Friday, December 15, 2006

Why I Have Not Been Against The War

I am not now nor have I been against the United States’ involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. That puts me at odds with most of my libertarian brethren, and in the same league as the likes of Larry Elder. Although I am a strong advocate of limited government and individual liberty, I cannot pretend that our nation exists in a vacuum.

Isolationism has its attractions, there is no doubt. During the ‘90’s, I saw the allure of it as our greatest enemy was no more and we became entangled in U.N. “humanitarian” angles that cost us blood and treasure but saw no one any benefit. I count the U.N. action led by the U.S. to remove Iraq from Kuwait in this messy period. For the record, my initial thought with our current invasion and occupation of Iraq is that it’s something we should technically have never been involved in. We were operating under the assumption that we were the world’s policeman and that through the U.N. we could make everyone play nice. We had no idea what we were getting into and although I would certainly offer every ounce of my support to the poor ground pounders that had to fight that run, I wasn’t too keen on back H.W. Bush’s machinations.

In these actions, I agree with my good friend Mike Kole that we should’ve heeded Washington’s warning against becoming involved in foreign entanglements. We were, under an idealist non-leader of a President, engaged in feel-good police actions, assuming despots and tyrants would understand that because the paternalistic U.S. (under the U.N.) said something, they must do it. Well, the world never worked that way and it certainly still doesn’t. Most of the world only understands the language of war and those same feel-good policies made the U.S. look weak in their eyes.

Should we have cared? Normally, I might have said no, but 9/11 proved to me that we should not be so complacent. It wasn’t the start, just the waking up to what we had so blindly ignored for all those years, even through the 70’s and 80’s. Iran was fomenting world Islamic revolution with an odd combination of Marxist-Islamic apocalyptic thought. Al-Qaeda and to a lesser extent the other Sunni states (Syria, Arabia, Egypt, etc.) were all working to establish their own influence through a relic fascist-Islamic system. This is the basis for Palestinian terrorism that has flowed from that region. The European states, weak though they are due to the internal decay of socialism and atrophied militaries, still seek an edge against the United States. Russia fights to retain its importance while still trying to stick its proverbial finger in our eye whenever it can. And the inscrutable China has quietly been building an economic and military machine for its own reasons, not the least of which will require the economic and/or military collapse of the United States.

We ignored these threats at our peril. We still ignore most of them. If we were Paraguay or Kenya or even Luxembourg, the machinations of all these countries would mean little. But we are the United States of America, an economic juggernaut and the world’s current remaining Superpower. That means if any of the above entities want to see their dreams come to fruition, they must first get past our nation. That paints a big target on our back and 9/11 was the first noticeable dart in the ring.

We cannot ignore or avoid these threats. We can either appease them or defeat them. There is no compromise that I can see nor is any desired. Eventually, war had to be the answer. Historically, we should have known. When a rival comes at you spoiling for a fight, you rarely can talk them out of it. You either kneel and accept your fate or make sure you get in the first punch.

I want to see us get in the first punch. We haven’t even begun to face the myriad of threats to the future of this country, but we have stepped right in the middle of the hornet’s nest of the Islamic radicals, both those who used fascism as their base model and those who used Marxist-Leninist ideals. We cannot disengage, nor were we ever really disengaged. We have been engaged since Hezbollah blew up our Marines in ’83 and we are suffering for their victory to this day. What is necessary is for the United States to break the will of those who seek to do us harm and if the Islamic radicals that we fight have one thing in abundance, it’s will (one could say the same of the Chinese). That may require perception, or just straight-out fear, but it is possible short of glassing over the region. Most of that region understands power and might and they understand those who have the will to use it. They must be made to know that the United States is not to be trifled with and that they are slowly learning, either in this life or in the next.

I don’t pretend to be a national policy expert or a general or even one of the guys fighting and dieing on the front lines of this conflict, but I do try to understand what I can of it. What I understand is, Democrat or Republican or Libertarian, it doesn’t matter. Politics really does stop at the water’s edge. My stance on how our government is at best a necessary evil inside our borders is unchanged, but one of its basic functions is to protect us and sometimes it’s had to go outside our borders to do it. This is one of those times. Economically and militarily, government has to provide the tools to beat our foes and that’s why I can’t turn against the choice to go and fight in Iraq or anywhere else for that matter.

We may have started as simply a resolution to a failed U.N. endeavor from the early ‘90’s, but in Iraq and Afghanistan we have a chance to turn at least some of the tide in this region. We will never solve its problems or quench its hatred and intolerance of others, but we might redirect it, at least away from us and our allies. That is worth the attempt and we have the might to do it.

Victory should not be a dirty word.


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