Peace At What Price?

David Brooks has a scathing piece in The Weekly Standard on the peace movement. He makes the point that they seem to forget exactly why we’re fighting this war:

For example, on September 19, a group of peaceniks took out a full-page ad in the New York Times opposing the campaign in Afghanistan and a possible campaign in Iraq. Signatories included all the usual suspects: Jane Fonda, Edward Said, Barbara Ehrenreich, Tom Hayden, Gore Vidal, Ed Asner, and on and on. In the text of the ad, which runs to 15 paragraphs, Saddam Hussein is not mentioned. Weapons of mass destruction are not mentioned. The risks posed by terrorists and terror organizations are not mentioned. Instead there are vague sentiments, ethereally removed from the tensions before us today: "Nations have the right to determine their own destiny, free from military coercion by great powers. . . . In our name, the government has brought down a pall of repression over society. . . . We refuse to be party to these wars and we repudiate any inference that they are being waged in our name." The entire exercise is a picture perfect example of moral exhibitionism, by a group of people decadently refusing even to acknowledge the difficulties and tradeoffs that confront those who actually have to make decisions about policy.

This is a key point. Our reasons for going into Iraq have very little to do with grand moral principles and everything to do with pragmatic realism. Saddam poses a threat, and we can’t allow him to gain power that would allow him to transform the region. It’s a simple as that. We simply cannot allow for increase nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.

The anti-war movement is operating from a view that America must abide by a set of moral absolutes that make just about any kind of war wrong. As much as I’m in favor of moral absolutes, in this case, they just don’t work. In a perfect world, then yes, it would be wrong for states to go to war with each other. We don’t live in a perfect world.

There’s a big hole in Manhattan and 3,000 empty seats at the dinner table. Peace isn’t worth the price of risking a bigger radioactive hole in Manhattan and 700,000 dead or a biological attack that could kill even more. The price of war is high, but far less than the price of inaction.

2 thoughts on “Peace At What Price?

  1. Jay, this:

    The anti-war movement is operating from a view that America must abide by a set of moral absolutes that make just about any kind of war wrong

    is, like most of what makes up that entire absurd article, an absolutely absurd strawman generalization of those who oppose war in Iraq. Whether it’s right or wrong about a particular faction is actually immaterial. To argue that it represents the movement as a whole is the worst kind of nonsense, and you should know that.

  2. “To ask why we are in the Middle East may be a valid question, but to not support our troops and their families is not a valid answer.”
    “Where the dove’s not welcome, the eagle must go.” The sooner they get that message, the sooner the violence will cease.
    The United States was built on the primary foundation of three pillars: Peace, Liberty and Justice. Regretfully Liberty and Justice are obsolete in the absence of Peace.
    The initials of Proud stand for: Peace Reigns Only Under Defense, Because when the asailant realizes that the victim can defend themselves, the tables turn. By analogy if I am a thief and I think you might have a gun, I will think twice before I go into your home and if I know you have a gun,I probably won’t even consider going in.

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