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Why We Must Fight
NRO (National Review Online) ^ | 03/11/2003 | William J. Bennett

Posted on 03/11/2003 5:58:31 AM PST by mattdono

Why We Must Fight
Lincoln lessons

By William J. Bennett

Last month, millions of demonstrators across the globe protested on behalf of "human rights." Their marches, slogans, placards, and speeches did not declaim against Saddam Hussein, did not cite the human-rights reports detailing his tyranny and torture, did not take account the plaints of Iraqis fortunate enough to live in exile. Rather, they protested the U.S. and the U.K. and their efforts to topple Hussein and liberate Iraq. Now, we are seeing more television advertisements along these lines, and even a "virtual march on Washington."

Just after the celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birthday, it is appropriate to remember his lament: "The world has never had a good definition of the word 'liberty.'" With Hussein flouting international law, and President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair attempting to enforce it, portrayals of Bush as Adolf Hitler — as we saw and heard in the "human-rights" protests — betray an ignorance of liberty, an ignorance of right and wrong, an ignorance of commonsense. Because Bush and Blair are putting together a coalition of countries to oust Hussein, they are labeled the warmongers and tyrants. We live in a confusing time indeed.

Lincoln described liberty by a useful analogy: "The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep's throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as a liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty." Lincoln made it clear who the sheep was and who the wolf was. It is equally important to recognize who the liberator is. Those who march against the U.S. and the U.K. today, those who condemn Bush and Blair and remain silent when it comes to Hussein, are in league with the wolf's view that the shepherds are destroying liberty. The people of Iraq will soon know what Afghanis know. The true wolf was devouring Afghanis, the true shepherd saved them.

It is worth remembering what those in the former Soviet republics know and what the anti-American Western street has forgotten: It was, and is, U.S. and British resolve that truly liberates the oppressed and that defends the lives and liberties of the free against the appetites and ill-will of the world's dictators.

In 1998 President Bill Clinton stated, "What if he [Hussein] fails to comply [with disarmament] and we fail to act? He will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then go right on building up his arsenal. Someday, someway, I guarantee you, he'll use that arsenal." Last year, former Vice President Al Gore stated, "[W]e know that he [Hussein] has stored away secret supplies of biological weapons and chemical weapons throughout his country." It is not President Bush who woke up one day to discover that Hussein was making and harvesting weapons of mass destruction. Yet it is Bush who is blamed for doing something about it. Hussein may be mad, but he is not a scientist. He does not collect chemical and biological weapons for mere pleasure and intrigue. Just ask the survivors of Halabja. So when Hussein acts, it will be Bush and America who are blamed for inaction, for appeasement. We will be liable for such blame because we are the only ones who can do something about it.

We are not at war with Muslims or Arabs around the world; we are at war with some Muslim and Arab leaders who misinterpret their religion and put a primacy on war over peace and slavery over freedom. But among the leadership in the world's moral democracies there is no misinterpretation, and nowhere is that more true than in the case of the U.S. This is not a new role for us, but is a unique role we proudly inherit as the world's liberator. As Wolf Blitzer has pointed out, "Over the past two decades, almost every time U.S. military forces have been called into action to risk their lives and limbs, it's been on behalf of Muslims....[T]o assist the Afghan mujahaddin...during the Soviet invasion in the 1980s, to liberate Kuwait following the Iraqi invasion of 1990, to help Somali Muslims suffering at the hands of a warlord in Mogadishu, to help Muslims first in Bosnia and then in Kosovo who faced a Serb onslaught, and more recently to liberate Afghanistan from its Taliban and al Qaeda rulers."

Those who protest against the U.S. just now are legatees of those who protested against the U.S. in the 1980s, when we fought the focus of evil then, the Soviet Union. But ask a former Soviet, or East Berliner, if he is better off now than he was, say, fifteen years ago. Ask a Nicaraguan. Ask a Bosnian Muslim. U.S. resolve can be thanked for all that, even as those who protested our defense and military postures marched in favor of appeasement. Indeed, we live in a strange time when the anti-nuclear movement and its leaders of yesterday can today suggest a course of inaction such that Hussein will be able join North Korea in becoming a nuclear power. The only logical conclusion one can reach is that for the protestors today, weapons in the hands of the U.S. are to be met with outrage while weapons in the hands of Hussein are to be met with silence.

We seek to liberate Iraq today, not only because for Hussein "[t]orture is not a method of last resort in Iraq, it is often the method of first resort," according to Kenneth Pollack, President Clinton's director of Gulf Affairs at the National Security Council. We seek to liberate Iraq because after September 11, 2001 we were put on notice. We were put on notice that the civilized can no longer live in a bubble and hope for the best. We were put on notice that there are fanatics and tyrants who want nothing from us but our death. And this notice requires action: the action of the brave, the action of the unthanked, the action of the free.

In Iraq as in other contemporary situations, the responsibility to act has been ours because the ability has been ours. The responsibility has been ours because oppressed people look to us for their deliverance. There is a duty in being the nation that Abraham Lincoln, speaking of our Declaration of Independence, called "a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of re-appearing tyranny and oppression." That is who we happen to be. And it is an honor.


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: fighting; iraq; williamjbennett

1 posted on 03/11/2003 5:58:31 AM PST by mattdono
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To: mattdono
We seek to liberate Iraq because after September 11, 2001 we were put on notice. We were put on notice that the civilized can no longer live in a bubble and hope for the best. We were put on notice that there are fanatics and tyrants who want nothing from us but our death. And this notice requires action: the action of the brave, the action of the unthanked, the action of the free.

That last sentence made the hair on my neck stand up. God bless our troops. Damn those who don't support them.

2 posted on 03/11/2003 6:00:22 AM PST by mattdono
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To: mattdono
bttt
3 posted on 03/11/2003 6:08:23 AM PST by aBootes
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To: mattdono
Bennett has discarded any pretense that this war is about anything short of Wilsonian liberalism. I am not sure why the mainstream right will not disown this line of thinking, but it's distinctly not conservative or libertarian thought.
4 posted on 03/11/2003 7:47:50 AM PST by JohnGalt
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To: JohnGalt; Poohbah
As John Stossel would say, "Give me a break!"

Nobody has not proposed alternatives that do NOT have the appearance of appeasement, which has its own pitfalls - SERIOUS pitfalls, I might add. Appeasement (namely, pulling out and ending aid to Israel and other allies) is NOT an option. Unfortunately, that is what ANSWER, Ron Paul, and others are offering.

The only alternative comes from those you like to deride as practicing "Wilsonian liberalism." In essence, we have to go in and change the regimes that are currently hostile. Tough job? Yes. But we were the victims of an unprovked and dastardly attack. You know what we did the LAST time that happened. Well, we're going to have to do it again.

Anything else will convince the enemies we face that we are weak, and that, sir, is how wars start. An aggressor thinks the price of his aggression will be cheap.
5 posted on 03/11/2003 12:44:19 PM PST by hchutch ("Last suckers crossed, Syndicate shot'em up" - Ice-T, "I'm Your Pusher")
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To: hchutch
I find it fascinating that the ones who scream the loudest about preserving America's sovereignty are the first to demand that we give up our sovereign right to affiliate ourselves with nations like Israel because the Arabs don't like us doing that.
6 posted on 03/11/2003 12:47:40 PM PST by Poohbah (Beware the fury of a patient man -- John Dryden)
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To: hchutch
You are making the case for war, albeit with an over reliance on emotion and capital letter, that mainstream Conservatives should be making. This war is about making an example of Saddam, an uppity Arab, and send a message to other Arab nations that they better get their own house in order.

However, its clear that the neo-cons and the Bush administration are not making this case-- witness the latest talking points that refer to how poorly Saddam treats his people as reason to go to war. Just because they are your allies on this one issue, I suggest not selling your principals to them.

Appeasement? This is silliness; you want France to appease the United States, but when they don't they are called cowards. You say that pulling out of the Middle East is not an option, but offer no reason as to why you create this (false)choice. I can only surmise at this point that the war frenzy has negated the need for logical and rational debate so any cheerleader, even from Kaiser Bill (Bennett) is welcomed.

7 posted on 03/11/2003 12:51:31 PM PST by JohnGalt
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To: JohnGalt; Poohbah
But it is NOT making an example of Saddam, it in ensuring he cannot harm the United States of America or its citizens directly (through acquiring weapons of mass destruction) or indirectly (through funding terrorist groups).

Saddam Hussein is merely item two on the agenda, behind dealing with al-Qaeda. There is, in my opinion, a fair deal of circumstantial evidence point to an Iraqi role in 9/11. There are meetings we DO know about between Iraq and al-Qaeda, meetings that the Secretary of State mentioned to the UN last month.

To call what Ron Paul and others advocate appeasement is not silliness, it is the truth. It hurts, but that is what it is. The only rational course of action is victory. That has been clear since 9:04 AM on September 11, 2001, once it was clear that what was happening at the World Trade Center was an unprovoked attack on the United States of America.
8 posted on 03/11/2003 1:16:00 PM PST by hchutch ("Last suckers crossed, Syndicate shot'em up" - Ice-T, "I'm Your Pusher")
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To: hchutch
After Munich 1938, put in order the countries that invaded Czechoslovakia:

1) Poland
2) Germany
3) Hungary
9 posted on 03/11/2003 1:16:48 PM PST by JohnGalt
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To: hchutch
What is your definition of appeasement?


No Western intelligence agency has been able to link al-Qaeda to Iraq in regards to 9/11 or anything else. If you are privy to this information, please provide your President with it post haste so he can stop relying on Wilsonian arguments to justify American involvement. Circumstantial evidence, perhaps, exists, but Christians do not go around killing people based on such things.

There are two position as far as I can tell between the conservatives and the liberals:

The Conservative position
1) Too much intervention led to terrorism.

The Wilsonian liberals position
2) Not enough intervention (we should have taken out Saddam in 1991) led to terrorism.

Both are, I guess, defensible positions, but one is conservative the other liberal, and yes it does matter. Since you have repudiated the only Conservative argument for war with Iraq, perhaps you would be more at home at the New Republic website?

I tend to take the libertarian position that 9/11 was a result of the CIA not taking care of loose ends after the Cold War and a grossly incompetent trillion dollar central intelligence apparatus (not one high level resignation after 9/11) coupled with a disarmed public.






10 posted on 03/11/2003 1:31:56 PM PST by JohnGalt
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To: JohnGalt
Germany.
11 posted on 03/11/2003 1:32:51 PM PST by hchutch ("Last suckers crossed, Syndicate shot'em up" - Ice-T, "I'm Your Pusher")
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To: hchutch
Wrong, but you revealed what I already suspected.

Though I am being a smart-ass, might be a good idea to drop reference to Munich or the 1930s in general unless you know what you are talking about. You have a defensible position, you just need some better tactics.
12 posted on 03/11/2003 1:38:37 PM PST by JohnGalt
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Whomever says this war is indefensible... needs to look in mirror and Thank G. they are an American...
13 posted on 03/11/2003 1:41:37 PM PST by dakine
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To: JohnGalt
You really are terrified that President Bush might be a success and set back your libertarian dreams of conquest, aren't you!
14 posted on 03/11/2003 1:47:54 PM PST by Redleg Duke (Stir the pot...don't let anything settle to the bottom where the lawyers can feed off of it!)
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To: JohnGalt
Excuse me, we had 3,000 people killed when four airliners were turned into ad hoc cruise missiles.

We KNOW some of these folks were also asking about crop-dusters. Now, what might a terrorist use a cropduster for? I can think of two items: Chemical weapons or biological weapons. Hit a stadium with a major league baseball or football game, and you'll easily top the 9/11 death toll. You might even top the death toll of Anitetam, considered the bloodiest day in American history.

Saddam Hussein has the type of track record that makes it impossible for me in good conscience, to support any policy that leaves the risk in place that he might give chemical or biological weapons to a terrorist group.

Quite frankly, your position is morally indefensible. You're trusting the likes of Saddam Hussein with the lives of tens of thousands of American citizens. The most charitable word for such thinking is naive.
15 posted on 03/11/2003 1:49:28 PM PST by hchutch ("Last suckers crossed, Syndicate shot'em up" - Ice-T, "I'm Your Pusher")
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To: mattdono
Cause this rightiously has Saddam's and all of Iran and Iraq's wacko muslim OBL cohorts names on it.


16 posted on 03/11/2003 1:52:39 PM PST by TaRaRaBoomDeAyGoreLostToday!
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To: hchutch
Where did I say I trusted Saddam?

It was none other than Rumsfield and James Baker who said we could trust Saddam back in the eighties. I guess they still think they are fit to comment on foreign policy even after such disasters that have cost the country trillions of dollars and so many lives.

I guess I just don't but into the boogeyman theory of history. You seem to be privy to a lot of evidence that the President doesn't have.
17 posted on 03/11/2003 1:58:00 PM PST by JohnGalt
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To: Redleg Duke
I find the center left-center right to be an unholy alliance.

Thats all.
18 posted on 03/11/2003 1:59:01 PM PST by JohnGalt
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To: JohnGalt
Am I privy to information? Where have I said that?

I'm just applying common sense based on what Saddam Hussein has done since the cease-fire that ended Desert Storm.

Something you seem to be unable to do.
19 posted on 03/11/2003 2:01:54 PM PST by hchutch ("Last suckers crossed, Syndicate shot'em up" - Ice-T, "I'm Your Pusher")
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To: hchutch
Are you suggesting that 9/11 was an unintended consequence of the First Gulf War?


20 posted on 03/11/2003 2:04:51 PM PST by JohnGalt
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To: JohnGalt
Your reasoning is little different than that of Nancy Pelosi or Ramsey Clark. Blame America First, is that it?
21 posted on 03/11/2003 2:07:46 PM PST by hchutch ("Last suckers crossed, Syndicate shot'em up" - Ice-T, "I'm Your Pusher")
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To: hchutch
Actually, it appears you are the Wilsonian liberal here; Pelosi and Clark are just playing politics, if a D was in charge, just think, you would all be in agreement!
22 posted on 03/11/2003 2:17:33 PM PST by JohnGalt
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To: JohnGalt
You're going back to the strawman of a "Wilsonian liberal" to duck the fact that the policy you advocate is nothing but appeasement, which was tried before, and which has failed before. There is no other word for it.
23 posted on 03/11/2003 2:21:36 PM PST by hchutch ("Last suckers crossed, Syndicate shot'em up" - Ice-T, "I'm Your Pusher")
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To: hchutch
Yes, it was tried by Reagan against the Soviet Union and it worked very well.

You are commenting on 'appeasement' as a reference to England and Frances relationship with Germany in the 1930s and yet you have already revealed on this thread that you know nothing about Munich.

I will bookmark this thread so that I can remind you that everytime you mention appeasement or make some reference to the 1930s, I can prove that you know nothing of what you are talking about.
24 posted on 03/11/2003 5:57:43 PM PST by JohnGalt
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To: hchutch
I call it deterence but if you wish to use a loaded term, fine, appeasment. Okay...you are still a Wilsonian liberal; why is so important for you to maintain the conservative title?
25 posted on 03/11/2003 6:15:11 PM PST by JohnGalt
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To: JohnGalt
Oh, and I will bookmark it as well, so your strawman claims of "Wilsonian liberal" are made equally clear.

You're using a straw man argument to distract people from the cold, hard truth that you are advocating appeasement. It is NOT what Reagan practiced by a long shot. Reagan rolled the Soviets back and waged what was, in essence, an undeclared economic war against the Soviets.

You're ducking the truth, and that does not reflect well on your position. Go ahead and try, and your "Wilsonian liberal" canard will be just as apparent.
26 posted on 03/11/2003 6:56:14 PM PST by hchutch ("Last suckers crossed, Syndicate shot'em up" - Ice-T, "I'm Your Pusher")
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To: hchutch
Can you explain what a straw man argument is?

Appeasement is a slander; deterrence is the word I prefer and Reagan practiced exactly that.

You knowledge, or lack there of, what happened at Munich and the months after reveal that you know very little about a word that you toss around. I suggest you turn off Fox News and read book, but what's the point, really?
27 posted on 03/12/2003 5:29:43 AM PST by JohnGalt
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To: JohnGalt; Poohbah; Dog; section9
But what is advocated by Libertarians is NOT deterrence. At the very least, it lets Saddam get away with defying the terms of the cease-fire signed in 1991. That's called appeasement in my book. Your efforts to paint it as deterrence are about as credible as Clinton's efforts to redefine the word "is" were in 1998.

Furthermore, you claim no connection between al-Qaeda and Iraq. Secretary of State Powell outlined meetings that occured last month. Which, of course, leads us to that little chat in Prague between Mohammed Atta and Iraqi intelligence agent Ahmed al-Ani.

The Czechs have stood by their claims that the meeting occured - and have strongly rebutted efforts by variuous media outlets, including the New York Times, to discredit the reports of that meeting.

Then, there is this place called Salman Pak, where there was a 707 used to train hijackers. Defectors reported the methods taught were similar to those reportedly used by the al-Qaeda hijacking teams on 9/11. Coincidence? I'm not willing to take the chance that it is. There are too many coincidences. Too many American lives are at stake if we make a bad guess.

Deterrence has not worked - it never did. Rolling back the state sponsors of terrorism will work, which is what Reagan did to the Soviets. He did not use deterrence. He took the offensive. He took them down before they could take us down. His objective was victory, not deterrence.

You, sir, do not understand what Reagan did. You do not understand what must be done now, or you lack the will to see it through. That's fine by me. Thankfully, people who DO know what MUST be done are in charge, and thankfully, the President listened to them, and not folks like you.

Truth is a defense to charges of slander. And calling your polict stance appeasement is the truth.
28 posted on 03/12/2003 6:32:23 AM PST by hchutch ("Last suckers crossed, Syndicate shot'em up" - Ice-T, "I'm Your Pusher")
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To: hchutch
If you are privy to evidence that would pass the indictment threshold, please get it to the CIA ASAP. Otherwise its just conjecture of the grassy knoll, Vince Foster kind. Sexy and intriguing, certianly worth investigating, but not really something you go to war over.

So violating a UN treaty is cause for war? Perhaps in the Wilsonian world view, but not mine.

Seeing that you toss the word appeasement around, but have proven that you know very little history, how can you use history to prove the success of a policy or not?
29 posted on 03/12/2003 6:50:21 AM PST by JohnGalt
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To: JohnGalt
What the hell is your standard of proof? Chicago vanishing in a mushroom cloud? Nerve gas attacks in NFL stadiums? How many American lives are you willing to sacrifice until there is your naive mind deciudes it's time to do something?
30 posted on 03/12/2003 7:01:39 AM PST by hchutch ("Last suckers crossed, Syndicate shot'em up" - Ice-T, "I'm Your Pusher")
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To: mattdono
Hey guys
I am a freshman who is writing her first high school research paper and I need some help. The topic I choose was why the United States should take military action in Iraq but I can't seem to find any articles that help give my opinions. I would need your suggestions by tomorrow (sorry...so if you could help me out that would be great! thanks
31 posted on 03/17/2003 3:45:58 PM PST by Daidalus
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