Skip to comments.ALAN KEYES: Justifying War
Posted on 11/10/2001 6:34:55 AM PST by Keyes For President
WorldNetDaily: Justifying war
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Saturday, November 10, 2001
By Alan Keyes
It is important for any people to understand the reasons for its wars, and the nature of its enemies. For Americans, the question of why we fight always raises issues as old as our Republic. It requires reference to principles which are the very foundation of that Republic.
The war against terrorism is not a war against Islam. It is not a war against an extreme and fanatical interpretation of Islam. We are not fighting, and must never fight, a religious war. We are in fact a nation founded in the hope and promise of being a bulwark against religious warfare. The peaceful and ordered liberty of America is deeply, specifically rooted in our universal respect for the rights of conscience, and in our exercise of religious freedom. Our principle of religious liberty is a standing inspiration to the world to abandon religious warfare everywhere.
Bin Laden has declared religious war on America, but we are not fighting a religious war against him. We are not bombing terrorists because of their beliefs about God. We are seeking to destroy an association of men who have taken violent, evil action against the innocent in our country. Our actions are in response not to sectarian ideas about God, but to actions which shocked every decent human conscience, regardless of religion.
This distinction between sectarian ideas about God and the notion of "decent human conscience" is what makes the combination of liberty and moral order possible. And, in modified form, it guides our relations with the rest of the world as well.
The Declaration principles on which America stands were proposed by our founders to the world as "self-evident." The most important of these principles is the equal dignity of all men has been established by a power beyond human will, and no political order can be truly legitimate except in the measure it acknowledges, if only implicitly, the equal dignity of all.
The principle of human equality carries with it the corollary requirement that government receive the consent of the governed. Paradoxically, this can mean at times more enlightened citizens must show great patience in awaiting the consent of the governed to measures necessary for the political order more perfectly to embody the principle of equality. As Lincoln's life taught us, such patience can be a supreme virtue of the American statesman.
The implementation of the Declaration's self-evident principles can be complicated and long-delayed, even within a regime explicitly dedicated to their fulfillment. It should be no surprise, then, that American foreign and security policy must deal with a world of people and nations for whom effective respect for the dignity of all men is often much more remote. America is, at its best, a patient statesman for the community of nations, seeking to evoke by the authentic consent of those nations a respect for the universal principles of human dignity and self-government which cannot be imposed from without.
What does patience of this sort have to do with avoiding religious war? Religious profession and practice are the source of the most profound commitments to morality, to respect for the laws of nature and of nature's God. Religion is, accordingly, essential to the possibility of a people's effort to build a political order which respects human dignity under God. But religion is also, at least in this life, the source of ineradicable disagreements over the specific forms and methods by which the morally good life is to be lived. Religion thus appears both necessary and deadly to the peace of ordered liberty.
The American solution to this dilemma is to acknowledge religion as a principal source of moral goodness, while recognizing the danger of religious sectarianism only and precisely insofar as it appears in the form of actions which are immoral regardless of motive. The ruthless destruction of innocent human life, however it may cloak itself in a false language of theology or religiosity, is always and everywhere evil because it is the most manifest repudiation possible of the principle of human equality. This is one reason our founders listed life first among the rights with which our Creator endowed us.
The American political order exists to advance the attempt of self-governing free people to secure the rights with which the Creator endows them. Those, at home or abroad, who assault those rights by violent action have declared war on the first principles of American life, and must be opposed accordingly.
In calling on the world to assist in the war on terror, we depend upon the fact that the first principles of American life are, implicitly, the first principles of decent conscience in any man. We depend upon the self-evident truth that disregard for the life of the innocent is evil, whatever its motive. And that is why we summon the world to join us in a war not of religion, but of the universal order of natural justice which America has, from the beginning, sought to exemplify to the world.
Be sure to visit Alan Keyes' communications center for founding principles, The Declaration Foundation.
Former Reagan administration official Alan Keyes, was U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Social and Economic Council and 2000 Republican presidential candidate.
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We are seeking to destroy an association of men who have taken violent, evil action against the innocent in our country
Why did they take 'evil' action? Because we don't submit and pay homage to Islam. You've got to consider, these terrorists are defacto theologians.
On one side, people are taugh to 'love your neighbor' and 'thou shall not kill'. The Islam message that comes through to the 'fanatics' is, 'despise your neighbor' and 'kill if you can', and Islam is rallying around these 'fanatics'.
IMO, this war won't be over until the Koran is 'rewritten'.
I have a question of Mr Keyes, but really have no way to ask him - there is no e-mail address that I know of, so I am asking it here hoping it would somehow get to Mr Keyes.
The question is this - why isn't GWB using you? Why does the RNC act as if you do not exist?
Reading your articles and listening to your speeches one can not but be in awe of your intellect, leadership ability and morals.
So why don't they use you?
If you were President Bush, having been the target of this guy's pot shot after pot shot, would you "use" Keyes? Not to get into a big debate with those who love the man, but he rarely misses an opportunity to take a shot at Bush. I don't honestly see why the President should be obligated to offer him a gig.
Notwithstanding the religious nature of the language bin Laden and his ilk use, we must not fight back in the name of Christianity, but in the name of our American principles of natural, God-given rights. Any attack on these rights is evil.
Alan Keyes often says America has a "creed" in a sense, but it, of course, is non-denominational. The creed is outlined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution: that all men are created equal with rights -- and one of these rights is the right to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience. It is our respect for these principles that has made our nation unique and blessed above all other nations.
It may be true that we are fighting for the right of Judeo-Christianity to exist in our country, but we are also fighting for the right of any other religion. Bin Laden's hijacked airplanes did not target Christians and Jews; they killed members of other religious sects, even Muslims. But even if it had been exclusive to Judeo-Christianity, that still would not affect our response. Human beings were evilly murdered on our soil, and we will not allow that.
If we reacted as though this is a war of Jews and Christians against Muslims, we would play right into bin Ladens hands. The fatwa he issued against America tries to pit religion against religion. The purpose, of course, is to get all Muslims around the world rallied to bin Ladens cause. Hes the one on a crusade, not us. And he would like nothing better than to see Muslims think Judeo-Christianity is a beast that wants to destroy them.
We cannot take the bait.
That's an extreme exaggeration. The thing is, Keyes is deeply committed to the pro-life cause, and he takes issue with anyone who does not likewise uphold this principle.
Although Bush made strong statements to show his opposition to stem cell research during his campaign, he wavered from this once he got in office. Keyes has strongly denounced this, and he will continue to do so. It is, after all, not a light thing. It is a matter of life and death. And it doesn't matter who the President is, whether he is Republican or Democrat, Keyes will always criticize those are weak-kneed on this issue.
If this makes some in the GOP uncomfortable . . . well, that's their problem, not his.
I do not understand where all of you, Keyes bashers, find these alleged "shots" at GWB.
I think you are just self-appointed, zealous "defenders" who attack Dr Keyes simply because his analysis and his speeches are a magnitude stronger that anything GWB could deliver; you (and probably DNC as well) just do not want to be compared to Keyes.
That is sad. Un-patriotic too.
Oh, puh-LEEZE. I couldn't care less about your comparisons, or who you deem to be "un-patriotic". You don't know a thing about me, and you're leaping to some wild conclusions. I did not "attack" Keyes, and I resent being lumped in with the DNC simply because I don't see why George W. Bush should demonstrate loyalty that Keyes has not earned.
Worship him if you like. I don't appreciate his treatment of the President (who happens to be a Christian, also). If that causes you to draw some conclusion about my morality, have at it. It means nothing to me.
Alan Keyes is where he belongs, doing what he does best - shouting, pontificating, criticizing and grinning whenever he comes up for air. President Bush owes him nothing.
The chances of Alan Keyes being Chairman of the RNC are slim and None!
Oh, really. Try this one from a Keyes speech on August 25, discussing the Bush stem-cell financing decision:
"I sit in front of a decision like that and I say this is a decision where somebody sat down to figure out how much evil they could get away with".
That one still sticks in the craw of a lot of Bush supporters and made a lot of Keyes fans into former Keyes fans.
Alan Keyes is intelligent, articulate and has stong convictions but he was tepid with his support of G. W. Bush following his nomination and went on the attack soon after the inaugration. The stem-cell decision threw Keyes into a real snit and nothing has changed.
I support Keyes duty and right to voice his convictions and his criticisms of the President but to expect the Bush administration to give this man the time of day would be beyond naive. Keyes has taken an adversary position toward Bush and in my opinion, although Alan Keyes has a fine understanding of many issues as well as strong positions on them but he appears to have no real grasp of politics and serves more as a commentator than anything else. Unfortunately, his commentary is often against Bush or his policies in some way, so cooperation between these two men is probably not possible at this point.
I believe both are happier this way. Dr. Keyes is free to attack Bush where and when he sees fit and Bush gets on with his Presidency, ignoring Alan Keyes. Works for me.
Exactly. I am dumbfounded that anyone would expect Bush to embrace Keyes. He may be a great orator, but the man is a Bush-basher.
I'm glad we have Bush as President, and not Gore -- and I think it's safe to say his religion is not pretended like the Clintons' was. He seems to at least want to do what's right, most of the time.
However, it is disappointing -- to say the least -- that he wavered on the stem cell issue. He came close to doing the right thing, but in the end he tried too hard to please both sides. All Keyes has done is pointed out the inconsistencies in Bush's decision. That's where Keyes' criticism lies.
It's unfortunate that some have misunderstood this criticism to be a personal attack against Bush. But no matter what is said, it's just not true that Keyes ever bashed Bush. He has simply criticized him for waffling on the stem cell issue.
If you are pro-life, I hope you can understand the importance of this issue to Keyes. And I hope you realize it is something that we must defend at all times, even when we have a pro-life Republican in the White House. Im sure if all pro-lifers had been firm in their pleas to Bush to not fund any stem cell research, it wouldve been easier for him to uphold it with no exceptions. But the pressure he got from the pro-life crowd to fund the research was apparently too great to ignore, and he obliged them.
We pro-lifers need to be firmer than that. Thank goodness we have Keyes to prick our consciences now and then.
With all due respect, I don't believe this is true. I've seen and heard plenty of Alan Keyes - and he is by no stretch of the imagination a Bush supporter. All I am suggesting is that there is no reason why his competitive, condescending behavior should earn him a seat at the Bush conference table.
For the most part, I have no problem with him - although I think he is completely unelectable, divisive, and at times comes dangerously close to the Windbag Zone - I actually do enjoy him in certain contexts. Having said that, I believe Bush is absolutely right to ignore him.
Thanks for the reasoned response. I appreciate your disagreeing without insulting me personally.
Keep repeating Dr. Keyes! Take a drive around Potomac and keep repeating!
Thanks for you respect, likewise.
I think it's great that you care about Keyes' opinion enough to be a close watcher of his. But you'll have to have noticed that Keyes' criticism of Bush is nearly always limited to the stem cell decision. The only exception I've seen is way back in the China/spy-plane dilemma, when he was worried that we were giving in to China's demands in what was essentially a hostage situation.
But these are merely disagreements over the President's policies. I hope we don't think that speaking out against an offensive action by our President qualifies a person as a Bush-basher, or that when we disagree with our government official, we are taking personal "pot-shots."
I know in politics there is the tendency to think of things as a battle of personalities, like a high-school popularity contest. That, I think, puts us in situation where we care more about external things, such as how a guy looks or talks, rather than whether what that guy is advocating is good for the country.
That's a tendency we need to overcome if we are to prevent another Clinton-like presidency in the future, I believe.
Now, that statement is totally false. He admits his target is Christians and Jews. He's ramping up the Islam domination jihad that's been going on for 1400 years.
God, I wish he would leave the GOP and go to the Constitution Party....at least, they still say 'constitution', rather than leaving it in the outhouse like a Sears catalog.
Is Alan this naive regarding Islam?
He should read Belloc on the Islamic heresy, available on-line at EWTN.
Now, that statement is totally false. He admits his target is Christians and Jews. He's ramping up the Islam domination jihad that's been going on for 1400 years.
Yes, that's what bin Laden said he wanted to do, but not what he accomplished, isn't it? Bin Laden may see killing Americans as killing Christians and Jews, but the truth is, America is made up of a substantial number of Muslims and persons of other religious persuasion, too. The fact that bin Laden doesn't mind killing Muslim Americans shows that this is not the religious war he claims it is. His battle, in actuality, is against anyone who believes in liberty.
Again, we can't take bin Laden's bait and give the Muslims of the world any reason to believe America is against them. This war is for freedom, not against religion.
Here is a mild irony.
Keyes is supporting, in this article, the position of the US Government, headed by GWB.
We [the USA] have been adamant that we are not in war with Islam. Some folks have read this piece and said Keyes is a "Bush Basher." Some have said he is naive about Islam.
Best to you and all,
I don't know how much Keyes knows of Islam, but perhaps his position is not as naive as you think.
Personally, in my study of the Koran and the history of Islam, I've been surprised at how violent and authoritarian the religion is. And I can see where bin Laden gets his justification for his actions against us, since the Koran allows for the extermination of "infidels" under certain circumstances.
But the problem is, bin Laden has no authority to speak for Islam, or to issue a "fatwa" or "jihad" against anyone, just on his say-so. He has set himself up as a modern Mohammed, without any legitimacy. Thankfully, most Muslims--at least in the US--seem to recognize this fraud, and really do want to live in peace.
Bin Laden and his followers represent a minority of Islam. But if we take their bait, and start calling this a war on Islam, bin Laden's view will be accepted by the majority of Muslims, because it will then be true.
We cannot fall into the trap of thinking of the war in bin Laden's terms. This is a war for our political ideals--those ideals from our founding of universal God-given rights.
Golden Words, Gelato.
And Prudent ones.
Isn't Dr. Keyes saying what President Bush has been saying all along, i.e., this is not a war against Islam?
This is a fine thing, to disagree without insult. You might think about applying the same standard to your remarks about Keyes.
In any event, he and President Bush are on the same page about this war's not being a religious war. That might move us all to more moderate and kindly speech.
Best to you,
Well, yes. And I think it is true.
So now is a lovely moment for various Keyes haters to admit that he sometimes, when he thinks it true and wise, supports the stance of the administration.
I sit here, at my PC, fully confident that we will see many, many posts admitting this fact, and a great, and new, unity of conservatives on the issues of the war.
I also expect to win the lottery, and to see all my stocks double tomorrow!
Excuse me? Dad? This is a political forum. I can, and I will, be honest about my observations regarding Alan Keyes. The first thing that happened on this thread when I dared to suggest that President Bush was not obligated to give him a job was - guess what - an insult directed at me by a Keyes supporter. (In other words, you might think about applying some consistency to your remarks.)
I think you are just self-appointed, zealous "defenders" who attack Dr Keyes simply because his analysis and his speeches are a magnitude stronger that anything GWB could deliver; you (and probably DNC as well) just do not want to be compared to Keyes. That is sad. Un-patriotic too.
I think it mild, and it is not from me.
In fact, I don't agree with it.
Now, to return to sweeter things, don't you in fact agree with the position Keyes takes in the column? And isn't it the position of the US Government?
And isn't that more important than our various disagreements?
Best to you, and for America,
What makes you say that? All Keyes has done is criticize Bush, even to the point of calling him "evil."
Although you may regard me as such, I do not regard myself as a "Keyes hater". As I've said numerous times before, I thought enough of Dr. Keyes to vote for him in 1996 and 2000. I have, however, become increasingly exasperated with some of his public statements since the election.
Yes, Dr. Keyes does seem to be supporting the same position as the administration. Just a thought -- and I'm sure you'll think it's nit-picking -- but he might have made a little headway against those who say he's always "Bush-bashing" if he'd just added "As our President has said," in front of "The war against terrorism is not a war against Islam."
It's a small thing, but one that would have made it abundantly clear that in this case, because "he thinks it true and wise", he's supporting the position of the administration.
Hey don't you know that if you're against Keyes than you are unprincipled? That's how everyone who comes out against Keyes is labeled; including myself.
And there are those who question why Bush isn't using him?
Give me a break... It's as clear why as the nose on my own face.
Keyes has come out publicly stating that he is not a Bush Republican (whatever that means).
That poster is in no means alone either. What is Alan doing to change that?
Richard, I must be dense - would you mind stating just what in DaughterOfAnIwoJimaVet's posts you found "insulting" to Keyes?
I don't understand. The first response to your sugestion was Gelato's, and the only thing that might be (mis)construed as an insult was his characterization of what you said (not of you) as an "extreme exaggeration".
I agree that the SECOND response got personal. I hate that stuff.
But then there's the "applying some consistency to your remarks" remark. Did rdf insult you? He's not responsible for what everyone, or even every Keyester, says to you. How could he be?
Further I saw nobody suggesting that Bush was obligated to give Keyes a job. Is there a Keyester here who thinks he is?
Mind you, it might be pretty prudent to do so, if Keyes would take it, which I doubt. One thing I would consider doing with something that I thought was a loose canon would be to tie it down.
But all this is beside the point. My own personal preference woud be for Keyesters and Shrubonistas (and in this thread it was a Keyester who started the digression) to stick to the topic. Vain dreamer that I am.
I think Gelato nailed it. There is indeed a set of "self-evident" principles which undergird our polity. They are broad enough to encompass a very great deal - excluding bald nihilism on the one hand and any worldview which denies or abrogates the dignity of each human being on the other.
These principles are sufficient to justify our response to terrorism, especially that of Osama Yo' Mama. Whatever our disgreements with Islam itself, we need not go into them to find ample justification for bringing terrorists and their supporters to bay.
Seems to me, anyway.
This is just not complicated. Though I was not the one to bring it up, I was simply addressing the notion that President Bush has somehow been negligent by not offering this man who has repeatedly been disrespectful to him some sort of position in the Bush Administration, or that Keyes ought to be running the RNC - which, in my view, is absurd. That's all. I wasn't even talking about this specific article, nor would anything in this article change my opinion of Alan Keyes.
There's nothing personal about it, and that's really the only point I was trying to make.
I agree that the SECOND response got personal. I hate that stuff.
You're correct - it was not Gelato's post I was referring to. It was the second one.
It is to me, too. I'm sorry to hear your character has been called into question because you are not in awe of Alan Keyes.
I was reflecting today and trying to remember a time when President (or candidate) Bush demonstrated an attitude of disrespect to Alan Keyes, and I could not think of one. If he did, I missed it.
Bush values loyalty, and he is right to do so. He can count on none from Alan Keyes. If by chance Keyes is searching for the reason he has no position in this administration or the RNC, he need look no further than the mirror for his answer.
And it came from Keyes own spokesman no less.
That's okay I'm a big girl and I can take it.
I just get sick of Keyes superior moral attitude that no one else seems to be able to attain.
I guess Keyes forgot the part in the Bible where Jesus says he desires mercy not sacrifice.