The contradictions of the “peace movement” crystallized for me when I saw a photograph of two bikini-clad Spanish women with mock suicide bomb cartridges strapped to them, holding a sign with “No Guerra” scrawled on it. The moral inscrutability of last week’s protesters is remarkable. How can one be for “peace” and yet ignore Saddam’s war on his own people or, like these women, support Palestinian war? How can one be against the accidental death of civilians during a war of liberation and look past intentional political killings of dissidents during perpetual internal wars in Iraq and North Korea?
The “peace” protesters are really not for peace at all. A movement which supports policies that would continue the reign of a murderous tyrant who gasses, tortures and rapes his own people is a movement supporting a perpetual war. Instead of peace, over the course of the last decade, we allowed Saddam to manipulate the process intended to disarm him; we shamefully ignored the horrors of internal repression and war.
Of course there are many reasonable arguments against invading Iraq, especially those concerned with the large costs and risks of invasion. But these are not compelling enough to outweigh the benefits of toppling the dictatorship. Anyone using these arguments to reach a morally serious conclusion has to compare the potential difficulties of an invasion to the very real costs of allowing a brutal tyrant to continue unimpeded. Those who ignore the ponderous moral burden entailed by their position are no better than the appeaseniks whose timidity and fear brought ruin to so much of Europe, Asia and North Africa 60 years ago.
In North Korea, too, the “peace” movement cannot dismiss the existence of a brutal internal war against accused political dissidents. Sadly, many have attacked the Bush administration for being overly simplistic and polar in lumping North Korea with Iraq as part of the “Axis of Evil.” But North Korea’s leadership, like Iraq’s, is despicable, and to seek peace on the Korean peninsula is to seek Kim Jong Il’s eventual removal.
Right now, we are faced with a choice. We can confront the evil before us or to allow it to grow. The possibility that Iraq or North Korea could acquire nuclear or highly lethal chemical weapons poses a deadly threat to their peoples, their regions and the world. The free peoples of the world, especially the French, Germans and Russians, need to fall in behind the United States to rid the Earth of its worst dictators. Just ask yourself, whose beliefs do you think will begin to build lasting peace, and whose will result in a more destructive war?
—Andrew P. Winerman is an editorial editor.