We must act to stop killing of innocents
We should not be troubled about President Bush’s stance regarding Iraq. What we should be troubled about is why it took so long for this nation to wake up.
We spent years listening to “cooler heads.” We know all too well the tired litany of self-loathing and inaction: “Perhaps we should examine why they despise us?” After all, we are a civilized and enlightened people; perhaps we can reason with Saddam and Bin Laden. You know, chitchat, accommodate him. Our cultural elite warn us to not descend into their savagery – that talk, diplomacy and intellectual exchange will change their minds.
We have become a culture that refuses to accept the fact that evil exists in the world. Evil was something the world experienced generations ago, right? Surely our liberalism, enlightened, moral and cultural relativism has destroyed all vestiges of it. Far from it. Recent events remind us that our all too-thin veneer of civilization is ripe for the picking.
But let us speak the truth. Where do we get the nerve to suggest that we are immune from the evil that has plagued the world for thousands of years? We talk as if Hitler, Tojo, Mussolini, Stalin and Pol Pot never existed. Whether one cares to listen or not, the cries of millions of incinerated Jews, slaughtered Russians, Chinese and Cambodians call out to us. Simply put, every generation has been confronted with these demons and enemies of civilization, and only action with overwhelming force has put an end to it.
It does absolutely no good to think we have somehow deserved their hatred. We are hated not for anything we have done, but for what we are. We are a free people and believe in everything they hate: secular government, democratic principles, liberalism and tolerance, freedom for women, etc. After all, we bore the brunt of freeing Islamic Kuwait. Where were the moderate Arab states when we prevented the slaughter of the Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo?
Perhaps we are now the victims of a past administration that refused to face the hard, cold reality of the world condition, a government that did not act resolutely in the face of a long series of terrorist attacks and bombings. (Remember the USS Cole, the embassy in Kenya, etc.?) Just think for a moment what we the people looked like from 6,000 miles away when, while al Qaida was planning yet another atrocity, we were winking at a president who discussed the nature of his underwear with college kids, donned shades to play the saxophone, and made “oral sex” a household term. We have acted so naively that we practically invited the catastrophe that befell us 16 months ago.
Why Iraq and not North Korea? Perhaps 9/11 has a lot to do with it. You remember 9/11, don’t you? Let’s recap: 3,000 of us were not merely “lost.” They were butchered, slaughtered, incinerated, vaporized in horrible and painful ways that cannot even be imagined, all while Bin Laden, Saddam and other host states and their minions cheered, laughed and celebrated.
Who of us can forget the sight of people actually jumping from 80 stories up to escape the heat? The loss we suffered on 9/11 cannot be measured except in the most tragic terms. They killed whites, blacks and every color in between. Men, women, children, Christians and Jews were slaughtered alongside Muslims and agnostics. We all too often cannot fathom such losses. Perhaps Stalin was right when he said the death of one is tragic, of millions, a statistic.
In short, we must act now to stop the killing of the innocent. If we deem ourselves too thoughtful, too moral, too enlightened, we become accomplices to the evil by our own inaction. This generation, whether we like it or not, is confronted with yet another evil that threatens our very existence, an evil that demands our sacrifice and determination.
Robert J. DiLorenzo of Nevada City is an attorney at law.
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