March 13, 2003

Exploitation of the Word

Oriana Fallaci, the transplanted (to NYC) Italian jounalist, talks of war, Blair, Saddam, WWII, and our "enemies" in Europe in this opinionjournal.com piece today. Old enough to remember the liberation of Europe by the Allies, she expresses her loathing for war, but refutes the "war is never the answer" crowd:

Every book I have written overflows with that loathing, and I cannot bear the sight of guns. At the same time, however, I don't accept the principle, or should I say the slogan, that "All wars are unjust, illegitimate." The war against Hitler and Mussolini and Hirohito was just, was legitimate. The Risorgimento wars that my ancestors fought against the invaders of Italy were just, were legitimate. And so was the war of independence that Americans fought against Britain. So are the wars (or revolutions) which happen to regain dignity, freedom. I do not believe in vile acquittals, phony appeasements, easy forgiveness. Even less, in the exploitation or the blackmail of the word Peace. When peace stands for surrender, fear, loss of dignity and freedom, it is no longer peace. It's suicide.

It is that "exploitation of the word" that we are seeing so much of now from what I will call the "anti-Bush" antiwar crowd. That is, the subset of the antiwar movement who oppose the liberation of Iraq but have no viable alternative to propose to enforce 1441 (or any other U.N. pronouncement). Their opposition to military action seems no deeper than their political partisanship, (or in the case of "Old Europe", their knee-jerk need to restrain American power, or undermine a projected American "success"). If it were, we would recall having heard from them during one or more of the various non-U.N. sanctioned military involvements by Bill Clinton during the 90's. Andrew Sullivan points out the similarities of the Bush and Clinton Iraq policies in this recent article. The differences are matters of circumstances and "follow through". Derided as having a disastrous diplomatic record, Bush has actually performed admirably on the international stage. An excerpt from the Sullivan piece (read it all):

But again, this schmooze comparison is also overblown. Bush has spent many hours cultivating world leaders. How do you explain, for example, his remarkable relationship with Tony Blair - an ideological and personal opposite? Or the hours and hours Bush spent bringing Vladimir Putin around on NATO expansion and the end of the ABM Treaty? Or the equally impressive relationship with Pakistan's Musharraf - a relationship that last week delivered the biggest victory against al Qaeda since the liberation of Afghanistan? As for diplomacy, few would argue that Madeleine Albright is a more credible figure than Colin Powell. And last December's 15-0 U.N. Resolution against Saddam was a huge diplomatic coup for the White House. It is hardly the Americans' fault if the French and Russians simply refuse to enforce the plain meaning of the resolution they previously signed.

The status quo in Iraq is not "peace". Opponents of the U.S. liberation of Iraq, from France to the Pope to Sheryl Crow, have hijacked the word, and try to associate it somehow with the policy that they favor. That policy, no matter how they dress it up, leaves Saddam in power and maintains a status quo of death, oppression, and torture.

Posted by dan at March 13, 2003 5:10 PM