At least get your story straight!

COMMENTARY Civil Society

At least get your story straight!

Mar 4th, 2003 4 min read

Visiting Fellow

Since the anti-war movement has made such great efforts to spew their "give peace a chance" propaganda, you would think they would have taken a little more time to fine-tune their message.

It ought to make sense. It ought to be hard to disprove. And it ought to at least have a chance of being true. Since America is being subjected to endless array of television debates, coverage of "peace protests," etc., it would be helpful if someone could actually cook up a decent story about why we shouldn't blow Saddam to smithereens.

Just think about the various claims of the war protesters:

  1. "It's about oil." Makes no sense. If it were about oil, we'd have Robert Zoellick, the U.S. Trade Representative, in Baghdad right now negotiating a deal with Saddam Hussein. It would be far cheaper - in terms of money and lives - to bribe him to undermine the world oil market than to go to war with him for oil.
  2. "It's about imperialism." Easily disproved. Just take a look at Kuwait, most of Europe (including France), South Korea, Grenada, Panama, and any number of other countries. As I recall, the U.S. was involved in battles for freedom in all of these places and they have all maintained their national sovereignty … precisely because of our involvement.
  3. "It's about Israel." No chance, although it does point up the unfortunate nexus between the various Israel-haters and the anti-war movement. Never mind that Israel, alone among the states of the Middle East, embraces the democracy the anti-war protestors pretend to hold so dear. Never mind that Israel, which sustained missile attacks from Iraq in the Gulf War and probably will be bombed again, has more to lose than any country - even the United States and Iraq - should war break out.
  4. Or that old standby, "It's about the United Nations and building multilateral support and the fact that inspections are working." They're working? Really? Then, where are the 25,000 liters of anthrax? The 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin? The 500 tons of mustard, sarin and VX nerve gas? The 30,000 medium- and long-range missiles? We know Iraq had these weapons capable of killing millions of people. We know Iraq was supposed to account for them. We know this hasn't happened. The process the United Nations has imposed has failed us, and if our friends in France and Russia can't appreciate the life-or-death nature of this struggle, then we go without them.
  5. Which leaves, "Going to war would compromise our moral position in the world." This is the line promoted by Not In Our Name, the anti-war group funded by some of our more politically minded movie stars, among others, and sketched out in the organization's "statements of conscience" manifestos published as ads in the New York Times.

Those manifestos equate the horror of the Sept. 11 attacks to the United States removing Manuel Noriega (who had turned Panama into a narcotics cartel that preyed on America's youth) to our standing up to communist imperialism in Vietnam and to our refusal to let Iraq conquer another sovereign nation - Kuwait - in 1991. We "earned" the enmity of Osama bin Laden and his foot soldiers with our arrogance, they say. We "deserved" what we got.

And now? "We won't stand by and let our government commit horrendous acts around the world," said oh-so-sanctimonious Not In Our Name spokesman Miles Solay on "The O'Reilly Factor" TV program recently. "We're holding responsible our government for perpetrating violence." Well, by his "logic," you can hold me responsible for the assassination of JFK. I was 2 years old and nowhere near Dallas that day, but such details don't seem to matter when Solay and his ilk are doling out blame. And I seem to remember the Kuwaitis celebrating and thanking us profusely when we liberated them in 1991.

It's not that there are no meaningful arguments against going to war. And it's not that there are no principled people in the anti-war movement. A few seem genuinely distressed about the unarguable fact that if war begins, innocent people on both sides will die. However, the vast majority of the vocal "anti-war" protestors (i.e., Mike Farrell, Janeane Garafalo, Martin Sheen) use arguments that are less rooted in principle and more rooted in finding a reason to rip President Bush and make themselves look smart.

In general, I hate war. But I hate more the fact that there is a madman in power who tortures children, cuts out the tongues of those who speak against him, commits mass-murder against ethnic groups, uses his own people as guinea pigs in chemical weapons trials, violates peace treaties, condones the torture of Olympians who don't do well, brutalizes and murders family members, and stockpiles enough chemical and biological weapons to obliterate millions of innocent people.

No, it's not about oil, it's not about imperialism, et al. It's about saving lives, freeing an oppressed people and ridding the world of another Hitler.

Reprinted with the permission of the internet newspaper

Rebecca Hagelin is a vice president of the Heritage Foundation, a research and educational think-tank whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values and a strong national defense. She is also the former vice president of communications for WorldNetDaily and her 60-second radio commentaries can be heard on the Salem Communications Network.