Saturday, November 13, 2004

Developing Morality in War

I just finished reading William F. Buckley's novel, Nuremberg. The book revolved around the life of a German family who emigrated to America, but with only partial success. But the book had additional considerations and historical events worth their own review. One of those was the claim by Hermann Goering, that the International Court convened to try him and the other leading Nazis, lacked legal jurisdiction and authority. The thing is, had Germany not surrendered unconditionally, he might have been right, as German Law did not present any authority for leading government officials to be tried, ex post facto, for crimes defined after their capture. It made the judgment and summary execution of leading Nazis in Nuremberg appear no more legitimate than the judgment and summary execution of captured Allied officers by, say, Japan during the War. The fact that Germany surrendered unconditionally, however, allows for some doubt, since it can be argued that the unconditional surrender allowed for the total and permanent dissolution of the German and Japanese Governments, even to their right to exist, which is supported by the rebuilding of those nations under new regimes, even with new Constitutions.

I am not saying, by any means, that there was no valid reason to try the Nazis for what they did during the Second World War. But it is important to realize that the world changed in the years between 1939 and 1945, enough that old definitions had to be replaced to deal with new conditions. Carpet bombing, the development and use of Atomic bombs, occupation and redirection of previously sovereign nations had to be addressed as actions taken by the Allied forces. Conspiracy and execution of Genocide, Slavery and Rape on a national scale, and unforseen atrocities like organized Cannibalism and deliberate Decapitation as Official Policy, were Axis offenses which had to be considered and addressed. One reason given by a number of WW2 vets for not talking much about their experiences, is that a number of those experiences were too ghastly for the friends and family they knew before the War.

Critics on the Left have spoken out about the morality of the War in Iraq. Certainly, it is wise to discuss a war in detail, rather than casually accept an event which will affect the lives of so many, and which causes so much death and destruction. However, it is not right to ignore the conditions making the war necessary, or to apply old conditions to a situation not suited to them.

When we discuss the War in Iraq, the first obvious topic is WMD. A lot of people on the Left now say, that because we have not (yet) found WMD stockpiles, that the war was wrong. First off, that claim ignores the smuggling of unknown materials across the border to Iran and Syria before the war, during the time Bush was working with the United Nations and negotiating to get Saddam to step down. You know, that delay of several months that the Democrats ignored while claiming he "rushed to war". Also, considering how unstable the country is, the very real possibility that there are WMD stockpiles, which just haven't been found yet. But even granting the absence of WMD, the other reasons for going to war were right, and with what we have discovered since, the war is not a thing we should feel guilty about.

The arguments for and against the war have been done so many times, that I will not dwell on them, but to consider three critical points:

1. Iraq now has a government with the potential to become a full-fledged Democratic Republic, which would stabilize that country better than anytime before in its history. This is not only valuable to the 25 million Iraqis, but also to every nation which has to deal with it. returning to Germany, consider the many wars between Prussia/Germany and her European allies before World War 2, and the stable relationships since. This is the possible future for Iraq, which is also good for everyone in the region.

2. Iraq was a harbor and home for more than a dozen major terrorist organizations before the U.S. invasion, including Carlos the Jackal, Abu Nidal, and Abu Abbas. Despite claims that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, the fact is clear that only by wiping out these terrorist organizations could the U.S. proceed with the War on Terror. And yes, in case you were wondering, that's why all thsoe terrorists in Iraq are fighting us. When we clear them out of Iraq, it's going to get a lot harder to be a terrorist.

3. When you separate all the noise from the facts, we really did not know that 9/11 was coming, not even the day before. General rumblings were enough to cause concern, but the world really was different. We cannot go back to where we were on September 10. While debate is still very right and necessary, pre-emptive War cannot be rejected for the reasons used in the old wars. We need to find the threats to our nation, and remove them. There is a natural friction against it, and a point where it is not even feasible to be done, but where there is a need and the means exist, we must consider the option of pre-emptive attack on unstable nations.

The War in Iraq has cost over a thousand lives of American Soldiers. That is reason to question its worth. However, the claims that "Bush Lied" (or, as if it was somehow less offensive, "misled") simply don't hold up logically. Since the President knew the U.S. would win in Iraq, it follows that he knew any statements he made would be reviewed in the light of that time, it is simply ludicrous to believe that President Bush would make statements (and defend them) which he knew would not hold up later. I mention this, only to show that many on the Left need to explain the morality of their own claims and arguments.

As we approach the second term of President Bush, the War in Iraq is evolving into a new phase. The one point we should be able to agree on now, is that this war should be resolved as quickly and thoroughly as possible. And that means no more hindering of the plans in place by law. The President clearly won the election, and the Republicans made gains in both the House and Senate. The mandate now, certainly includes letting the war be run as it is planned by the men and women in charge. Anything else, and the Liberals are more immoral than any claim they have made about the President so far.

1 comment:

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