From “Tell the Truth” by Thomas L. Friedman:
Tell people the truth. Saddam does not threaten us today. He can be deterred. Taking him out is a war of choice — but it's a legitimate choice. It's because he is undermining the U.N., it's because if left alone he will seek weapons that will threaten all his neighbors, it's because you believe the people of Iraq deserve to be liberated from his tyranny, and it's because you intend to help Iraqis create a progressive state that could stimulate reform in the Arab/Muslim world, so that this region won't keep churning out angry young people who are attracted to radical Islam and are the real weapons of mass destruction.From “The Protestors: Right for the Wrong Reasons” by Amos Oz:
That's the case for war — and it will require years of occupying Iraq and a simultaneous effort to defuse the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to create a regional context for success. If done right, such a war could shrink Al Qaeda's influence — but Al Qaeda is a separate enemy that will have to be fought separately, and will remain a threat even if Saddam is ousted.
And I do object to an Iraq invasion — because I feel that extremist Islam can be stopped only by moderate Islam, and extremist Arab nationalism can be curbed only by moderate Arab nationalism. America, Europe and the moderate Arab states must work to weaken Saddam Hussein's despicable regime — but they should do so by helping those who would topple it from within.
An American war against Iraq, even if it ended in victory, is liable to heighten the sense of affront, humiliation, hatred and desire for vengeance that much of the world feels toward the United States. It threatens to arouse a wave of fanaticism with the power to undermine the very existence of moderate governments in the Middle East and beyond. This pending war is already splitting the alliance of democratic states and cracking the ramshackle edifice of the United Nations and its institutions. Ultimately, this will benefit only the violent and fanatical forces menacing the peace of the world.
Moreover, no one — not even America's intelligence agencies — can predict what will emerge when the lid is lifted on Iraq. No one can foresee the severity of the killing, the danger of the doomsday weapons, or the validity of the fear that in a battered and crumbling Iraq 5 or 10 Osama bin Ladens will emerge to take Saddam Hussein's place.
The protesters have it wrong: this war campaign does not emanate from oil lust or from colonialist appetite. It emanates primarily from a simplistic rectitude that aspires to uproot evil by force. But the evil of Saddam Hussein's regime, like the evil of Osama bin Laden, is deeply and extensively rooted in vast expanses of poverty, despair and humiliation. Perhaps it is even more deeply rooted in the terrible, raging envy that America has aroused for many years — not only in countries of the third world, but also in the broad boulevards of European society.
"People hate Saddam Hussein," the diplomat [Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the British ambassador] said. "But people hate war more than they hate Saddam Hussein."
-from "U.S. Seeks 9 Votes From U.N. Council to Confront Iraq" by Steven R. Weisman with Felicity Barringer
People volunteer as human shields in Iraq as a protest for peace. One piece of the article:
The shields stress that they came to protect civilians and not to support the Iraqi government, but the Iraqis inevitably blur such distinctions.From “Power and Leadership: The Real Meaning of Iraq” (editorial):
One American peace advocate recalled a typical march where the Westerners were chanting antiwar slogans and were suddenly joined by dozens of Iraqis hoisting pictures of Mr. Hussein. "It changed the spirit of the march," said a recent college graduate who is one of the volunteers. "That wasn't what we expected."
Saddam Hussein is nobody's hero in this story. Although many Americans are puzzled about why the Bush administration chose to pick this fight now, it's not surprising that in the wake of Sept. 11, the president would want to make the world safer, and that one of his top priorities would be eliminating Iraq's ability to create biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. Of all the military powers in the world, Iraq is the one that has twice invaded its neighbors without provocation and that has used chemical weapons both on its military foes and some of its own restive people. North Korea may be a greater danger, but North Korea has not been told by the United Nations to disarm and stay disarmed. And, although the administration is careful to steer clear of this argument, the very fact that North Korea has the international community in a bind is a cautionary tale for making sure that no other despotic governments run by irrational adventurers get hold of nuclear arms.Various other interesting editorials:
- “The Martial Plan” by Paul Krugman
- “A Last Chance to Stop Iraq” by Kenneth M. Pollack
- “Fear on the Home Front” by Bill Keller
- “Hitler on the Nile” by Nicholas D. Kristof
- “War for Peace? It Worked in My Country” by José Ramos-Horta
February 24, Andrew Sullivan writes:
The Times outdid itself yesterday, running a viciously anti-American op-ed by one Regis Debray. It contained every supercilious canard about American crudeness, religiosity, lack of sophistication that the old Marxist European left has now learned to deploy. The slurs were as sickening as they were shallow. But that's not news. What's news is that Debray was absurdly identified by the Times as "a former adviser to President Francois Mitterrand of France, editor of Cahiers de Mediologie and the author of the forthcoming 'The God That Prevailed.'". I say absurdly because Debray is far better known as an old communist, a supporter of political violence, an unabashed admirer of Fidel Castro, and a guerrilla fighter alongside Che Guevara. His hatred of the United States even led him to defend Milosevic and Serbian genocide in the late 1990s. He's a Pinter with blood on his hands. Isn't this relevant information? Did the Times know this and decide to ignore it? Or were they simply clueless and eager to run any specious anti-American doggerel they could get their hands on?And from Lileks’s fisking of Debray:
Whence this paradox: the new world of President Bush, postmodern in its technology, seems premodern in its values.
Somewhere in a Republican Guard bunker, the hard men confess: they have heard rumors that the US will use postmodern weapons! Missiles that dissolve context! High-powered electronic beams that underscore the relationship between power and culture! Rockets that can destroy the legitimacy of the authorial voice within a two-mile radius!
In all, an interesting piece about the war, in a radical-theoretician sort of way. It’s just peculiar that he could write about the war and forget one word that sums up not post- or pre-modern values, but the eternal values of power and cruelty: Saddam.
Yes, yes, Saddam is appalling on a practical level, as are all dictators; nothing new. But America is appalling on a philosophical level, and that’s much more interesting.
Don’t you think?