March 2, 2003
For those of you unfamiliar with Provo, Ut, it is a very small, large town. Oxymoron? Not really. Provo has a population of over 100,000 people (during the normal school year at least), but due to the fact that the large majority of those residents are LDS, Provo nevertheless has a small-town feel.I bring that up, because (for better or for worse) it is rare for anything to "disturb" the public. That is why yesterday, when I saw a small group of people at an intersection protesting the war in Iraq, I was quite surprised. Things like that just don't happen. Many of the signs said things like "Honk if you love peace" and other innocent things like that, though I wasn't looking too hard at what they were saying. On a humorous note, I had the latest copy of The Economist with me whose cover says in big letters "Why War Would Be Justified." I tried to get to the cover and hold it up for the protesters to see, but alas, I was too slow. It made me think though, about liking peace. While not too many people were honking, I couldn't help but think that everyone (normal that is) likes peace. I would venture to say that even the hardest war-hawks in the Administration like peace. And why not? It's cheap and safe and gives everyone warm-fuzzies. However (and you knew this was coming, right?), I knew what was behind these people standing on the corner -- it wasn't just simple peace; rather an anti-war sentiment. I almost felt bad for them as I pictured their overly simplistic view that if we don't go to war, we will obviously have peace. What about Sep. 11? What about the millions being starved, deprived, and tortured in Iraq? What about the fear of letting a madman stay in control of Iraq? What about...? I don't think telling ourselves to be peaceful is going to work here. At times, force is needed. Is it right to attack Iraq? Perhaps only God knows, as only He knows what Saddam is up to. As The Economist put it in one of their latest articles (if you have a paid subscription), "Saddamned, perhaps, if you do; but Saddamned, also, if you don't."
Posted by charr at 9:22 PM
Good point. If I declare peace, and the guy across the street bombs my home, I have become a casualty of war despite my declaration.
I'm all for peace and would rather have it than what is going to happen real soon in Iraq. However, peace doesn't "happen" it comes after something else happens, like war or through diplomacy. Simply declaring PEACE is naive at best, deadly at worst. In addition, I honestly believe that only people who have experienced war can really appreciate the prospect of peace.
I don't think it's fair to say that all anti-war demonstrators have an 'overly-simplistic' view of things. People have different value systems, and the equation that adds up to justify war for the Economist may not add up the same for the person holding the 'Honk if you love peace' sign. To make things even more complicated, nobody has a spin-free source of information to make judgements from.Regardless of the actual details, it's certain that there's a big mess in the Middle East and we've got ourselves right into the thick of it, which I think was probably a bad idea to begin with. I'm skeptical about our commitment to really improve the lives of the people there, and I'm also skeptical about the danger that Saddam poses to us. If war is truly 'justified', then it's only just barely so, and we'd better clean up the mess afterwards if we want any of the justifications to mean anything. Otherwise they're just excuses.
I know people have different value systems, but I still think there is a lot of naive feelings that accompany the peace movement. Some have an argument but in my opinion it's become somewhat of a fad to be a pacifist. I also disagree with you on the benefits of the war. Assuming a relatively quick conflict, I think the economy, society and government of Iraq will be in much better shape.
Last I heard, the plan was to employ some non-stop ultra-heavy bombing campaign in attempt to demoralize the Iraqi leaders. Some obscene number of bombs-per-day, all targeted at infrastructure locations like power, water, communications facilities as well as military targets. If successful, it would end the conflict quickly, but it would sure leave their society in a shambles, and the people would likely start hating us pretty quickly afterwards. If we actually made a concerted 'nation-building' effort to get things going again after we blow it all up, we may be able to mitigate the negative effects somewhat. I'm skeptical about that really being in the plan. In any case, it's hard to have a viable economy and healthy society when there's no power and everyone's sick from unsanitary conditions stemming from lack of running water in population centers.If plans have changed and we're now somehow going to take the Iraqis out in the 'field' somewhere in traditional ground warfare (and risk losing some American lives!) without destroying their infrastructure, then maybe things will work out better for the Iraqi people. Again, I doubt it.
Yeah, I think the number was 3000 bombs in 48 hours. No doubt that this would completely obliterate a lot of buildings. There will also be casualties, especially if Saddam forces the citizens to be human shields, which is likely. However, those same citizens are suffering greatly now, and yes, it's possible that during the war, they would be even worse off, but after the war (and I don't think Bush can or will ignore this), they will be much better off and I think they'll realize that, as the Afghans did (when we weren't accidentally bombing them).