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Week of 03 09 03

I'm afraid I may bore you this week but I am so annoyed by anti-war protesters that I must direct my vitriol there.

That we'd go to war with so little support in the world is tragic, but I am shocked at how many in the world, including my friends, are so completely, utterly wrong. I am not against the war. In my world of self-righteous, Ralph Nader-voting, Noam Chomsky-reading, ultra-left downtown vegan Bush-hating Clinton apologists, this makes me an outcast.

"Peace" protesters wallow in a sense of moral superiority. Their ignorance sickens me. Whose "peace" did they march for? There is no peace in Iraq, and there hasn't been for decades. They march for peace at any price, as long as others - the Iraqi people - pay that price. Theirs is cowardice masquerading as moral high ground. Why isn't the suffering of Iraqi people worth anything?

Humor me for a moment. If in 1980 a murderous tyrant took over, say, Australia, and forced one million Australian boys to their deaths in a war against New Zealand, where one million more people died (akin to the Iraq/Iran War), and then this tyrant spent the next decade torturing countless thousands of his own people, murdering hundreds of thousands more, even setting up a division of his army dedicated to terrorizing the populace by raping women and spraying poison gas into hospitals and schools, would that mean anything to those who marched for "peace"?

Why is the institutional murder, torture, and rape of millions of Iraqis somehow tolerable? Is it because the Iraqis are Arabs? Are we too used to seeing Arabs suffer?

The "peace" movement ignores the desires of Iraqis who overwhelmingly want this war. Instead, the "peace" movement sends ridiculous "human shields" to defend a fascist state. "Peace" activists speak of Saddam Hussein, responsible for the deaths of millions, as if he were the victim.

"Peace" activist celebrities fail to impress me, not because they're against the war but because celebrity, however well-meaning, can never be substituted for intelligence.

Janine Garofalo, bless her heart, was asked if she believed in the concept of a "just war" and she reacted as if she had never even heard that phrase before. "Gee.. uhhh.. that's a tough one," she said. And yet isn't accepting or rejecting the "just war" concept probably step one in formulating an informed opinion on any impending war? Especially if you have the confidence to go on TV and yap about it?

In concert, Chrissie Hynde said she hoped we'd get what we deserve and lose the war. I don't understand this attitude. Even if you're against the war, how could you say this? How could you cheer it? She'd like Saddam to win? Has she lost her mind?

Yesterday we had the travesty of women marching for "peace" in "solidarity" with the women of Iraq for International Women's Day. CNN broadcast shots of these women dancing, banging drums and waving around pink flags before cutting to a press conference held by Iraqi refugee women who were completely confused by the spectacle. One of them said plainly "These women do not speak for us. This war is needed."

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Saddam uses rape as a political tool. Iraqi women in prison give birth alone in the dirt and spend the next few days watching their newborn babies die. Iraqi women are brought to dungeons where they are gang raped in front of their fathers, sons, and husbands. Videotapes of these atrocities are distributed in order to scare the public into obedience.

So what were all of these well-to-do white women in frivolous pink wigs doing yesterday? Which Iraqi women are they in solidarity with if they're against a war that will free them, a war that these women are desperate for?

"Peace" protesters say they don't support Saddam either, of course.. but not enough to actually do anything about it.

"Peace" protesters express respect for UN resolutions while not wanting America to enforce them. This is moral infantilism. One cannot support an end while opposing the only means to that end.

If the means are more objectionable than the end is desirable, why pass UN resolutions in the first place? Is France asking itself that question?

"Peace" protesters often spout off slogans that mean nothing.

"No blood for oil"
This was the phrase bandied about for the first Gulf War. And yet after that war, we didn't take over the Kuwaiti oil fields and give them to Exxon, Mobil, and Shell. What makes people think we're going to do that now?

After the first Gulf War we gave the oil fields back to the Kuwaiti people. They are now among the richest in the Middle East because of it. The Iraqi people were among the richest before Saddam seized power. Now they are the poorest. No blood for oil? Why not? Lets put an end to the suffering of the Iraqi people by liberating them and giving them back their oil fields. Prosperity and billions of dollars a year await.

American oil companies would actually be hurt by a victory in Iraq because more oil on the market means that prices go down and profits decrease.

But facts mean nothing to "peace" protesters if a catchy slogan will do instead. Maybe the phrase could be applied to France and Russia, who are perfectly willing to lift the sanctions and enrich Saddam for oil while letting him continue to torture and slaughter the innocent civilian population.

"Let the inspectors work."
In the 90s, inspectors failed to halt Iraq's development of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Time and time again, defectors revealed that Iraq was farther ahead than even the most fearful inspectors suspected. What sane person would trust that Saddam has suddenly decided to cooperate?

That Hans Blix hasn't found WMD is immaterial; Iraq continued to use them throughout the 90s against the Kurds and others, so we know they have them somewhere. The demand was made for an prompt, thorough account of these weapons, and no account has been given.

The situation reminds me of a little brat hiding something behind his back, and he only shows you one hand at a time, constantly switching whatever he has to the other hand. The inspectors allow Saddam to do this on a massive scale.

If Saddam uses these weapons on our troops, will the war then be justified to the "peace" protesters who actually believe that Iraq has disarmed?

"North Korea has nuclear weapons and we're not going to war against them."
Obviously, we can't attack North Korea because they DO have nuclear weapons.

We can learn a hard lesson from North Korea . Inspectors, monitoring equipment and even a treaty all failed to prevent North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. Are we to let the same thing happen now in Iraq? Will Iraq somehow be different despite 12 years of defiance and 12 years of practice in developing weapons in the shadow of inspectors?

North Korea is a huge worry, but North Korea has also given indication that their weapons are weapons of deterrence against "American" aggression and a bargaining chip for more humanitarian aid.

On the other hand, it is clear that Iraq intends to use nuclear weapons offensively.

"Yes, Saddam Hussein is evil, but we don't have the right to attack a sovereign state."
Heard of Somalia, Bosnia, East Timor, Kosovo? The war to liberate Muslims in Kosovo happened without any direct threat to the US and without UN approval too, yet I seem to remember people cheering us on then. And what about Rwanda?

Why is it that "peace" activists in the 90s lambasted America for ignoring the crisis in Rwanda, and yet the same people now lash out against any interference in Iraq? Are the people of Iraq not suffering?

A moral world shouldn't respect the "sovereign rights" of murderous tyrants.

"The UN sanctions lead to the murder of a million Iraqi children."
The truth is a bit more complicated than this ludicrous Iraqi propaganda and I can't stand when stupid people repeat it.

First of all, the figure of "one million" dead Iraqi children comes from Iraq. Outside estimates put the figure at half that or less - still an unacceptable tragedy, of course, but not a tragedy that can only be blamed on sanctions.

Even with sanctions, Saddam always had enough money to provide for the Iraqi people. But instead of building hospitals and buying medicine or food, he spent billions on the military and in building extravagant new palaces and hundreds of new monuments for himself.

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Even so, the UN twice tried to fix things by passing resolutions specifically allowing Saddam to sell oil for food, medicine, and humanitarian aid. At first he declined each offer, choosing instead for Iraqis to die in order to drum up sympathy from the world and sap support away from the sanctions. And when he finally did agree to the oil-for-food program, he ended up selling much of the food and medicine to the black market in neighboring countries anyway, rather than give it to his own people. So much for American culpability.

Did the sanctions work at hurting Saddam? No. In fact they gave him more power by making the civilian population even more dependent on him for food and basic needs. The sanctions backfired. But saying that the sanctions were responsible for the deaths of a "million" Iraqi children is wrong and naive and excuses the real evil.

The sanctions ought to end, but the same "peace" protesters who want to end the sanctions also want "containment" to continue in lieu of war. 

How will we prevent dangerous items from entering Iraq if sanctions are lifted, thereby making it infinitely easier for Iraq to import banned goods? Iraq already smuggles in billions of dollars worth of who-knows-what every year, even from our alleged "allies".

Containment didn't work with sanctions. Without sanctions, containment is simply impossible, and then it only becomes a matter of time before Saddam strikes again with WMD, and lets hope it isn't nuclear.

"But we supported Saddam in the 80s."
That we supported him is all the more reason to make it our responsibility to get rid of him.

I often read about how Arabs hate us for supporting dictators. Indeed. But now that we're opposing the worst of the world's dictators, we're just as hated. We can't win.

"War will only inflame Muslims and strengthen their resolve against us."
I've come to the politically incorrect opinion that Muslims are crazy. It is true that the US hasn't been an angel in world affairs. But the West came to the defense of Muslims in Kosovo, Bosnia, Somalia, Kurdistan, East Timor and Afghanistan. Despite this, Muslims still don't get that the West isn't at war with Islam.

Are Afghan Muslims not better off today than they were under the Taliban? Are the Kurds - all Muslims - not prospering under our protection? Why can't Muslims connect the dots of reality?

America goes to great lengths to show that it is not at war with Islam; but Islam, in the form of Osama Bin Laden, countless Muslim clerics and huge swaths of the Muslim population does seem to be at war with America.

Anti-American Muslim opinion shouldn't prevent us from doing what's right, which is to liberate the Iraqis, but it should put additional pressure on us to set up a just government in Iraq. We should drown the Iraqi people in kindness and loads of money after this war for food, schools, hospitals, and more. Maybe this will get through the thick uneducated head of the Arab street.

"We're rushing to war."
Iraq defied 17 UN resolutions and continued to develop banned WMD over a period of 12 years, so this is hardly a rush to war.

"We need to go through the UN."
UN Resolution 1441 imposed a strict deadline for an accurate, full, and complete declaration of weapons by December 9. That was months ago. We are going through the UN. Enforcing UN resolutions strengthens the UN. Not enforcing them weakens it.

"Iraq has nothing to do with Al Queda."
No, likely not.

"We need to concentrate on the war on terror."
Indeed, we must do that also.

"Bush stole the election."
Yeah, he did. Get over it. We're stuck with him.

"War is never right."
Please. Find a hole in the ground. Insert head. Say hi to Sheryl Crow.

"But the whole world is against this war!"
The "peace" protests involved millions. But millions of people also believe that cows are sacred. Millions of people believe that women should be stoned if they cheat on their husbands. Millions of people buy Celine Dion records. That millions of people marched for "peace" doesn't make their cause just, it just means that there are millions of horribly misguided people in the world.

Millions of people have died because of Saddam Hussein.

And however many millions marched, there are 20+ million inside Iraq who overwhelmingly want us to invade. Since they're the ones an invasion would directly effect, I think their wishes are slightly more important than those of Martin Sheen or any other "peace" protester.

A quick word about the French. Surely there are good French people. I enjoy French films. I have nothing against little French boys looking for their bicycles or running down cobblestone streets with loaves of bread. But their President Chirac is a corrupt and dangerous man.

France signed off on all 17 of the UN resolutions that Saddam has defied and yet Chirac still feels compelled to make excuses not to enforce them. Chirac is the man who sold Saddam the nuclear reactor that the Israelis had to destroy, knowing full well what Iraq wanted it for. Saddam and Chirac, the former (?) partners:

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Chirac is perfectly content to keep Saddam in power because French companies have billions of dollars tied to Saddam's regime. If I were French I'd be ashamed.

Then there is China, who the US discovered installing an underground fiber optic communications network for Iraq's military at the height of sanctions and failed "containment". China, France, and Russia have no problem endangering world peace for a few extra bucks from Iraq.

The Pope may speak out against the impending war at the UN. Why didn't the Pope speak out against Saddam's gassing of the Kurds at the UN? Why is it more important for the Pope to protest American power, even when clearly used for a good end? Has the Vatican gone insane ?

There's a knee-jerk liberal opposition to everything Bush does. Indeed, he's a frightening, overly religious, inarticulate buffoon. His economic plan is absurd. He hates gays. He's anti-choice. He stands for nearly everything I'm against. But truth doesn't become a lie just because someone you don't like utters it. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

I can't help but think that if Clinton were in office things would be very different. He was as persuasive as Bush is prickly.

In fact there is a liberal case for this war, and there are prominent liberals who explain it well: Christopher Hitchens (and again ), Salman Rushdie, Bob Kerrey, Kenneth Pollack, Nat Hentoff, Paul Berman, Joe Lieberman, and Gary Hart to name a few.

There is also Tony Blair, who is as articulate as George Bush is not. Tony Blair spearheaded the rescue of Muslims in the Balkans when the rest of the world, including France, didn't care. Russia threatened to veto that war in the UN and so it was done without UN approval.

Tony Blair's bravery in regards to Iraq and the fervent, misguided opposition of even his own party should be applauded. I don't understand why his inspiring words are falling on so many willfully deaf ears.

And then there is Vaclav Havel, former President of Czechoslovakia, and Jose Ramos-Horta, East Timor's minister of foreign affairs and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996. These are people who know what its like to live under tyrannical regimes. They know terror. Their liberal credentials can't be questioned.

"I think it's not by chance that the idea of confronting evil may have found more support in those countries that have had a recent experience with totalitarian systems compared with other European countries that haven't had the same sort of recent experience."
- Vaclav Havel

"I still acutely remember the suffering and misery brought about by war. It would certainly be a better world if war were not necessary. Yet I also remember the desperation and anger I felt when the rest of the world chose to ignore the tragedy that was drowning my people. We begged a foreign power to free us from oppression, by force if necessary..
I am unimpressed by the grandstanding of certain European leaders. Their actions undermine the only truly effective means of pressure on the Iraqi dictator: the threat of the use of force..
Abandoning such a threat would be perilous. Yes, the antiwar movement would be able to claim its own victory in preventing a war. But it would have to accept that it also helped keep a ruthless dictator in power and explain itself to the tens of thousands of his victims.
History has shown that the use of force is often the necessary price of liberation. A respected Kosovar intellectual once told me how he felt when the world finally interceded in his country:
'I am a pacifist. But I was happy, I felt liberated when I saw NATO bombs falling.'"
- Jose Ramos-Horta

When the war is won, when Iraqi intellectuals rise from the dust and speak; when more WMD are unearthed; when more of Saddam's atrocities come to light; what will those who marched for "peace" say then? And how do they answer the question that Iraqis are asking now: Why won't you save us?

Kenneth Pollack, a leading expert on Iraq, writes of Saddam's regime:

"This is a regime that will gouge out the eyes of children to force confessions from their parents and grandparents. This is a regime that will crush all the bones in the feet of a two-year-old girl to force her mother to divulge her father's whereabouts. This is a regime that will hold a nursing baby at arm's length from its mother and allow the child to starve to death to force the mother to confess. This is a regime that will burn a person's limbs off to force him to confess or comply. This is a regime that will slowly lower its victims into huge vats of acid, either to break their will or simply as a means of execution. This is a regime that applies electric shocks to the bodies of its victims, particularly their genitals, with great creativity. This is a regime that in 2000 decreed that the crime of criticizing the regime (which can be as harmless as suggesting that Saddam's clothing does not match) would be punished by cutting out the offender's tongue. This is a regime that practices systematic rape against its female victims. This is a regime that will drag in a man's wife, daughter, or other female relative and repeatedly rape her in front of him. This is a regime that will force a white-hot metal rod into a person's anus or other orifices. This is a regime that employs thalium poisoning, widely considered one of the most excruciating ways to die. This is a regime that will behead a young mother in the street in front of her house and children because her husband was suspected of opposing the regime. This is a regime that used chemical warfare on its own Kurdish citizens.. [ warning: these images are disgusting: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 ]
As terrifying as this is, so too is the ease with which an Iraqi can realize such a fate.. Torture is not a method of last resort in Iraq, it is often the method of first resort..
Most Iraqis, especially Baghdadis, automatically assume that everything they say in public will be heard by the regime. Even in private, many Iraqis are wary of expressing any political views for fear that the regime is listening or that a member of their household will inform on them. Iraqis have learned to adapt and survive in this Orwellian nightmare, but they live their lives on a tightrope, knowing that the slightest misstep could plunge them into a vat of acid - figuratively or literally."

Worldwide hatred of Bush and resentment of American power have prevented people from seeing the real evil here.

The issue is not America, the "rogue superpower", but rather a totalitarian regime responsible for decades of armed conflict, terror, torture, rape, crimes against humanity, war crimes and mass murder.

Protesting a war that would end this regime is not just cruel but against the wishes of the people who want it most, the people of Iraq, and in a moral world there is no excuse for prolonging their suffering.

--

More resources:

Protesting the Protesters
An amusing video short about how utterly clueless many of the "peace" protesters are.

Activists Co-opted By Anti-American Protest Agenda
Why the "peace" movement isn't really for peace.

Anti-war campaigners believe there is another way to be rid of Saddam. There isn't.
More on misguided "peace" protesters.

A Last Chance to Stop Iraq
An essay by Kenneth Pollack
I also strongly suggest you check out his book , which I quoted from above. If you're into facts you'll learn a lot from this book. Even the Amazon reviews are informative.

War for peace? It worked in my country.
The full Jose Ramos-Horta essay which I quoted above.

Why I believe this war is right.
This, from a man who has seen war up close.

When will the Americans come?
Straight from the mouths of the Iraqi people.


We return next week.

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