Friday, March 18, 2011

Poor Old Saddam - How Could We Have Been So Mean?

A leftist friend of mine wrote this in response to my article "The Moral Sword" on Christians and preemptive war:
  • A better analogy is there is a man who in the past beat up his neighbors. His limbs were crippled and his weapons taken away. You suspect that he may have acquired new weapons. The police are currently searching him, but you can't wait for them to finish because you WANT to throw him from his wheelchair and beat him senseless. So that's exactly what you do. Then you have the audacity to claim that this is Christian behavior. Hiding behind the flag and hiding behind a cross doesn't change the fact that there was no moral or legal justification for Bush's war of choice in Iraq.

Seriously? He's comparing Sadaam Hussein to an injured man in a wheelchair? The same guy who slaughtered Shiites who attempted to revolt. The same guy who left ditches full of villagers who displeased him. The same guy who, had we not had armed aircraft flying cap over the Khurds, would cheerfully have slaughtered them as well?

If he was in a wheelchair, the man at the very least had an AK-47 laying across his lap. And he threw the police out. They couldn't search for anything. Why do you guys insist on painting that psychotic megalomaniac as though he were some poor mistreated, misunderstood humanitarian. If he could have gotten his hands on a nuke or two Saddam would have used them in a heartbeat. Everyone knew it and were scared he would; so much so that Democrats voted overwhelmingly to support President Bush's preemptive strike agains Hussein at the mere hint that he "might" be trying to get his hands on weapons grade uranium.

It's not like we wanted to hurt Iraqis. That's a major flaw in leftist rhetoric on the subject. They assume the Iraqis were loyal to Saddam Hussien. They weren't. They deserted in droves as soon as they knew we were coming. They danced in the streets as soon as Saddam got out of Dodge. When he was gone, we shut down the war and declared it over - perhaps a bit prematurely, but such was the desire to stop shooting at rank and file Iraqi people that we were prepared to risk stopping all out war (which is safer for our soldiers) so we could better avoid hurting innocents. It cost American lives to do so, but then, that's just the sort of people we are.

What people don't realize is that we dropped and fired more explosives and bullets than in WWI and WWII put together and didn't kill but a miniscule fraction of the people. We tried very hard not to hurt innocent people and our soldiers often were hurt or killed as a result of that reluctance.

As to our cruelty toward poor helpless Saddam Hussein, he deserved what he got. We should have gone all the way to Baghdad and strung him up the first time. A lot of innocent Iraqis would be alive now if we had and we wouldn't still be digging up mass graves in the Iraqi desert.

As Colin Powell said on visiting the site of a small village where Saddam's soldiers machine-gunned every man, woman and child because a teenager threw a rock at him, "We should have done this years ago."

I wasn't hiding behind anything in saying it was a hard decision.  It  is not a peculiarly Christian behavior -  conducting a war to stop a genocidal maniac like Saddam Hussein. There are other religions and philosophies that find his sort of behavior unacceptable too and condone the act of taking such a person down for the sake of others. The strong in many faiths are expected to protect the weak.

No audacity to it. I never said attacking another country something Christians routinely do as an act of faith. What I actually said was, "When someone acts like he has weapons of mass destruction, denies he has them, but has a history of outright lying about the subject, then "What do we do about it?" becomes a tougher question. On a personal level, that kind of situation requires a personal relationship with God and some coaching on His part to figure out the answer - and I've found that, in such situations, God does present the answers."

Translation: "Figuring out what is the right thing to do with evil despots is something you have to work out between yourself and God."

Liberals keep saying there was no moral or legal justification for the war in Iraq. There actually was. The original cease fire, which was still in effect, specified that weapons inspectors would be permitted inside Iraq to insure they were not building WMDs. It was clearly proven that Hussein was stalling, delaying and shuffling truckloads of stuff around the country in an attempt to keep inspectors from looking at it. After the war, scientists in his weapons program led soldiers to caches of materials he'd ordered buried in the desert. Weapons labs were uncovered (but not reported to the public) all over Iraq. AND Hussein threw out the inspectors completely, a clear violation of the treaty. We had a perfect legal right, according to the treaty to continue the earlier conflict. Hussein's treaty violations were in and of themselves an act of war and the treaty called for war to begin at the moment of those violations.
I love the Palestinian treaty logic - the kind where you sign a treaty and as soon as the Israelis stop blowing you up with tanks and planes, you lob some missiles over the border and then complain loudly when the Israelis shoot back.

The point of my earlier post was that what to do is a hard decision. The principle of turning the other cheek, which we do a lot of as Americans, and the powerful desire to right wrongs and defend the innocent, are usually in conflict. I made it pretty clear what I believe, but left the subject pretty open-ended.

If your philosophy is to "absorb" damage because you believe we somehow deserve it or because it is morally right to do so, us being bigger and stronger and somehow owe it to the less fortunate to let them crash planes into our skycrapers and set off bombs in public places and otherwise take out their frustrations on us, then it is absolutely your right to believe that is the right course of action.

All I was saying was that it's hard for Christians to stand by and watch wholesale murder. We certainly didn't like it in Yugoslavia (and it was Muslims being slaughtered there). I cheered when President Clinton stepped in to stop it. We didn't like it when the Hutus and Tutsis murdered each other or when warlords drafted child soldiers into their armies in Chad and the Sudan.

My question to my liberal and libertarian buddies is, "Should America intervene militarily to help the helpless or to depose evil dictators?"

___ No. It's none of our business!

___ Not if we think we can "control" the evil despot by smart diplomacy.

___ Yes. In all cases, even if it interferes with the rulers of a sovereign nation,

___ Only when the oppressed agree with us?

___ Only when the oppressed are nothing like us and, frankly hate our guts?

___ Only if the people being oppressed ask us to (even though how we find out what 'the people' might be somewhat problemtic)?

___ Only if they don't have any oil or anything valuable to sell us?

___ Only if they belong to a trade union?

___ Only if a Democrat is president?

Honestly, I wonder sometimes if liberal commenters actually read things before they post or do they merely press some kind of "talking points" button and phrases like "hiding behind the flag" and "no moral or legal justification" just spew out? I mean, I'm up for a discussion and the wheelchair story was at least an attempt to address the point with an analogy, albeit one that really doesn't fit. But wouldn't it be refreshing if they would speak to the text and not to what they think is behind the text or to what they assume some ignorant redneck tea-bagger like me probably said somewhere in that big old sea of text up there that they didn't want to have to actually read for comprehension.

Tom King

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