March 18, 2005

Krauthammer Editorial Puts It In Perspective

Once again, the eminent Dr. Krauthammer has a way of putting words and ideas together to give us the broad view of things without sacrificing specificity. Here's the last half of it:

    When a Le Monde editorial titled "Arab Spring" acknowledges "the merit of George W. Bush," when the cover headline of London's The Independent is "Was Bush Right After All?" and when a column in Der Spiegel asks "Could George W. Bush Be Right?" you know that something radical has happened.

    It is not just that the ramparts of Euro-snobbery have been breached. Iraq and, more broadly, the Bush doctrine were always more than a purely intellectual matter. The left's patronizing, quasi-colonialist view of the benighted Arabs was not just analytically incorrect. It was morally bankrupt, too.

    After all, going back at least to the Spanish Civil War, the left has always prided itself on being the great international champion of freedom and human rights. And yet, when America proposed to remove the man responsible for torturing, gassing and killing tens of thousands of Iraqis, the left suddenly turned into a champion of Westphalian sovereign inviolability.

    A leftist judge in Spain orders the arrest of a pathetic, near-senile Gen. Augusto Pinochet eight years after he's left office, and becomes a human rights hero -- a classic example of the left morally grandstanding in the name of victims of dictatorships long gone. Yet for the victims of contemporary monsters still actively killing and oppressing -- Khomeini and his successors, the Assads of Syria and, until yesterday, Hussein and his sons -- nothing. No sympathy. No action. Indeed, virulent hostility to America's courageous and dangerous attempt at rescue.

    The international left's concern for human rights turns out to be nothing more than a useful weapon for its anti-Americanism. Jeane Kirkpatrick pointed out this selective concern for the victims of U.S. allies (such as Chile) 25 years ago. After the Cold War, the hypocrisy continues. For which Arab people do European hearts burn? The Palestinians. Why? Because that permits the vilification of Israel -- an outpost of Western democracy and, even worse, a staunch U.S. ally. Championing suffering Iraqis, Syrians and Lebanese offers no such satisfaction. Hence, silence.

    Until now. Now that the real Arab street has risen to claim rights that the West takes for granted, the left takes note. It is forced to acknowledge that those brutish Americans led by their simpleton cowboy might have been right. It has no choice. It is shamed. A Lebanese, amid a sea of a million other Lebanese, raises a placard reading "Thank you, George W. Bush," and all that Euro-pretense, moral and intellectual, collapses.
Well said. It is more than revealing that so many leftists clamor for human rights and international democracy but do nothing when it involves a single firearm. It's as though they expect all dictators to simply yield because we jeer at them, sneering yet impotent and afraid. Hitler, Castro, Saddam - these men see the modern Europe for what it is: unwilling to exercise force and striving desperately for peace for themselves at the expense of the lives, dignity and democracy of others.

The far left calls for the sovereignty of Iraq, as though a militaristic dictatorship engaged in genocide has even the slightest claim to legitimacy. When it comes to Saddam or Palestinian bombers the far left engages in moral equivocation - Saddam was putting down a rebellion and the Palestinians are fighting oppression. When it comes to the US convicting cop-killers like Leonard Peltier and Mumia - both convicted in a court of law, with representation and appeals - suddenly they're moral crusaders for the little guy. Oppression seems to happen more and more the closer one is to the US and Israel. Abject hypocrisy.

That's not to say there isn't a great deal of hypocrisy on the part of others. I am certainly concerned that not enough Republicans truly believe in the mission of democracy to hold Republican feet to the fire if the next GOP candidate is a little more Buchananite in orientation. It would be hypocritical of them to cheer it now but forget it all later. But what concerns me is that the far left, shrouding itself in moral outrage and self-righteous indignation, could so easily drop both of these when it comes to vicious dictators.

Would we expect dangerous criminals to simply turn themselves in because we told them they're bad? If that worked with criminals and tyrants then the entire US army and all our police forces could be replaced with a TV and radio broadcast of a grandmother wagging her finger. They just don't care - they're criminals! Of course they don't care. They didn't care about the law when they were breaking it. We cannot expect them to turn themselves in and hand over power to others just because some leftist criticized them in an attempt to be intellectually consistent.

The left doesn't care about human rights when it involves doing anything besides sending food or abortion. That's why they love the UN (soon to be renamed "Food & Abortion 'R' Us"). When it comes to destabilizing Saddam they take the opposite line - they actually repeatedly made the argument that we want it stabilized! Stabilize a dictator! Absurd. It's almost like they truly are scared.

The only reason Hitler, Himmler and the rest were stopped is because the US, the UK and the USSR had the guns and the troops to kill a gaggle of Nazis. If they hadn't been then the SS very well might have succeeded in eliminated the rest of European Jewry and the ghostly-thin, tattooed survivors of the Holocaust would be nothing but shoes for the museum. It took brute force to eject the Nazis from their place. Millions died in that effort, but it was worth it, both to end the Holocaust and to save the rest of the world from despicable Nazi dominion.

Were it not for the US attacking Saddam in 1991 and removing Saddam in 2003 then there would still be rape rooms, 8 or 9 secret police forces, disappearances, gas bombings of Kurds, and no doubt mass execution of Kuwaitis, Shi'a and others. It took force and lives to stop it. Somehow the far left doesn't see that values are not inherently enforced. They avoid the military in a throwback to the 19th century anarcho-syndicalist days when the left thought that they could bring about socialism by eliminating police and soldiers. They agree socialism is unworkable, but they're still all too wary of soldiers and cops. They seek to keep themselves pure by not associating with the soldiers of the West - yet they all too gladly cheer the military forces of rebel Palestinians, Sinhalese, Chechens and others.

Ethics and force are NOT mutually exclusive. If anything they must go together. Either we enforce minimums of ethical behavior our or criminals and tyrants will break them with impunity.

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