Five Years Ago …

Many people have changed their mind about the decision to attack Iraq a few years ago. As the number of casualties rises, and the media talks about the lack of progress, I wonder how long things can continue as they have been. But look back a few years. Remember the events surrounding September 11th, the reports about WMD, and all the emotions involved? I recall that most Americans were for the conflict at the time. On February 13, 2002, columnist Michael Kelly wrote an article that well represents what we were thinking.

I would argue that Bush’s new doctrine is as good as doctrine generally gets—necessary and workable, although not perfect. The chief points for the “axis of evil” doctrine may be seen in considering the chief points against it:

• It is “simplisme.” It is simplistic, or simple-minded, as the French foreign minister, whose name is Petain or Maginot or something, sniffed last week. C’est vrai. It is indeed “simplisme” to pick fights with evil regimes just because those regimes want to kill you or enslave you or at least force you to knuckle under and collaborate in their evil, when one might choose the far safer and far more profitable path of shrugging one’s shoulders in a fetchingly Gallic fashion and sending one’s Jews off to the camps, as one’s new masters in government request.

On the other hand, as the foreign minister might have noticed, the French may today enjoy springtime in Paris without the annoying sounds of jackboots all over the place, and the reason for that was the simple-minded determination of the British, the Russians and the Americans to fight the Nazis and to die by the millions, in order to make the world safe for, among other creatures, future French foreign ministers. “Simplisme” works. Against evil, it is the only thing that does.

• It is a confusion between war and police work. This argument holds that terrorism is a crime (as opposed to the official belligerence of a state) and that the terrorist groups we wish to destroy are criminal enterprises (as opposed to states), so war (which is between states) is wrongheaded. Yes, terrorists are criminals. But they are, in specific cases, state-sanctioned and -supported. The specific cases involve, as Bush noted, the states of Iraq, Iran and North Korea. The state support of terrorism vastly magnifies its threat. Without the Taliban and Afghanistan, al Qaeda would have been an evil without a country — fundamentally vulnerable, weak, baseless. Terrorists supported and hidden by nations enjoy not only the wealth of nations but also the protection of nations: They enjoy a shield of sovereignty that effectively puts them outside the law of other nations — outside the realm of police forces and courts.

Only military force can pierce this shield (the Hague got Slobodan Milosevic in the end, but only because the U.S. Air Force got him first). It is not possible to end terrorism. It is possible to end the state support that raises terrorism’s danger to levels that threaten other states. But only by going after the states: war, not police patrols.

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2 thoughts on “Five Years Ago …

  1. dale

    In less than two hours it will be 2007 here in Kansas City. My wife and I have seen many things evil in the past number of years and throughout our lifetime, and had become very burdened by what is seen every day in my current position. We had lessened our dependence on God’s providence by trying to weather the storms by ourselves.

    What I had forgotton in the past number of years is that the further I moved away from God, the more afraid I become re the events of the world and the circumstances of my life. I still struggle with this. Yet that is changing by the grace of God. Faith in Jesus Christ provides strength in the storms of what is occurring in the world. “Be not afraid…he that is in us is greater than he who is in the world”. Christ is the foundation through all of life’s tribulation. Praise God!

    Tonight, my wife and I are reminded of the words of Christ who promised “my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus”, and the words of St Paul, the Apostle “I know that whatever state in which I find myself, I am content”. God has blessed our family in the past year, and I do not fear what man can do unto me, rather we revere and worship the God who has forgiven us all our sins by his sacrifice on the cross of Calvary. Praise be to God for his salvation by faith alone, through grace alone, by Jesus Christ alone!

    May God’s blessings be with you, Andy, and your family in 2007. Happy New Year!

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