Wrong War, Wrong Time

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u2018My
country, right or wrong' is a thing no patriot would ever think
of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying u2018My mother,
drunk or sober.'

~
G.K. Chesterton

If
you oppose this war in Iraq, brace yourself for some nasty insults.

Some
us have learned we are "chicken," in addition to being
"unpatriotic," of course, and "unwilling to learn
from history" and unable to see that Saddam is another "Hitler."
This leads to "anti-Semitic" (we don't love Israel enough),
and after that, perhaps even "anti-Christian."

The
hyperbole is atmospheric, but you really have to wonder who won't
learn from history: the architects of this war or those who oppose
it.

The
“Great” War

Let's
go back to World War I, known as “The Great War” before
World War II, where the first near irreparable lurch away from the
old Republic began.

We
lost nearly 65,000 men in that one. Yet today, viewed through the
sobering, dispassionate lens of history, no serious historian argues
that America was defending its national security. No one says that
American intervention stopped the Kaiser from marching on Washington
or a dark night from descending over Europe.

So
why were we there?

That
leads to World War II.

An
historian recently observed that had America not intervened in World
War I to defeat Germany, the syphilitic Austrian corporal would
have remained a failed and ignored artist, and Soviet Communism
would have remained only a febrile dream. In short, no World War
II.

Instead,
we intervened and wound up with the "The Good War": nearly
300,000 Americans and 61 million others dead across the world, Soviet
hegemony over Catholic Europe, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, the
birth of American empire.

The
Waste

Now,
a few points about war: It's wasteful, diverting financial and human
resources, which could build a better and just society, toward killing
and death. And many combat veterans believe likewise.

Yes,
we admire men such as Alvin York and Eddie Rickenbacker, or Audie
Murphy and Joe Foss. But our admiration and awe regardless, another
observation:

The
liberals always lament criminals who use their alleged brain power
for evil. "John Gotti could have made a great corporate executive!"
they say. It's a dubious argument, but another one isn't. How much
better would society be if the ambitious, intelligent young Americans
we send to West Point expended their energies outside the Army.

You
don't have to be a pacifist to believe war is a waste.

Yes,
we need professional soldiers. And sometimes, to defend ourselves,
we must go to war.

This
War Is Wrong

But
not now; not in Iraq.

We
aren't defending ourselves. This war is the logical outcome of an
imperial foreign policy that not only seeks global domination, both
militarily and economically, but also inextricably entangles us
in the Middle East's internecine warfare. France and the rest of
the world are not angry with America because they "hate"
us. They are angry because they believe we are misusing our considerable
power.

Saying
these things doesn't mean those of use opposed to this war don't
wish our soldiers well, or pray for their safety. It doesn't mean
their bravery does not inspire us. It doesn't mean we are unpatriotic
cowards.

Chesterton
had it right. An honest man doesn't defend his mother when she's
drunk, and he doesn't defend his country when it's wrong.

March
24, 2003

Syndicated
columnist R. Cort Kirkwood [send
him mail
] is managing editor of the Daily News-Record
in Harrisonburg, Va.


     

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