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Thursday, August 16, 2007

1. War Is Not The Answer?

"I have learned nothing in twenty years that would suggest that evil people can be rapidly influenced by any means other than raw power. They do not respond, at least in the short run, to either gentle kindness or any form of spiritual persuasion with which I am familiar." - M. Scott Peck

The bumper sticker on the car in front of me read, “War is not the answer.” Unable to interview the driver, I felt confident that “War is never the answer” would more completely reflect his views.

Self-proclaimed intellectuals and other “enlightened” individuals see no need for war. War, they say, is the response of those that look at the world in black and white. Enlightened intellectuals are able to see life in “shades of gray” and in doing so feel that war is avoidable and unnecessary.

So what are their alternate solutions to extreme conflict? Their first response is often “Negotiation.” Negotiation is the art of compromise, of finding common ground by which both parties may benefit. Negotiation is fine when determining the price of a car, but in many real-life situations, deals cannot be reached. If a child molester enters your home and takes your two children what is the compromise? Can he keep one and return the other? When Iraq invaded Kuwait would it have been acceptable for Hussein to keep part of Kuwait? Would any citizen of the US find that acceptable should we be invaded? Doubtful.

Negotiation under the threat of force is called extortion. North Korea has found it quite profitable to continue their nuclear program. As nations protest, North Korea is only too happy to negotiate. During the Clinton administration, Jimmy Carter negotiated a Neville Chamberlain-type end to their program. The agreement included giving North Korea hundreds of millions of dollars in aid. In spite of North Korea later admitting that their program was never halted, many leftists still pine for the foreign policy days of Clinton. Apparently, the illusion of negotiated settlements is preferable to the dangerous reality of the situation.

The second non-war solution offered by the intellectual and enlightened crowd is “dialogue.” Shortly after the US led allied forces began bombing Iraq in 1991, I happened to be walking across the campus of my college. A staff member had a sign posted in her office window reading “Stop the bombing! Start talking!” The view is that all issues can be resolved peaceably if we can just get all parties to sit down and talk. Again using the above examples, what can be said to change the mind of a child molester? Can we make him see the error of his ways? Considering that psychologists see child predators as “incurable” I am unaware how anyone, even someone that is enlightened, can create a dialogue to change the predators mind.

Look within our own country, how successful have the pro-abortion intellectuals been at changing the views of those who are pro-life? They can criticize the anti-abortionists as being simple minded idealists or religious zealots, but then, couldn’t those same labels be used to describe those we have waged war against in the past?

The United Nations has shown itself unwilling to use military force to resolve issues. It continues to negotiate, impose sanctions and pass resolutions. So far, neither Iran nor North Korea has yielded to such efforts and their nuclear programs continue. But still, says the left, if we talk with them just a little longer, somehow, someway the issue will be resolved.

The goals of Iran are clear – the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people. The goal of Islamist extremists is the destruction of all non-believers, of all non-Muslims. Do we wait until Israel is destroyed before acting? Do we wait until New York City is nuked before doing something? Or do we join hands, sing songs, pick flowers and just hope that the problem will go away?

If the intellectual left holds the keys to the art of compromise and negotiation, why were our countries interests attacked five times during the Clinton administration by Middle Eastern countries? Why was Jimmy Carter unable to secure the release of our hostages in Iran in 1980? Both men are viewed as intellectual and enlightened. Both are viewed as being able to see both sides of an issue yet both men were unwilling to use military force when negotiation and dialogue were unsuccessful.

There is one more option from the left – to blame ourselves. Many in our country have decided that we are at fault, that we are to blame. This is as rational as a judge blaming a rape victim for her attack or Hitler blaming the Jews for the Holocaust.

Is it possible, just possible, that there are issues to which there is no middle ground, issues that truly are “black and white?” Is there a gray area regarding slavery? Is it acceptable in some circumstances but not in others? Is there a gray area regarding ethnic cleansing? Would it have been acceptable for Hitler to kill only one million Jews instead of the almost six million that were slaughtered? Or are there only right and wrong sides to each of these issues? If so, and negotiations and dialogue cannot end these situations, what exactly do we do if force is not an acceptable alternative?

After being elected president in 1980 Ronald Reagan made it clear that should Iran not release our citizens he would order the military to begin bombing Tehran. The day of his inauguration, the hostages were released. In 1986, Reagan had proof that Libya was behind the bombing of a Berlin nightclub frequented by Americans. He then authorized the bombing of the Libyan capital of Tripoli. Since that time, Gaddafi’s Libya has stayed out of the terrorism business. No amount of negotiation, appeasement or dialogue yielded such results.

Our opposition in the Middle East has been clear – anything other than force is viewed as weakness, a weakness that can be exploited. According to Bin Laden, the weak response by the US for the attacks in the 1990s emboldened the Taliban to go forward with 9-11.
To those that say “War is not the answer,” our opposition is telling us that war is the answer – any other response merely strengthens their resolve that the fight is theirs to win.

1 comment:

Empty said...

I think that one place where the liberal intellectuals get their wires crossed is that they cannot differentiate between something they dislike with something that is a necessity

Several years ago during my first visit to Hawaii, I stood on the USS Arizona Memorial and I shed several tears and realized then that I hated war. I was standing over the tombs of so many men who had died and began to think of all of the nearly 420,000 Americans who died fighting during WWII. There is no doubt in my mind... war is terrible... I hate war! However, the sad fact is that sometimes war is the only answer. Just imagine what the world might be today had we decided to "negotiate" with Hitler or Emperor Hirohito.