Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Iraq and the European opinion

A friend of mine who lives in Europe asked me my opinion of the problem with Iraq.
Even though she wanted to know if I thought we (the US) should go or not, she instead got an earful of bent up hostility against European countries.

Look, I started, America regularly stands between her allies and their aggressors; such heroics commonly fuel the American war engine. US intervention can be politically unpopular, but slothful isolationism (the easier choice) can be ethically immoral.

But my friend did not see why Americans would be angry with Europe when Europe so regularly stands beside American soldiers in efforts like Desert Storm and Afghanistan.

Look, I said, European countries cannot not support American activities once underway, it could be politically catastrophic for them to appear unsupportive of a successful campaign. So to see French, English and Italian troops along our sides is not something of comfort, just predictable.

As an aside, I want to apologize for mentioning England, who are reliably a friend to the United States, backing her even when evidence was not clearly on our side.

The European cowardice that resists standing with America prior to a conflict is the true problem. Politics presses involvement, but friendship presses support. To see your support on the field is one thing, to hear your support before the trigger is pulled – that is what is not happening today.

As threats point to other countries, America regularly stands in front of the gun for them. But today, the gun is at the United States and what country is standing up for us? Indeed, they appear to not be assuaged to act before the grievance is realized.

America is big enough to withstand an attack; however, America is not such the awesome power to prevent all existing threats. We can respond successfully, but prevention – rarely can we prevent so meaningfully.

Saddam has weapons that he cannot use. It doesn’t take a 5 year old to know that Saddam would love to attack the US, but we have humiliated his military to impotency. With no delivery mechanism, terrorists offer him an unusual promise.

Terrorists (who believe in a 40-virgin bonus if they kill Americans) would sop up Saddam’s juicy badness with the bread of zealot fervor. And why wouldn’t Saddam do it? His love for America? His concern for human life? His patronage of decency? Saddam kills his own people; no sense can be made that he would not treat his foes the same.

So, there’s the threat to America, Europe. What are you going to do?

Consider the frustrating, yet undeniable reality that terrorists are too many and to spread apart. Stopping them is a dream. Let me then ask you to consider injustice and poverty. If you are realistic, you know we shall have both until Jesus returns.

Does this mean we should not have police or judges? Does this mean we should protect the weak or help the poor? Indeed, we have a moral duty stand against injustice as well as the weak and poor.

So then, do terrorists win because they are not organized? Do men not have the moral duty to stand against social terror even when we will most likely fail?

Mortal questions are far from simple, and even farther from easy. Innocent Iraqis will dies if we attach, yet innocent Iraqis will dies if we do not. We may fail to prevent Saddam’s ultimate objective if we attack, but we will more likely fail if we do not attack. The world may hate us if we attack, but we may hate ourselves if we do not.

War may seem the easier choice, until you think.

So, my friend and I concluded, friendship would defend even against a threat, and our governments are not acting like friends, but let us not mistake our governments are not us. Our frustration to the powers that be will not transmute to each other.

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