Our New War... Part 10
edited: Friday, January 14, 2005
By Hanley (Doc) Harding
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2003
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Is violence our only choice? Sadly, sometimes, yes...
Our New War -- Part 10 -- The Violence Question
Copyright 2003 by Hanley Doc Harding
All rights reserved by the author.
It would be nice to be able to reduce all decisions we humans make to a simple binary choice -- this, or that. Such a nicety, of course, resides in a longed-for world, where everything makes sense. But, in the world we all actually live in, very few have such a luxury. Yes, I said luxury. For, those people who live in freedom, protected from oppression by a strong military and a democratic government with strong resolve, are fortunate indeed to have such luxury. They are fortunate to be able to be at work, or be at leisure, in public or private, and to be able not only to disagree with governmental policy, but even have the luxury to not only criticize but even castigate, denigrate or satirize policies and the politicians who implement those policies. That is not only the most extravagant luxury of all, but, the very first luxury to be denied by oppressors.
And we Americans love our luxuries. We have used up more than our share of the world's resources to be able to have so very many expensive luxuries. And the luxury of the freedoms we enjoy is certainly the most expensive luxury of them all... paid for with the lives of our own citizens, and the lives of freedom-loving friends from all around the world who saw the American vision of freedom as a luxury worth paying for with their ultimate currency.
Luxury? you say. Surely, freedom is no luxury, but, rather, something craved for in the soul of every human being -- an inalienable right of every man, woman and child. Freedom, you argue, certainly cannot be equated with luxury. It is every human's right to be free... and so it is. But there are also many humans who will tell you that such an idea of freedom is not so... that people must be carefully managed and strictly controlled in order for a government to be able to function without hindrance. And there are those who simply say that they have the right to do with masses of people whatever they feel like doing, for their own personal benefit. Such people do not care to share the luxury of their freedoms with anyone else. And if anyone under their control should question such a decision, those questioners are soon suppressed in clever and/or hideously brutal ways.
So, one may ask, how are people who have been denied freedom -- or whose freedom has been forcibly taken from them -- to (re)gain it? They aren't allowed to discuss it. They aren't allowed to vote for it. They aren't allowed to demonstrate in public for it. They aren't allowed to write about it or make movies about it. There is only one way they can ever hope to get freedom. They must fight for it... and many of them will die so that the majority of the others will end up with the luxury of freedom -- a righteous luxury which is more expensive than any other on earth.
But there is a problem, here... just because a population wants freedom, and is willing to rise up and fight for that freedom, doesn't mean they have the means to overcome the force which will be used against them to deny their freedom. And so, such unfortunate people will remain enslaved... for what is life without freedom, but slavery?
And what could be an even greater cause -- above and beyond the laying of one's life upon the line to secure one's own country's freedom -- than to travel to a far-away place to volunteer to lay down one's life to help oppressed others gain their freedom? I say: none. And I say: those countries -- members of the U.N. Security Council -- who stand against the freedom of the people of Iraq and the democratic freedom of Muslims everywhere -- are hypocrites, for those nations have, in the past, either given their blood in the cause of freedom, or have been given our blood in that cause, or both. Those hypocrites have now stood against Muslim freedom for their own monetary gains. Such national slogans as: "Liberte, Fraternite, Egalite" ring hollow and false to the wailing souls of the tortured dead. The ultimate horror is not what such as Saddam Hussein have done to brutalize other human beings, but, rather, what hypocritical national governments have refused to do, to help those who are crying out for freedom. Or, worse yet, what those same hypocritical governments are continuing to do -- for money -- to enable such monsters as Saddam Hussein to continue to stay in power and continue to brutalize people. But, I digress...
Let me posit a situation to you... one which is repeated many times and in many places, daily, all over the world: Armed criminals commit violence and are pursued by the police. Shots are exchanged and the criminals are finally taken into custody, by force of violence. Did the police do wrong by using violence to bring violent criminals to justice? If an innocent bystander also is unfortunately killed in the process, did the police do wrong by using violence to bring the criminals to justice? Not many people would answer in the affirmative. Most would agree that it was imperative that the violent criminals be dealt with as expeditiously as possible. Not many would suggest that, since the criminal act was now in the past, the criminals should be allowed to remain free, on the chance that they would now change their ways and not harm anybody else. Such folly would soon lead to rampant crime in the streets, with law-abiding citizens demanding any and all possible actions -- on the part of law enforcement -- to stop the crime wave. If such logic applies to individual violent criminals who have harmed or killed individual citizens, then it applies, to an even greater degree, to criminals who have raped, tortured and murdered millions of people.
And so I shall conclude with some statements to those anti-war demonstrators who have the luxury of American Constitutional freedom (some of that freedom paid for by the lives of their own ancestors):
If you truly believe in your hearts that all violence is wrong and war should become extinct, then continue to carry that message to the entire world... for that message may be the eventual salvation of all humankind. And do not be duped into allying your efforts with those who are anarchists and/or who are attempting to tear down our nation by any and all means, such as those who beat up other Americans who may lose their jobs if they can't get to work through illegally blocked streets of rioters, and who deliberately prevent necessary services -- ambulances, fire trucks, police, garbage collection, public transportation and utilities -- from getting where they are needed.
But if you are one of those riotously demonstrating specifically against the U.S. effort in Iraq -- which most Americans truly wish will free the Iraqis from Saddam Hussein's evil -- then you are against freedom and for slavery, and are openly and actively supporting the torture and brutalization carried on daily by Saddam Hussein's hideous regime... and you are not true American citizens, but are openly-declared enemies of freedom for all humankind.
Freedom must continue to be paid for in lives because freedom-loving lives are being snuffed out every day by such evil men as Saddam Hussein. Well-meaning organizations, such as the defunct League of Nations and the fast-becoming-defunct United Nations are powerless against despotism, unless some are willing to pay for freedom with their lives.
Vietnam War veterans were spat upon and reviled and Korean War veterans have all but been forgotten. All our veterans should be treated with respect for putting their lives in harm's way for the United States of America.
Hanley "Doc" Harding
March 23, 2003
"Have courage and share it with others." Charles Bruni
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|Reviewed by m j hollingshead
|"Vietnam War veterans were spat upon and reviled and Korean War veterans have all but been forgotten. All our veterans should be treated with respect for putting their lives in harm's way for the United States of America. " and sadly enough the latest group of vets are learning this to be THEIR bitter truth.|
|Reviewed by Lawrance Lux
|Correct--but limited by failure to examine Our own ethical values in the process. I like your Son's view somewhat better: Aid must be viewed in the immediate, suffering corruption when extended to covering principle. I have been shot at, and even did some shooting in my time; I can't even say I disliked it. One has to question the Leadership always, for they are never doing anything, except for their own ends; most time terrible at best, evil being the norm. lgl|
|Reviewed by William Griffin (Reader)
|Is anyone concerned about Bush having WMDs beyond number in his hand, and the only decision about what to do with them rests with Bush and his god?|
|Reviewed by Joel Harding
|Dad, ya said it best. I do tend to take more of a Kearney-ism view of it, but no doubt, Saddam needs to be (and will be!) stopped. And the world will take heed of this and ponder it for a long time. The peace movement is being shown its ignorance on a daily basis by reports coming out of Iraq of citizen uprisings in Basra, the scenes of Iraqi people being given food and water by American and British troops, and the reports of what Saddam's regime is doing to our POW's. I am hoping Saddam paid in full the first night of the war and that he will go the way of Hitler... another forgotten loser whose pathetic remains were found in a burn pile by victorious Allied forces. The demonstrators and flag-burners are much like their ilk of yesteryear... a group of ill-led and ill-informed individuals whose only uniting bond is their hatred for this country and authority in general. While I admire those who truly wish for peace (although I think them naive), these are NOT the majority of the rif-raf seen on TV marching in the streets. I'll e-mail you soon. Love from Gitmo Bay, Cuba.|
|Reviewed by Claywoman
|Doc, I never spat on anyone in my life, and I cried with joy when they finally came home from somewhere they should never have been in the first place.
I've said in the past, Saddam is not a nice person, but this is not just a war about Suddam, this is a war for the control of oil for one thing, and for bringing our form of government into someplace that frankly, doesn't want it. So I cannot accept this war, I cannot in all good conscience, support a government that condones this war...
|Reviewed by Elizabeth Taylor (Reader)
|You've written a thoughtful article, and looked at some tough issues. I agree whole-heartedly. Long ago someone said to me that you can disagree all you want, but if you have no workable solutions to put in place what you want to tear down, you are nothing more than a complainer. Putting workable solutions to replace means you are a problem solver. Just trying makes a person a problem solver. I object mightily to complainers.
Extremely well written. Glad I stopped by.
|Reviewed by J Michael Kearney
|That's a very powerful statement Doc...extremely well written!
Of course, the real reason we're in Iraq has little to do with the liberation of Iraq, just as the military action in Afghanistan had little to do with liberating the Afghanis from the Taliban, for if the Taliban had handed over bin laden and his al Qaeda operatives and had Saddam been as compliant with the weapons inspectors as had South Africa, we'd have probably left both regimes in place and just kept a sharp eye on them.
The Afghanis openly harbored bin laden and al Qaeda after 9-11 and flaunted that fact, refusing to turn them over to America, just as Saddam has stalwartly refused to disarm and cease his WMDs projects.
Tony Blair has given a better defense of "the Bush Doctrine" than anyone, to date, when he admitted that the link between pan-Arabists, like Saddam and pan-Islamacists like bin Laden and Aidid are currently loose, but getting tighter every day.
We have little to fear that countries like Iraq, Iran, Syria, the Sudan and North Korea will go nuclear...those nations wouldn't openly risk annihilation, BUT they would certainly put such WMDs in the hands of terrorists like the Islamic Jihad and al Qaeda...and that is something America and Britain can never allow and that is why each of these nations, in turn, will have to be brought under control, either willingly, or by force.
Our future and our freedoms depend upon that.
Fine writing - A++++