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October 08, 2002

Bombing on General Principles

From The Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, 6 December 1904

It is not merely unwise, it is contemptible, for a nation, as for an individual, to use high-sounding language to proclaim its purposes, or to take positions which are ridiculous if unsupported by potential force, and then to refuse to provide this force. If there is no intention of providing and keeping the force necessary to back up a strong attitude, then it is far better not to assume such an attitude.

The steady aim of this Nation, as of all enlightened nations, should be to strive to bring ever nearer the day when there shall prevail throughout the world the peace of justice. There are kinds of peace which are highly undesirable, which are in the long run as destructive as any war. Tyrants and oppressors have many times made a wilderness and called it peace. Many times peoples who were slothful or timid or shortsighted, who had been enervated by ease or by luxury, or misled by false teachings, have shrunk in unmanly fashion from doing duty that was stern and that needed self-sacrifice, and have sought to hide from their own minds their shortcomings, their ignoble motives, by calling them love of peace. The peace of tyrannous terror, the peace of craven weakness, the peace of injustice, all these should be shunned as we shun unrighteous war. The goal to set before us as a nation, the goal which should be set before all mankind, is the attainment of the peace of justice, of the peace which comes when each nation is not merely safe-guarded in its own rights, but scrupulously recognizes and performs its duty toward others. Generally peace tells for righteousness; but if there is conflict between the two, then our fealty is due first to the cause of righteousness. Unrighteous wars are common, and unrighteous peace is rare; but both should be shunned. The right of freedom and the responsibility for the exercise of that right can not be divorced. One of our great poets has well and finely said that freedom is not a gift that tarries long in the hands of cowards. Neither does it tarry long in the hands of those too slothful, too dishonest, or too unintelligent to exercise it. The eternal vigilance which is the price of liberty must be exercised, sometimes to guard against outside foes; although of course far more often to guard against our own selfish or thoughtless shortcomings.

Yep, it's an Imperialist statement, made by an Imperialist president just after the birth of the American empire. So what? Many on the Left seem to think that the obvious and most convincing argument against a war on Iraq is call it Imperialism and let it go at that. For the Left, "Imperialism" is a convenient shorthand that encapsulates everything bad that America has ever done, an argument which saves them from actually learning the messy details of history. It's rattled off without thinking by the same people who claim that Bush is a moron, and that the whole goal of our presence in the Middle East for the Moron-in-chief's administration is a continued supply of cheap oil.

Are they right? It is true? I don't give a shit if it is right or true.

I don't give a shit if Bush is a drooling moron run by corporate interests or a puppet with Dick Cheney's hand stuck up his ass, wiggling his fingers to make George's mouth move. I don't care if the only reason we invade Iraq is to ensure Exxon's corporate profits. That's not the point.

I don't care what France has to say, or China, or Russia, or Germany. That's not the point either.

I don't care if Saddam is a threat to us or not. I don't care if Saddam has nuclear weapons, anthrax, smallpox, or just a largish pointy stick in his arsenal. We should be bombing him on general principles, those general principles being the ones at the beginning of the Declaration of Independence;

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

The Left opposes that bombing because when it boils down to it the Left doesn't give two shits about the little brown people of the world. It's all very well and good to talk the talk about universal human rights, but in actual practice the Left would rather innocents die than to take the actions needed to prevent those deaths. That is why so many would rather see five innocent Iraqis slain at the hand of Saddam Hussein than to have one accidently killed by U.S.armaments. The Left opposes a war on Iraq because the Right proposes it, regardless of the fact that this is the best chance we've had for generations at inserting the ideals the Left claims to value the most into a region of the world known mainly for the oppression of its peoples in the name of religion, where women are second class citizens and where freedom of speech is limited to demonizing the opponents of the government. If the regimes in Iran and Iraq were run respectively by Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, then Wiccans for Peace, Lesbian Atheists United and Vegans Against Illiteracy would be lining up to go free the poor benighted Iraqis from the shackles of Christendom. They don't do it now, of course, because they'll be shot, just like the people they purport to champion.

Opponents of a war on Iraq feel that because no actor on this stage has a pure enough motive, then no one should be allowed to act. Our motives for bombing Iraq may well be racist and immoral. This bothers me not one whit. Opposing the bombing is more racist and immoral. I don't care if you think your ideals are as pure as the driven snow, the end result of them would be to extend the suffering of the Iraqi people. Saddam is evil. Even people who go out in search of a less evil Saddam fail to find him. Saddam is a scourge, a murderous cancer on the Iraqi people. He has killed thousands, if not millions. He will go on spreading death until stopped, and heretofore nothing has stopped him.

The arguments made against action in Iraq now are identical to the those made against action in Afghanistan last year, and are just as likely to stop action now as they did then. Now that they have proven to be spurious, now that we have a chance to promote American Ideals in a poor and benighted country, where is the Left? Where are the people organizing concerts for Afghanistan? Where are the activists demanding free medicine for Afghani children, or demonstrating for relaxed trade controls on Afghani goods? Where are the people demanding that the U.S. work toward democratic rule in that nation? Where in the mainstream of the Left are the people who should in good conscience be demanding that now that we control Afghanistan, we take steps to ensure the inalienable rights of the Afghanis?

They can't be bothered. The Left makes moral demands but lacks a moral compass, and so lacks direction and consistency, and I say this as a person who has leaned Left more often than not. They have shrunk in unmanly fashion from doing duty that was stern and that needed self-sacrifice, and have sought to hide from their own minds their shortcomings, their ignoble motives, by calling them love of peace. In choosing not to fight for their principles, the Left has inadvertently exposed the fact that they have no principles worth fighting for. This can only mean one thing.

The Left is dead.

Posted by Bigwig at October 8, 2002 03:50 PM | TrackBack
Postscript:
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
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