The War Against
“How horrible, fantastic, incredible, it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas-masks here because of a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing!” —Neville Chamberlain (1938)
It’s said that the more things change, the more they stay the same. In late September 1938, following a statement issued by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and German Fürher and Chancellor Adolph Hitler after signing the Munich Agreement1, Duff Cooper, first lord of the British admiralty, resigned and declared that Great Britain should have gone to war, not to save another country (Czechoslovakia), but to prevent a group of thugs from dominating the continent. Today, Saddam Hussein is the brute that threatens not only his continent, but the entire civilized world, and he does so with weapons of unspeakably mass destruction and a proven willingness to use them. And after two world wars, one would expect the public's reaction to last year's unprovoked attacks on New York and Washington, by thugs, to elicit an appropriately autonomic response of no less than pre-emptive self-defense against the source of those attacks. But, quite to the contrary, there is a growing peace movement in Europe, Canada and the United States calling for “temperance”, “patience” and, yes, even appeasement of Saddam Hussein. Once again, “no foreign entanglements” and “no war on our home soil” are the rallying cries.
Amazingly, it was just this mix of sentimentality, naiveté and fear
that drove appeasement in the 1930s (which led, ultimately, to the Second World War). And this is not an indulgence in counterfactual history, but rather an understanding of the historical facts surrounding those events.
Sadly, the option of “no war on our home soil” was taken away from us on 9/11. How many more innocent lives must be lost before we say enough is enough? 10,000? 100,000?? 1,000,000???
Terrorists exist only through the sanction and support of the governments behind them. Their lethal behavior is that of the regimes that make them possible. Their killings are not crimes, but acts of war. The only proper response to such acts is a [pre-emptive] war in self-defense.
We don’t know the full extent of Saddam’s germ-warfare capabilities, but it sounds like they're substantial. We don’t know how soon he will have nuclear weapons, or how well his missiles will work against other nations. But it sounds as if it won’t be long before his capabilities outstrip even his evil intentions. We do know that U.N. inspections have failed in the past and that Saddam will make sure they fail in the future, and that every other strategy to disarm Iraq has failed. And we know that Saddam’s intentions are evil, for we have witnessed his actions.
Saddam’s promise to admit inspectors isn’t sincere, so none of the concerns about his intentions are likely to disappear. In the end, I believe that most Liberals will come to the same conclusion and support the President. Even the Europeans will reluctantly come to agree that President Bush is correct, that Saddam Hussein is an intolerable risk to civilization and must be removed. I also suspect that if/when Allied Forces actually do enter Baghdad, they're likely to discover a veritable treasure trove of embarrassing documentation and evidence of collusion between the French and Iraqi governments, which would tend to explain why France has been so vocally outspoken against a war whose need is so clear. Let's not forget, too, that Saddam not only condones terrorism, but he supports it (he pays the families of Palestinian suicide bombers several thousand dollars as an incentive to kill Israelis). Does any reasonable-minded person really think this thug would fail to deliver weapons of mass destruction into the hands of al Quada (or others bent on murder and mayhem) if given the chance to do so? If there’s a snake in your path, you don't wait for it to strike before you take action. So we had better act now, before someone gets bitten…again.
We must now muster political resolve and use the unsurpassed military of the United States and its allies to destroy all branches of the Iraqi, Iranian, Syrian and Palestinian governments. We must wipe out the terrorist training camps and sanctuaries, and eliminate any retaliatory military capability and thereby terrorize and paralyze the terrorists themselves. Granted, this IS unsavory business. But it's far more palatable than the grisly job of identifying the bodies of more innocent dead Americans.
While the international debate continues, Iraq will continue to be a place where al Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations, can find safe harbor, sustenance and the technologies to kill on a massive scale. And as long as that is true, some preventive action, military or otherwise, will be needed to stop Saddam’s support of future terrorist attacks.
And as much as I hate to bring up the saw—Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
1Desperate to avoid war, Neville Chamberlain and French Prime Minister Edouard Daladier agreed that Germany could have the Sudetenland. In return, Hitler promised not to make any further territorial demands in Europe. On 29 September, 1938, Adolf Hitler, Neville Chamberlain, Edouard Daladier and Benito Mussolini signed the Munich Agreement which transferred the Sudetenland to Germany.
David Maggin, a registered Democrat who marched against the Vietnam War, is the Founding Managing Director of Triumph PC Group.
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