Editorial - Saddam's Succours
In the light of the liberation of Iraq from the regime of the odious Saddam Hussein, I reproduce here two short commentaries originally published on SOLOHQ.com - the first, written before war started; the second, two days in. Given everything that happened subsequently, I feel no necessity to change a word. Note, however, that while I supported the war, unlike Chris Sciabarra, I also agree with his call for a fundamental rethink of U.S. foreign policy with a view to developing a consistent, principled approach that Objectivists & true libertarians (as opposed to Saddamites) could approve of. His challenging think-piece (see Page 16) ought to be mandatory reading for freedom-lovers world-wide, not to mention the Bush Administration & all current & aspiring American politicians! Ditto Peter Cresswell's cautionary chronicle (see Page 23) & Joseph Rowlands' thoughts on the precise principles that should guide the foreign policy of a free country (see back cover).
Saddam's Succours #1
There are two types of people on earth: those who are affronted by evil & do everything in their power to ensure that its gleeful cackle is drowned by the singing of soaring, unsullied souls; & those who profess to be affronted by evil but in reality thrill to that gleeful cackle, & make excuses for it, & legitimise it, & extend its life & scope. You can spot the latter by their contradictions & obfuscations.
They invoke imperfection to justify inaction against evil. They say America may not liberate slave pens because America itself is not wholly free & is becoming less free. They blur the distinction between "not wholly free" and "wholly unfree" & effectively advocate surrender of the former to the latter. They evade the fact that in America, one is still free to proselytise against its slide into statism, just as they are free to apologise for despots.
They invoke "shades of grey" to justify acquiescence to the black, "complexity" to justify moral agnosticism in the face of murderers & torturers most foul. They say America may not wage war against Iraq - because it once supported Iraq against Iran. (Of course, they wouldn't allow America to wage war against Iran either.) They evade the fact that whom you supported back when is irrelevant if your survival as a significantly free nation is threatened by a vile dictatorship right now. Mistakes in the past are no reason for paralysis in the present. Historical "complexities" are no reason for suicide.
They say Iraq does not have the weapons to be a direct threat to America, evading the fact that if this be true – which is unlikely - it is only true because of restrictions imposed after the war waged by America twelve years ago - to which war they were also opposed. Had they won the day back then, & continued to win the day thereafter, America might well have been subject to attacks far worse than 9/11 far earlier. As it is, one cannot trust Saddam enough to give him any benefit of the doubt. WMD plus collaboration with terrorists equals a threat against which one may strike pre-emptively, in self-defence. They say there are worse regimes than Saddam Hussein's – yet they oppose removing them also.
While valiant young men & women voluntarily lay their lives on the line for the freedom we still enjoy, these entities take advantage of that freedom to say they shouldn't be doing it.
Their names have been Quisling, Chamberlain, treason, cowardice, appeasement & France.
My words about them are few because few words are necessary. Two of Lenin's come to mind also – "useful idiots."
Yes, there are two types of people on this earth. In the current context one might designate them thus: freedom-lovers ... & Saddam-lovers.
Saddam's Succours #2
"I don't want food. I don't want water. I want my freedom."
So said a resident of Umm Qasr, newly liberated by American & British troops, in front of CNN cameras.
In truth, he was not ungrateful for the food & water that came in the wake of the liberation, but most of all he hungered & thirsted for freedom. He knew that to be the most desirable potential consequence of the Coalition presence.
"When will the whole Iraqi population rise up?" asked veteran war reporter Christiane Amanpour. "The day they know Saddam is dead," she answered herself, on the basis of what many Iraqis had whispered to her. Such is the fear this monster, under whose tyranny hundreds of thousands of citizens have unaccountably "disappeared," strikes in the hearts of his subjects as long as he is alive.
Still, the Saddamites in our midst insist that the troops shouldn't be there. They set up straw men in their efforts to justify leaving this despot alone. They ascribe to freedom-lovers such as myself the view that a semi-free country has not only the right but the duty to liberate slave pens. They say we wish to stifle free speech, & that we get sexually aroused by war. These canards are too ridiculous to dignify with a moment's attention. Some Saddamites are claiming the posthumous imprimatur of Ayn Rand for their views. She too would surely have opposed this war, they claim.
The hell she would!
None had greater contempt for those she called "new isolationists" who purveyed the view that "the fate of other countries is none of our business." "The purpose of this new isolationism," she wrote, "is to play on the American people's legitimate weariness, confusion & anger over Vietnam, in the hope of making the U.S government afraid to become involved in another foreign war of any kind. This would paralyse the U.S. in the conduct of any foreign policy not agreeable to Soviet Russia [read: totalitarian states & their apologists]." None was more adamant in the view that "a dictatorship – a country that violates the rights of its own citizens – is an outlaw & can claim no rights." She had no hesitation in saying that a free country had the right – but not the obligation - to invade a Nazi Germany, a Soviet Russia or a Cuba.
Yes, she was contemptuous of the content & conduct of American foreign policy over the previous fifty years, but, if I may cite "Saddam's Succours" Pt 1, she most certainly would not have invoked past follies to justify inaction & paralysis in the present. The woman who said that the proper answer to "Better Red than dead" was "Better see the Reds dead" was made of sterner stuff than that! It is inconceivable that she would have opposed the current intervention in Iraq; far more likely that she would have favoured "regime change" in Iran, North Korea & other "axis of evil" countries as well.
Those who claim Rand's imprimatur for their advocacy of Chamberlain-type appeasement would do well to ponder the following, from her article, "The Lessons of Vietnam":
"I wondered, even in those years [her youth in Russia], which is morally worse: evil – or the appeasement of evil, the cowardly evasion that leaves an evil unnamed, unanswered & unchallenged. I was inclined to think that the second is worse, because it makes the first possible. I am certain of it today."
If you enjoyed this, why not subscribe?