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IRAQ: War and peace

The two extreme US positions on the Middle East are represented by John Wonder and David Krieger. Tim Brown leans toward the former: "In my view military intervention is always a last resort, but can never be an excluded when all else fails. I do not agree with the concept of "peace at any price" implicit in Mr. Kreiger's comments because sometimes the price is simply too high.

For example, today we can buy peace from Al Qaida and possibly even the fundamentalist Islamic movement as a whole by withdrawing our presence from the Middle East, reversing our support for Israel and embracing the Palestinians, not opposing Iraq's programs of developing weapons of mass destruction, and accepting as unobjectionable Iran's support for terrorism. I consider that price too high, but it 's probably the lowest price they would accept to back off attacking us.

We have faces many other challenges in years past when we could have bought peace by paying prices demanded of us, and have chosen instead to fight. During the 80 year run international Marxist made at establishing world dominance for its ideology, we could have bought peace by surrendering our freedoms and our democratic system in favor of a Communist system. During World War II we could have pacified Hitler by not opposing his conquests of other nations or his racial purification programs. On the cusp of the American Civil War we could have avoided war be letting Southern states secede and allowing our country to be split into two nation-states. Every one of these events and many more took place during "a difficult time for peace" when people of good will were trying to avoid war. But when the price of peace proved simply too high, we went to war. In my opinion, our decisions in each of those cases were not, as David Kreiger derisively labels them "rooted in arrogance." They were rooted in the need to defend ourcore values against those who had decides to try to take them away from us. That's not arrogance, it's self-defense.

As to the US campaign "to secure global military dominance" he fears, the language he uses clearly says that in his view the US has consciously adopted a plan to dominate the world militarily and is putting it into effect. But no such plan exists. What does exist has happened by default not design. Yes, the US has become military superiority, but we would much rather have shared its costs with our allies, especially those who have been perfectly able technologically and financially of keeping up with us such as Germany, France, the UK, Italy, and Japan. But, with full knowledge that their decisions not to keep up would result in their military establishments falling behind, they made conscious political choices to spend their money on welfare programs instead. That was their right. It is also the preferred alternative of most of the American liberal left, but they have not prevailed in the political debate. Our allies made their choices, and so did we. When faced with the alternatives of either forgoing advances in military technology or stayiong behind with our allies, we chose to advance. That made us more powerful, yes. Bot by default not design. While negative cases are always hard to make, when I compare the number of American servicemen and women killed in the Gulf War, Kosovo and Afghanistan with the number who died in Vietnam, Korea and World War II, I believe that decision has saved thousands if not tens of thousands of American live, and others.

As to international law, since it doesn't exist we can't undermine it. The only way it can become the world's dominant international paradigm is for us to surrender our sovereignty to the UN and make it the world's government which, interestingly, has been the openly declared objective of several groups on the international left who have asked me to join them. My problem was that, while they agree the Cold War is over, they all think the wrong side won, and I do not".

My comment: This is a hard statement, with which many will disagree. As for the Civil War, there is evidence that had the North not been so provocative in its approach, it could have been avoided, as it was in Brazil. While the shortcomings of the UN are obvious, Tim overstates the dangers implicit in it. The view that international law does not exist is an American one.

Ronald Hilton - 8/8/02