God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen - Jars of Clay - listen now

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Should Iran Have Been First?

I came across and article from October, 2 2001, by Leonard Peikoff at The Ayn Rand Institute website. Hindsight being 20/20 - it seems he was prescient of the course the War on Terror would take.

I'm beginning to wonder if Afghanistan and Iraq were the proper first targets. Of course there is a strong argument to be made for deposing the Taliban and disrupting the main Al Qaeda hive. But was it right to go into Iraq next? I know that Sadaam was evil and having him out of power is not a bad thing, but was he a lynch pin in the global terror network? Mr. Peikoff asserts that Iran is the mother of all terrorists - and it's hard to argue with him.
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Many nations work to fill our body bags. But Iran, according to a State Department report of 1999, is "the most active state sponsor of terrorism," training and arming groups from all over the Mideast, including Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and Hezbollah. Nor is Iran's government now "moderating." Five months ago, the world's leading terrorist groups resolved to unite in a holy war against the U.S., which they called "a second Israel"; their meeting was held in Teheran. (Fox News, 9/16/01)
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Also, he makes the argument that our justification for the war doesn't need to be "freeing" people from their islamofascist dicatorships, but rather to assert our will to exist as a free and prosperous people and claim the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Self-defense is the only justification we need. Liberation and the spreading of democracy, while not bad things, need not be our primary goal.
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A proper war in self-defense is one fought without self-crippling restrictions placed on our commanders in the field. It must be fought with the most effective weapons we possess (a few weeks ago, Rumsfeld refused, correctly, to rule out nuclear weapons). And it must be fought in a manner that secures victory as quickly as possible and with the fewest U.S. casualties, regardless of the countless innocents caught in the line of fire. These innocents suffer and die because of the action of their own government in sponsoring the initiation of force against America. Their fate, therefore, is their government's moral responsibility. There is no way for our bullets to be aimed only at evil men.

The public understandably demands retaliation against Afghanistan. But in the wider context Afghanistan is insignificant. It is too devastated even to breed many fanatics. Since it is no more these days than a place to hide, its elimination would do little to end terrorism.

Terrorism is a specific disease, which can be treated only by a specific antidote. The nature of the disease (though not of its antidote) has been suggested by Serge Schmemann (NYT, 9/16/01). Our struggle now, he writes, is "not a struggle against a conventional guerrilla force, whose yearning for a national homeland or the satisfaction of some grievance could be satisfied or denied. The terrorists [on Tuesday] . . . issued no demands, no ultimatums. They did it solely out of grievance and hatred--hatred for the values cherished in the West as freedom, tolerance, prosperity, religious pluralism and universal suffrage, but abhorred by religious fundamentalists (and not only Muslim fundamentalists) as licentiousness, corruption, greed and apostasy."
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So, do we assert our God given right to exist? The choice is us or them, who will we choose?
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When should we act, if not now? If our appeasement has led to an escalation of disasters in the past, can it do otherwise in the future? Do we wait until our enemies master nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare?

The survival of America is at stake. The risk of a U.S. overreaction, therefore, is negligible. The only risk is underreaction.

The choice today is mass death in the United States or mass death in the terrorist nations. Our Commander-In-Chief must decide whether it is his duty to save Americans or the governments who conspire to kill them.
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