phrase employed to oppose those wars in which peaceniks and overgrown hippies prefer not to fight - deem it inconvenient. The last war they supported, and that one reluctantly, was against Hitler. Stalin and all his acolytes and wannabes escaped unscathed by the just-war legions, as the just-warists would have Saddam escape them now.
And isn't it funny that the just-warists didn't raise objections to Clinton's bombing of Serbia regarding Kosovo, didn't demand precisely the Senate support and UN resolution Bush now has? Clinton just did it. Colin Powell, who as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was against going on to Baghdad 12 years ago, favors it now. Richard Holbrooke, a Clinton UN ambassador and diplomatic troubleshooter, says another UN resolution regarding Saddam is unnecessary, and advises against seeking one.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE DEMONSTRATORS?
The demonstrators suffer either from malign intent or incurable idiocy. They have the right to demonstrate, of course, but they are wrong.
AND THE POLLS?
In the polls, Americans heavily support Saddam's removal.
AND FRANCE, AND RUSSIA, AND TURKEY AND THE ARAB DEMOCRACIES?
The French are the French; they and the Germans sold Saddam much of the capability to make his weapons; both are worried about oil shortfalls if Saddam goes. Russia's Putin is wobbly on war to remove Saddam because Putin sees all the Soviet-era debt Saddam owes Russia going out the window with Saddam's demise. The Turks erred, allowing their concerns about a possible post-war independent Kurdistan to overcome their right reason. "Arab democracy" is practically an oxymoron: Aside from Turkey, there are no Muslim democracies - period.
AND DAN RATHER?
Bizarre Dan is a dupe. Saddam looks on him as nothing more than a useful fool.
IT'S ALL ABOUT ZIONIST MISTREATMENT OF THE PALESTINIANS. WHY DIDN'T WE FORCE ISRAEL TO GIVE THE PALESTINIANS A HOMELAND?
Why didn't the many Arab regimes, which oversee vastly more land than Israel does, compel Arafat to stop shooting and give Arab lands to the Arab Palestinians?
IT'S ALL ABOUT OIL.
That makes as much sense as calling you an anti-Semite.
WE MUSTN'T RUSH TO WAR. THE INSPECTORS NEED MORE TIME.
They have had 12 years.
BUT SADDAM IS DESTROYING HIS MISSILES!
So far 20 have been found inadvertently by the inspectors, of the approximately 100 souped-up al-Samoud missiles he is believed to possess in violation of prior UN resolutions - missiles he was supposed to show the inspectors voluntarily. Saddam has had his last "last chance."
THE UNITED STATES IS PLANNING TO GO INTO IRAQ UNILATERALLY - HENCE UNJUSTIFIABLY. WE SHOULDN'T BE, CAN'T BE, THE WORLD'S POLICEMAN. WAR SHOULD BE MULTILATERAL.
On the contrary, the United States has many allies, including Arabs and Europeans.
THE UNITED STATES SHOULD USE DIPLOMACY TO CONTAIN SADDAM.
History shows that sometimes diplomacy cannot contain military ambition empowered by the demonstrated willingness to use unconscionable weapons - as in the case of Saddam, who has employed them against his own people and neighboring countries. The will to use them has to be overmatched by the will to destroy them. Otherwise evil will prevail.
AMERICA IS THE WORLD'S GREATEST THREAT TO PEACE.
It's all about values, and you and I evidently don't share the same ones. You prefer to believe apologists for Saddam; I prefer to believe my government. You say peace is the ultimate cause; I say liberty is. America is the world's preeminent defender of liberty. When containment does not work, liberation is the only viable alternative - liberation with the encouragement of democracy thereafter, as in Japan, the Philippines, South Korea and the Balkans (where, incidentally, support for forcibly removing Saddam is running higher than perhaps anywhere).
MAKE LOVE, NOT WAR.
Acquit Socrates. Let truth and liberty prevail. Stand for something or fall for anything. The United States, knowing the truth, must not join others as a Hamlet among nations. As one far wiser than I said centuries ago, "All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for good men to do nothing."
Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.
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