The Therapy Sessions
Thursday, May 01, 2003
I don’t have a lot of respect for the “peace” movement.
There is nothing as pitiful as American or European pacifists. Hiding behind police and crouching behind established militaries, they claim to be non-violent.
It is blind cowardice.
The saddest among the pacifists are those who claim to their guidance from scripture. Jesus praised non-violence, didn’t He?
But Christ said many things. For example, He said that people who would follow Him should surrender their wealth.
But it is hard to give up one’s possessions. Being a pacifist is easy!
It is a cynical choice: proclaiming themselves to be non-violent, all the while knowing that they can call armed police to protect them and their homes at the first sign of trouble. How bold: proclaiming the moral purity of pacifism while protected by the world’s most advanced military!
Such people would do better to take themselves, their families and their silly ideas to a place like Liberia, where their safety is not secured by disciplined soldiers or police.
In societies where violent men imprison most of the populace, they would learn firsthand why some of our ancestors didn't consider struggling for freedom to be mere rhetorical flourish.
Such people are confused, but they are right when then say that non-violence can be an effective form of protest. It can be, provided it is used against a democratic country with a free press.
Ghandi’s non-violence worked against the British because the British had a conscience. They saw the injustice of colonialism, and they objected to it (and they made it known to their elected leaders). Ghandi may have been in India, but the battle he was fighting (non-violently, of course) was for the soul of the British people.
Martin Luther King’s protests would have been ineffective if America lacked a free press. People saw how ugly racism was, and this challenged people to look upon a corruption of America’s ideals.
Who knows how many Ghandis and Kings died in the gulags of the Soviet Union? Their speeches hushed, their writings destroyed, and their histories erased?
Without the freedom of speech, non-violence is pointless and dangerous. Violence has been the ONLY effective tool against oppression throughout history, and that will continue.
It is embarrassing to point out things that are so obvious. It is like telling a brilliant scientist that he’s wearing two different pairs of shoes.
Many in the “peace” movement consider themselves to be quite learned – and in many ways they are. Many are well -respected professors and clergy, but an advanced degree in Medieval Literature doesn’t teach you how to think. Living and working in the hermetically sealed world of academia doesn’t expose you to other viewpoints (though it should) and it doesn’t force you to vigorously defend your views (explaining your views to your students is a different thing entirely).
So, naturally, it is prudent to expect a cognitive train wreck when these people turn their keen intellects to US foreign policy.
Amazing feats of inflated self-righteousness were on display in the recent Iraq war.
Such displays are to be expected from Hollywood. There, people are trite. In considering questions of war and peace, no one says: “Hey, let’s ask the guy who played Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High!”
But we should expect more from our “intellectuals.”
Many of these people believed that Saddam was bad (usually admitted with an obligatory, passive sigh), but war was worse. Such people have good intentions, but they view any absence of war as being equivalent to their peace: the peace that Americans have grown used to (and naively believe that rest of the world shares with us). A peace that is secured by a professional military.
The grim truth of Iraq’s pre-war “peace” is now apparent. Iraqis are overjoyed to be done with Saddam Hussein and his brutality, because Hussein was quietly waging war on his own people. We are now seeing the hidden dungeons, the children’s prisons, and mass graves filled with broken bodies. Not satisfied with the industrial efficiency of Hitler or Stalin, Saddam’s men glorified murder, making it as ghastly as possible. Tongues were sliced out, children were dismembered on mother’s doorsteps, daughters were raped with knives, and parents were dissolved in acid while children watched. People who spoke out were ground in machines used to shred plastic and their remains were sent to their families as warnings.
These stories didn’t come out of the mind of some demented novelist. They came out of the mouths of the survivors.
These people do not wince painfully when some simpleton describes the regime as evil. They nod in agreement.
The war lasted three weeks and left the country intact. Saddam’s rule spanned three decades and nearly destroyed it.
It is here that we ask the learned professor: which was worse?
The peace movement does do some good. They constantly expose us to the horrors of war. Anyone who supported this war has to be able to look at the photos of maimed civilians and fallen soldiers. They need to look closely and memorize those faces. The pictures should haunt them, waking them up in the middle of the night.
But they should get up the next morning knowing that war is still justified. Why doesn't anyone have to justify peace?
I think it is about time. Turnabout is fair play.
In post World War II Germany, Americans marched townspeople through the concentration camps so that they could witness Nazi evil.
It should be this way also with the “peace” movement.
“Not in your name” were the prisons opened and the tortured freed. You marched for Saddam’s peace and kept your hands clean. Now it is your turn to have nightmares. Genocide occurred because fighting evil was beneath you, because you, like the Germans, did not want to get involved.
Maybe this war wasn’t done in your name.
But I am glad I can say it was done in mine.
I’m sure many of them will wake up and go about their business, convinced that a war fought by the US is always wrong, that America should not meddle in the affairs of others – a new isolationism for the 21st century.
But they will be opposed by other Americans, who are not morally troubled by opposing tyranny.