The better among us fight for peace
I am a 21-year-old college student, home for the summer, and I am concerned about the anti-war, anti-President Bush, and even anti-American views so often presented in the letters to the editor and the columns in this newspaper.
The philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote, “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”
Yes, those who make and keep us free are indeed the better men. Men like my grandfather have known war and have fought courageously; they were willing and even glad to do this for the country they loved and for the future it secured for their families. Today, good men and women like this are keeping watch over the many lesser men and women who protest the war in Iraq, disparage President Bush and praise Michael Moore.
War is not its own end. President Bush and his administration desire peace, a truer peace than those who oppose the war can envision. They have a more realistic perspective concerning the most effective means to achieving that peace than do the Utopian pacifists, who desire peace but cannot see that in the real world, lasting peace demands sacrifice. It is easy enough to sit on the sidelines and heckle President Bush when you are not the one responsible for the lives and the future of a nation.
Many of those who oppose the war demonstrate obvious inconsistencies with their responses to previous administrations. They will pursue any means they can find or fabricate in an attempt to influence the results of the upcoming election, even if this means inventing bizarre and inconsistent arguments.
President Bush leads our nation in a just war against terror and is barraged with the angry responses of his critics. Why did these same people not protest when former President Clinton invaded Bosnia and Haiti? Many in our nation are outraged as President Bush works for a much-needed regime change in Iraq; why didn’t they oppose former President Clinton when he imposed regime change in Serbia? The same people who expressed anger with President Bush’s decision to bomb terrorist camps didn’t object when former President Clinton bombed the Chinese embassy.
President Bush has liberated 25 million from a genocidal dictator, and the very people who initially voted for the war suddenly oppose him and our actions in Iraq. President Bush claims that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction and that there was a tie between Saddam and al-Qaida (a claim Mr. Putin and Mr. Allawi defend). Have the people disputing these claims already forgotten that former President Clinton made the same claims and called for this very regime change? Now, President Bush is taking action, and many Americans are furious. The double standard should be apparent.
Many other arguments against the war are fallacious and unfounded. These arguments rest on false claims about oil, assumptions concerning President Bush’s underlying motives, or even far-fetched conspiracy theories. However, Saddam’s regime of terror, his known support of terrorist organizations, and the resulting threat to the United States render these weak arguments utterly inconsequential.
The kind of evil that dehumanizes and delights in torture and terror had to be stopped. Saddam and his sons have now been removed from power, and it is in the best interest of the United States to continue to ensure that terrorist activities cease and a stable democracy succeeds in Iraq.
War is an ugly thing, but it cannot be considered uglier than the mass murder of innocent Iraqis. It cannot be considered uglier than the attack on America which reduced the Twin Towers to rubble and claimed the lives of more than 3,000. Those who oppose the war in Iraq on the basis of inconsistent arguments or specious sophistry are no friends of America, and they are no friends of truth, justice and freedom. It is crucial that we stay the course, continuing our efforts to fight against terrorism so that we may win a real and lasting peace.
Mr. Ackerman [The Union’s publisher], thank you for your opinion piece on Michael Moore and for your courage against the onslaught of critical letters you receive. There are many in Nevada County who appreciate your work at The Union and in this county.
Sarah Palmer was raised in Nevada County and currently attends college in the Boston area, where she is majoring in violin performance.
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