Alpine Summit

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

VDH Is Awesome

Victor Davis Hanson adds his two cents on the Sheehan deal. I goes on to describe why the use of force is necessary and another angle on what's wrong with the positon liberals take on this war.

So yes, a brutal dictator who has murdered hundreds of thousands and is eager to achieve weapons to kill millions more should be eliminated, the suffering that he inflicts and that ruins our dinner stopped — but once the butcher's bill arrives, we change our minds. The same people who castigate us for allowing the slaughter in Rwanda and Sudan and a dozen other venues now chide us for insuring that such brutality stops in Iraq. They chafe at the unforeseen consequences, mistakes, and inadvertent death that always and everywhere has accompanied the use of force. How many tens of thousands died unnecessarily in World War II, the “good war,” because of such contingencies? The tragic truth of action is that we have to accept those risks and accept that to achieve a future good we often have to risk a present evil. The only alternative is never to use force, and pacifism is a juvenile ideal refuted on every page of history.

It would be nice if we could just go over and ask a despot to "play nice" and do the things we would like them to do and it would actually do some good. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way- it never has and it never will; but, we should still pursue such avenues first all the time. Even then, though, it's only by threat of force that makes despots lend an ear to our "requests." So, since injustice or evil is happening, if we wish to truly stop it, we can't just call on someone to do something- we actually have to do something! Sometimes doing something involves going to war. Going to war means life will get ugly and uncertain for a lot of people. It also means (hopefully) that, from that point on, the descendents of those people ad infinitum will live better lives for their suffering. Don't mistake that for a "somebody think of the children" comment. What I mean is that war- however ugly- solves problems once and for all. Either by the other side capitulating (WW2- Japan) or by attrition (WW2- Germany).

For liberals, the "injustice" is deposing a brutal murderer/dictator by force. Somehow that seems to me that the priorities of liberals are extremely skewed and their "justice compass" is WAY off. I've never heard a good reason why getting rid of Saddam was a bad thing- but somehow, it is.

The "reasons" I've heard previously have been emotional appeals: "x people have died already!" Which really isn't a good reason because it doesn't address the actual issue of why we went there in the first place. Another argument I hear a lot is: "There are so many other problems in the world- why don't we fix those first?" Again, not relevant because it doesn't address the current problems already there and it's implicitly advocating war elswhere... "anywhere but where we are" which is actually a good argument for liberals to make because it can be made regardless of what place in the world we decide to help.

VDH also talks about how "Casey Sheehan's mother" should not be afforded more ethos simply because her son died.

As much as we respect and sympathize with Ms. Sheehan's grief, then, we are under no obligation to respect her opinion about the necessity or justice of this war, or give it any more of a hearing than anybody else's. In fact, we should suspect that it reflects her understandable grief rather than any superior insight into the reasons for going to war. Those reasons should be debated and discussed through the political process, and they should reflect as much as possible fact and rational argument. Presenting those facts and arguments is the job of a responsible media. Unfortunately, exploiting suffering and indulging their political prejudices are often more important to the media than providing their fellow citizens with the resources needed to make the best decision.

I completely agree. The media plays this story up because all the left has to contest the war are emotional appeals and misdirection attempts.