Friday, February 17, 2006

Why anti-war?...Part 1

Here is a recent exchange that occured on this site between myself and a commenter:

HIM: Suppose there was a president that invaded another country and you thought that this invasion was an illegal invasion. Ought you keep quiet under guise of supporting the troops, even though you and half of the country were convinced of the illegality of the invasion? And what if you thought that this invasion was only destabilizing the world climate causing an increased risk of attack? Would you remain quiet under such circumstances? If so, why?

ME: Dan, the minute I saw that my "dissent" was fueling our enemy's motivation to wage war...I absolutely would keep my mouth shut. Soldiers are dying, and some of them are dying because Ted Kennedy likened the war to Vietnam, or Michael Moore made a propaganda film. Things are hard enough in Iraq without half the country opposing the cause

HIM: Then we shall need to disagree on that matter, I'll dissent BECAUSE our soldiers are dying and because Bush's actions are causing it. I can do naught else. To not oppose an unjust and illegal war is in no uncertain terms, wrong, wrong, wrong. Evil. I wish Germans had stood opposed to Hitler in his day (not saying that Bush = Hitler, just that both were wrong and ought to have been opposed strongly.)

Trying to understand the anti-war crowd is quite a daunting task, but I think I've figured them out. I've heard all of the arguments. These people don't like war. People die and things are destroyed in war. It's not a good thing. I'm not arguing with that. In fact, there have only been a few humans in the history of man who have actually enjoyed war. So the debate isn't whether or not war is bad. The debate is whether or not war is necessary.

The reasons for going to war is a vast debate and should be covered in another post. But, regardless of the reasons, the outcome can't be denied. This is a war of liberation. Millions of people who once lived under the boot of tyranny now live in freedom. How can anyone say this is 'wrong' or 'evil'? My liberal friend said that if only the German people had spoken against Hitler, maybe things would be different. The problem is Hitler was ruthless and would have killed or imprisoned anyone who spoke against him. Plus, his was an army of conquest and not liberation, so the metaphor just doesn't fit. Allow me to propose one that's more accurate. Since my friend mentioned WW II, I'll use that. We were attacked surprisingly and unexpectedly. As a result, we confronted evil all over the world...not just those who attacked us. We fielded an army of liberation to set people free from tyranny. We took an offensive approach to immediately put our enemies on the defensive and keep them from attacking a second time. Sound familiar? Indeed, we are in an almost identical situation now...almost.

What would have happened if half of our country were opposed to our actions in the '40's? What if a former President or Vice President traveled to Paris amid the Nazis and called America tyrannical or accused it of "evil abuses"? What if people demonstrated on the streets after we attacked Germany, saying Roosevelt lied about Pearl Harbor, he should have known it was happening, the Germans never attacked us? Considering nearly half-a-million US soldiers died in that war, and that it took every ounce of strength we had to emerge victorious with 100% public support and the press printing GOOD news, does anyone think we would have won if the support was only 50%, or if the press was hyper-critical? Of course not. And I could argue that the enemy we face now is more determined, better funded, and much more ruthless than our enemies of the '40's. So how can we win the war on terror with our current national mindset?

The thought is quite disturbing. Which is why I've tried to understand why the Left is intent on opposing our efforts. Lenin had a term for people like this. He predicted that the Liberal, anti-conflict sect would weaken America if their voice became loud enough. He called them 'useful idiots' because he was depending on them to help HIS cause. His prediction is now looking more and more prophetic.

I respect the opinion of the Left, and to some extent I agree with them. American soldiers are dying, that IS tragic. However, the only thing more tragic is if they were to die in vain. After all, 50,000 of our brothers did so in Vietnam, largely due to the efforts of the anti-war protestors. I want this war to end, like everyone else, but NOT at the cost of defeat. We ARE at war, we can't change history. So the best outcome right now is for us to emerge victorious. I dare say, it will be difficult (but not impossible) for us to do that while half of this nation opposes our actions. I will propose my theory on why the Left opposes war in a later post. I have thought on this long and hard and I truly believe I've discovered the answer to this mystery.


Dan Trabue said...

So, did you answer my question: You would ALWAYS oppose criticizing wars even if you were opposed to the war and thought it wrong?

Just as you struggle with my position, I struggle with that. Who in their right mind doesn't strongly oppose an immoral war?

(And I'm not debating the merits of this Iraqi war, just trying to discern if there would ever be a time when you would oppose a war by your country.)

I find it hard to believe that you would not oppose a war you thought gravely wrong and seems to me with this post that you're still arguing the validity of this particular war. We disagree on that profoundly - but surely we agree that because wars are SO devastating and debilitating and horrible (as you suggested), that we must stand in opposition to unjust wars?

Dan Trabue said...

And I can answer for you why those of us against this war are opposed to it. It's pretty simple. For the most part, there are three reasons.

1. We're opposed to war in general. Like Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict, we question whether or not it is even possible to have a "Just War" in this modern age.

2. We're opposed to this war specifically. We think laws were broken and that this is an illegal invasion, a crime against peace and simply immoral. Iraq posed no threat to us and we had no legal nor moral justification for going to war. Further, we think that we were misled in order to get us in to this war.

3. EVEN IF this war were legal (which, as I said, we don't believe is supported by evidence) we don't believe it to be well-advised. We think we're creating a less-secure, not more-secure, world by this invasion.

So you see, three straightforward reasons and not one has to do with hating Bush or the Republicans. In varying degrees, these three reasons, I'd suggest, cover why 95% of those opposed to this war are opposed to it (I'm sure there are there out there who just hate republicans in general, but that is a tiny minority.)

Do these reasons correspond with your suspicions? I'd be interested in knowing.

Gayle said...

I think it's an excellent post and very good points you make here, John. I only disagree with you on one thing: I don't believe it's anywhere near "half" of the nation that disagrees with you. I believe the statistics are far lower than that.