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The U.S. is not an appeasement power
National Post ^ | December 05, 2002 | Conrad Black

Posted on 12/05/2002 7:51:14 AM PST by veronica

The facts and alternatives in respect of Iraq are fairly clear.

The United States sustained a massive and unprovoked act of war, of which no explicit warning was given, from an enemy that did not identify itself, on September 11, 2001. The President of the United States said on that day that the United States recognized that it was at war and would respond against all terrorists. He stated the simple principles that no distinction would be accepted between terrorists and countries that assisted terrorists and that countries would be judged by their actions whether they were friends or foes of America.

The President's position is completely consistent with the governing security policy of the United States enunciated by President Roosevelt in two speeches at the beginning and end of 1941. In January of that year he said: "We must always be wary of those who with sounding brass and tinkling cymbal would preach the 'ism of appeasement." In December, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, he said: "We will make very certain that this form of treachery never again endangers us." The United States has not been an appeasement power and no country has directly attacked it since. Instead, in their evil and cowardice, the enemies of the West have tried to conceal their identity, while massacring innocent people and exploiting the spirit of envy that afflicts some of America's ostensible allies.

There is not now and has not for many years been any doubt that Iraq is a terrorist-supporting state. There is increasing, yet not at this point, conclusive evidence, linking Iraq to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. But failure, to date, to prove that connection must not become a safe house for terrorism's most notorious supporter. Saddam Hussein has underwritten the suicide murders of the Palestinians and has been demonstrated to be complicit in many other acts of terror, including the original bombing of the World Trade Center in New York.

Though a secular dictator, Saddam has placed himself at the head of the militant Islamist movement. He is the custodian of the hopes of those radical Islamists who choose to believe that the entire West is cowardly and decadent, easily intimidated, and motivated by no principles except commercialized self-indulgence.

The unanimous UN Security Council resolution requires Iraqi compliance with the terms of the peace that ended the Gulf War, and with the many United Nations resolutions reiterating the agreed prohibition of Iraqi development of designated weapons of mass destruction.

The distinction some have tried to make between regime change in Iraq and disarming Saddam, is essentially spurious. In order to disarm Iraq, it will be necessary to have a government in that country that wishes to disarm. That will require a change of regime, either by replacing it altogether, or by an unprecedentedly profound grace of political conversion affecting Saddam Hussein. In the absence of such a reformation, the regime will have to be replaced to achieve the objectives of both the United Nations and the United States.

The Security Council Resolution requires further discussion if any power wishes to proceed to measures of force to secure compliance with the agreed and oft-repeated prohibition on designated weapons of mass destruction. In practice, this discussion will consist of informally canvassing the Permanent Security Council members, with no assurance or requirement for the laying down of a further resolution.

The President of the United States made it perfectly clear when he addressed the United Nations in September of this year that his country's purpose was the reinforcement and imposition of international law. He sought to avoid the possibility that the United Nations would become impotent and derisory as did the League of Nations in the face of Axis aggressions in the '30s.

The United States possesses a conventional, well-settled right to respond to violent attack. And by all of the most exacting standards, the United States has conducted itself with exemplary concern for international law.

It is a country that possesses more military might than all other countries in the world combined, yet it has moved cautiously and deliberately, but very effectively, against the terrorists in Afghanistan and many other countries, in all but the Afghan case, with the co-operation of the governments concerned. As a result, terrorist incidents since September of last year have been confined to a few tragic episodes despite countless threats and failed attempts. The frequently expressed charges of unilateralism directed against the United States are unfounded, both because they are false and because the United States possesses a full moral and legal right to proceed unilaterally if it wishes to do so.

A very senior member of Britain's government told me in the summer that there would be no particular problem dealing with Iraq if the operation were led by Russia or China, but that the power of the United States worried people.

I am afraid that this is the core of the problem. There is no doubt that if the Iraqi government does not credibly and unreservedly renounce weapons of mass destruction and the support of terrorism outside its own borders, the United States and like-minded countries will be completely justified in resorting to military measures to achieve these goals. They would render the world a great service in doing so.

It is impossible for me to identify any other reason for the posture of apparent neutrality between the United States and Iraq of many Europeans than envy. We have heard the endless repetition of the mantra that the United States "cannot go it alone." Of course it can, if it chooses to. It doesn't need the assistance of anyone in dealing with Iraq, other than for staging areas to off-load personnel and equipment. The United States is not asking anyone to fight its battles for it.

It is specious to demand, as some have, that for any action to be undertaken against Iraq, it must be proved that Iraq was involved in the September 11 outrages, by means as rigorous as those that would be required in a U.S. criminal court.

This is not a referendum on American fast food or Hollywood. Though, incidentally, in such a referendum, the people of the world vote with their feet and their wallets, whatever any of us, or the more vociferous critics of American popular culture may think of it.

If Europe wishes to be more powerful, it should become more politically coherent, take the measures necessary to pursue economic growth, cease to disparage the Anglo-American economic model as inhumane, and make the investment in military capability that would earn them the audience they now claim by virtue of, in some cases, I am afraid, confected self-righteousness.

Lord Black is chairman of Hollinger International Inc. and the founder of this newspaper. This is excerpted from his remarks in the House of Lords (Nov. 28).

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy

1 posted on 12/05/2002 7:51:14 AM PST by veronica
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To: veronica

2 posted on 12/05/2002 7:58:08 AM PST by Aaron_A
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To: veronica
Well said. He truncates a couple of stupid arguments.
3 posted on 12/05/2002 8:17:48 AM PST by anatolfz
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To: veronica
Good 'ol Conrad. He always writes, and thinks, clearly and succinctly.
4 posted on 12/05/2002 8:54:55 AM PST by canuck_conservative
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To: veronica
Thanks for this excellent article.

The United States has not been an appeasement power and no country has directly attacked it since (Pearl Harbor.) Instead, in their evil and cowardice, the enemies of the West have tried to conceal their identity, while massacring innocent people and exploiting the spirit of envy that afflicts some of America's ostensible allies.

And this summarizes THE point of our position and upcoming actions against Iraq and other "evil-doers."

5 posted on 12/05/2002 8:55:57 AM PST by toddst
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To: Thud
6 posted on 12/05/2002 10:27:02 AM PST by Dark Wing
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