The case for war.
Readers of Clubbeaux know I’m not a, Iraq war hawk, I think if we’re really going to go after the source of the problem of Islamic terrorism we need to take out Saudi Arabia, not Iraq, but there is a case for war against Iraq and it’s made by Bill Whittle at Eject! Eject! Eject!
as well as I’ve seen it made anywhere.
It’s rather long but elegantly written, so get a cup of coffee before plunging in. Some highlights (subheadings mine):
One of the reasons that September 11th remains so shocking and clear to us today was that it was all raw and unedited during those first few hours. Bland, chatty newsmen were rendered speechless, a tough-as-nails mayor broke down and wept, congressmen spontaneously broke into God Bless America because they didn’t know what else to do, and people sent in video of jets flying into buildings, broadcast unedited as their friends screamed “Jesus Fucking Christ!” on network television. It was raw
. It was real
. It stayed that way for perhaps 48 hours, until people like me (but not me) got a hold of it and turned it into America Mourns
with slow-mo flags snapping and moving dissolves of weeping bystanders superimposed over somber musical chords.
Now that awful, enraging footage is being held back, so as not to enflame
public opinion. We are about to launch a war in which people will die at our hand, and we have done a dreadful job of making the case for such an action. Public opinion needs to be enflamed
, because no cold-blooded, clear-eyed look at what we oppose in this conflict could do anything but enflame
Those who criticize the United States from within clearly have not seen any of these horrors I have mentioned, for if they had it could not but mitigate their rhetoric, and put some perspective into their arrogant and affluent lives. Those who actually endure such daily horror as can be found in the world want one thing and one thing only: they want to come here. They want to come here NOW.
We never see these grotesque realities on U.S. television, and yet our news media has not been shy about reporting the effects of U.S. bombing campaigns, never missed a chance to show us the weeping civilians wailing over children lost in U.S. air attacks, never blanched at showing charred Iraqi soldiers hanging out of tanks destroyed by our weapons.
However, by showing only our actions, by showing only what we did to Iraqis without presenting the horrors they inflicted on Kuwait, we have made an editorial decision, that being: The U.S. is the cause of, and not the remedy to, much of the suffering in the world.
Just the beginning.
We and two or three other nations, old and true friends who have stood by us through flame and terror, now confront a menace the likes of which we have not seen for almost a thousand years. We face an adversary in the full bloom of romance with death and destruction, an enemy willing – eager – to spray our cities with a virus it has taken armies of scientists and doctors, working diligently through centuries of research and learning, to eradicate from the blood-soak rolls of history. We face fanatics who would bring down the entire world, themselves included, in a radioactive Armageddon, secure in their own twisted souls of the heavenly rewards of sexual gratification and revenge for their many abject failures.
We face people such as this, people who are so far beyond the pale of human mercy and so corrupted by black and bitter rage that they must be killed, for nothing else will stop them, nothing – as they tell us at every opportunity.
Those protesting this war do not seem to get this at all. Not only have they failed to make an argument based on fact and historical precedent, they have stooped to the most childish and infantile posturing and rhetoric imaginable. Their chanting has all the mindlessness and cruelty of a kindergarten cabal; their slogans and slanders and taunts seemingly exclusively ad hominem.
Watching them on C–Span for as long as you can bear, you rapidly become convinced that they have no point to make at all, other than that the United States is, by definition, the source of all evil and injustice in the world. Conscientious liberals admit in private, and indeed, more frequently in public, to the paucity of thought, the irrationality and sheer lunacy of those who march in our streets in opposition to war with Iraq.
I see the absurd posturing of these suburban socialists, listen to the inane chanting from these mall Marxists, watch them return to their Lexuses and their minivans and their SUVs and find myself stuck with “Life During Wartime” running over and over in my head:
This ain’t no party
This ain’t no disco
This ain’t no foolin’ around.
This is nothing new.
We have blithely ignored them for many years, turned a deaf ear to their warnings and fatwas
, turned an even more blinded eye to their procession of assassinations, massacres, bombings and attacks. Despite our recent and proven record of aiding and defending innocent Muslims in Kuwait, the Balkans, and elsewhere, we have been singled out as a Satan, a nation of sub-human infidels, and been the target of slander and incitement to murder that would have shamed the most fanatical Jesuit in the Spanish Inquisition.
There are those of us who have the courage to actually listen to their unedited rhetoric, view the video records of their atrocities, and face the fact that these people are sworn to kill as many innocent civilians as they possibly can. Some of us, in the months since September 11th, 2001, have chosen to take them at their word.
No one disputes that nuclear weapons are dangerous. No one disputes that Saddam is dangerous. So why do legions of people argue that Saddam with nuclear weapons is somehow not dangerous?
What war protesters say:
Now let’s deal with some of the reasons why people oppose this war.
Innocent people, innocent children will die in this war.
That is true. Innocent people will die at our hand. But let us never forget that action is visible and direct, but that inaction also bears consequences.
We will do everything in our power to limit civilian causalities in this war. In fact, during the days and weeks ahead, we will see something unheard of in military history: a campaign designed not only to minimize civilian casualties, but one aimed at killing as few enemy soldiers as possible
. We have already dropped leaflets on Iraqi regular army units, telling them that if they remain in their positions they will not be harmed, but if they mass for a counterattack, we will destroy them. As Steven Den Beste repeatedly has pointed out, they have recent experience in this matter, both with our destructive capabilities and our generosity and kindness to prisoners of war.
Those that do chose to fight will be the hard core element of Saddam’s blood-stained police state, the sadists and executioners who have tortured and murdered their own people on Saddam Hussein’s orders for decades. Don’t forget that. Don’t forget the number that have disappeared in the night during his monstrous reign of terror. Don’t forget well-documented, disgustingly common accounts of the children tortured to death in front of their parents, of girls raped in front of their fathers, not to mention the roll-calls of horror that will emerge when that evil is finally swept away.
And finally, don’t forget your friends and family, the good people you work and play with, the innocent men women and children of New York or Los Angeles or Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Boston, or whichever city we may condemn to radioactive vapor because we were too cowardly and indecisive to act on what we knew to be a threat.
This war is all about oil.
Demonstrably false for the reasons listed above. Nevertheless, let’s grant the premise. Oil is the only power source currently available to meet the needs of our post-industrial society. Not only our automobiles depend on this oil: it is also a primary source of electrical energy in this country, and is essential to the plastics we use in everything from MRI machines to CD players.
To say this war is all about oil is factually identical to saying that this war is all about maintaining our society and lifestyle. If that is not worth fighting for, what is? One may find that offensive ideologically, but my experience with the people who have SPLIT WOOD NOT ATOMS on their bumper stickers have actually split very little wood in their lives. If one feels deeply about NO BLOOD FOR OIL, you must either drive a solar-powered electric car, ride a horse or a bicycle, or walk. You must remove your home from the city power grid. You must discard all plastic items. You must also abandon television, radios and movies, all of which rely on electricity generated by oil. You must forgo modern medicine, surgery and dentistry, likewise driven by oil-fired electricity at many stages. You must grow your own food.
Do all of these things, and you will have my frank admiration for your dedication to a moral cause. Do anything less and you are a hypocrite mouthing an easy lie in an attempt to strike a pose of moral superiority.
We need a ‘smoking gun’ from the UN inspectors.
It is clear from documented reports of bribery attempts on UN inspectors on the part of the Iraqis, to French inspectors tipping off Saddam about team destinations, that to accept this argument we de facto lose the game. This is why it is so popular. It ignores reams of testimony from defecting scientists, and all of the other evidence stated above. In fact, it raises the question that ignoring such a mountain of existing evidence requires such a willful burying of one’s head in the sand as to make any proof insufficient.
To such people, the smoking gun they require is a pile of radioactive rubble where Tel Aviv once stood, or legions of dead commuters in the London Underground, or the wildfire spread of smallpox through greater Chicago and beyond. Scores of independent sources repeatedly and emphatically demonstrate that Iraq has massive quantities of biological and chemical weapons, and is working frantically to attain nuclear ones.
Those unconvinced by the existing evidence will be convinced by nothing less than their actual use against our military or civilians.
To hell with those people.
The United States has no right to launch a pre-emptive attack; we can only respond if we are attacked.
This is the most pernicious and dangerous argument of all, because it plays directly into our natural revulsion at being an aggressor and causing the deaths of innocent civilians.
As I mentioned, I see both Iraq’s attack on Kuwait, and the Islamicist attacks on 9/11, as the pre-emptive attacks that started this pending conflict. But perhaps you do not buy that argument. Well, consider this:
We were attacked before, on December 7th, 1941, by a vast navy that had been assembling for years. We watched the Japanese build the Pearl Harbor fleet. We did nothing. We – the French and English especially – also did nothing as a bitter and vengeful Germany grew stronger and more daring. Appeasement was all the rage back then.
In the years following that naval sneak attack, and after a war in which unchecked militarism nearly brought civilization to ruin, it made sense to think that we could stay free by being strong enough to deter or repel any invasion. We would do – indeed, we have done – whatever it took to create a defense so formidable that the mere idea of defeating it has become unthinkable, and to willingly provoke it becomes an act of state suicide.
Those days are gone.
We face an enemy willing – eager – to carry a suitcase into Times Square, press a button, and in one millisecond inflict more casualties on the United States than we have seen in all the wars of our history, combined.
It is an image so horrible that many simply refuse to believe it.
We ignore September 11th at our mortal peril. We no longer have the luxury of watching an enemy build military and naval strength over years or decades. We no longer face uniformed divisions massing at the borders. We face instead a group of depraved murderers to whom nothing is off-limits, who fear no earthly retribution, who love and glorify death for its own end and who hate not only all that we do, but all that we are with a black bitterness that we cannot begin to imagine.
For we are waking up to a simple reality. In a new millennium where a few diseased people can carry a suitcase with the power to kill millions, the lesson we must learn is simply this: the only way we will be safe, prosperous and free is when everyone is safe, prosperous and free.
Critics of this War on Terror call it ‘eternal’ and ‘never-ending’ as a means of discouraging us from fighting it at all. But there can be an end to this war. It will end when all people are inside the bubble we have built for ourselves and our children – warm, well-fed, free to pursue their dreams and ambitions, their minds and bodies and women liberated, racial and tribal hatreds put aside, and so on.
The quiet idealist deep inside in me, on a speak-when-spoken-to basis, actually believes such things are possible. After all, it works – pretty well – for us, and we Americans are children of all the world. We know what such a society looks like, and we have documents of such stunning clarity and hope as to show anyone the way.
The conservative I have become, however, is certain that if it happens, it will happen because of the actions and sacrifice of US Marines and not because of middle-aged naked hippies spelling PEACE on a golf course. It will take decades. It may take centuries.
Can we FORCE freedom and democracy on people? It seems, from the example of Germany and Japan, that indeed we can. These societies once harbored fanatics no less dedicated to our destruction than the ones we face today. Now they are our trading partners, and often our friends and allies.
The point at which it becomes necessary to force such a regime change will be determined by how ugly the swamp has become. And can anyone seriously argue that the people left after the defeat of the Nazis, Japanese Imperialists or American Confederates are not far better off today than they would have been if they had WON?