The Dartmouth Observer
Friday, January 31, 2003
The New Republic has an excellent article called 'Time Out' on anti-war liberalism.
TNR maintains that anti-war liberals (varying from the moderates to the radicals) do not support Bush's war for five reasons:
1. We should exhaust every peaceful means possible before using war as an option of foreign policy.
2. "angry street demonstrators": The display of American power anywhere is world is unjust-- for a number of reasons: unethical/ unequal globalization, giant corporations, racism, oil interests, etc. This is why you will see the same of people condemning the US on 'human rights', protesting the World Trade Organization's meetings, and doing anti-war demonstrations. One could reasonably argue that this type of never-ending protest is itself unethical-- using the plight of the poor and downtrodden as propaganda to further very a controversial and specious egalitarianism.
3. The report of Hans Blix was mixed and unclear; and was clearly contradicted by the report of the IAEA. (Reality is such a murky subject.)
4. Bush's bellicosity has undermined the inspections regime; Bush was never interested in inspections, only war.
5. Their answer to the question: "Would Iraq, if permitted to rebuild its nuclear, biological, and chemical arsenal, pose a threat to the United States?" is no or they elude the question by throwing up smoke screen ad hoc criteria: public support for the war, 'international' support for disarmament (by international they mean: European leftist intellectuals; the Arab left, for instance, seems to prefer that the theocracies, gang wars and savagery stop. Moreover, the European left has had a poor governing record after WWI, but especially after WWII. The populations of Europe recognized this and did not allow the left primarily to take over until after the Cold War), or more 'inspection time.'
My question is: where is the intellectually sound voice of opposition? There are many reasons to protest an American-Iraqi war; furthering radical egalitarian agenda is not one of them. I myself do not support a war in Iraq for the following reasons: no moral and political guidelines have been delineated for me as to when, where and how American power will be used and what interests we will be furthering. It is not that I think that war is immoral, it isn't, it is rather that there are some justifiable reasons for the use of power, and when they don't fall into these categories, power should not be used. For instance, I would support a war in Kosovo to rid the country of the unstable elements and reintroduce an order such that people can live in peace. I would not support intervention in Rwanda unless it threatened to destabilized the African continent. A war to liberate Tibet or the Kurds would be unnecessary; their situation is not optimal but not worth expending blood over.
Protesting the war should follow this guideline, cost-benefit analysis, and not be based on concepts such as peace (I call upon Wilson's infamous 'war to end all wars' as sufficient proof) or justice (in the name of God, for the religious extremists of medieval yesteryear and in the world today or of human rights, for the leftist extremist of recent invention). Anyone who claims to support human rights, whether they be defined broadly or narrowly, must support and lobby for, wars in Iraq, Iran, Libya, China, Russia, South Africa, Zimbawe, etc. These people are, at best, secular fanatics devoted to spreading their doctrine by the sword; they bear an eerie functional and psychological, if not moral, equivalence to the Crusades and the jihads of today. (from a secular perspective) We must remember that we are American citizens first, not citizens of some world order. Our primary moral claim is to our neighbors-- our fellow citizens. If there exists, outside this wonderful nation, some force that can disturb our American existence, it is the responsibility of our government to deal with the problems in a civilized manner: diplomacy first, then a diplomacy of violence second, and finally warfare last.