Monday, December 13, 2004

Peace is not Patriotic

Recently, my family had occasion to be shopping in West Lebanon, NH. There was a group of war protesters on the side of the road. Five or six people carrying placards and standing in a small field of signs with slogans such as: “war is not the answer”, “how many must die”, and the obligatory “peace is patriotic”. I have never understood such outrageous balderdash. What an absolutely foolish notion! While it is politically correct to validate everyone’s feelings, I do not subscribe to the PC doctrine, but rather to the doctrine of fact and truth. Webster’s New Riverside Dictionary defines a patriot as “someone who loves and defends his or her country.” Clearly the protesters do not fit this definition. In fact these people are supporting the terrorists and our enemies. Many will not like what I just said, but that’s tough. Refute the point or remain quiet.

During the American Revolution a group of patriots were meeting in Congress. They were debating the merits of rebellion, the ability of the “rabble” we called an army to battle the Red Coat machine with any hope of success, and the nature of what the colonies might become if independent. There was little agreement on any issue and a lot of ‘horse-trading’. When it came time to sign their declaration it was decided no one could remain in Congress who did not sign. “We must all hang together,” Franklin is supposed to have said, “or we most assuredly will hang separately.” What is less well-remembered is the patriotism of John Dickinson of Pennsylvania at that moment. Dickinson opposed separation from England and had fought long and hard in Congress against it. When the vote went against him, he did not go to the streets with a “give peace a chance” placard. John Dickinson left Congress and joined the army - no, not the Red Coats - though he disagreed with the rebellion, he joined the rebel army to fight for his country.

The ‘peaceniks’ are never required to support their position. I’d give my eyeteeth for a reporter to pass on the touchy-feely, emotion-soaked, soft-ball observations and opinion-laden story-telling when reporting on a rally or protest, and instead ask the attendees what they stand for, what they stand against, and how their ‘love-in’ actually changes anything in the world. The undeniable and provable fact is that reports of these people reach the enemies of America, give them energy and embolden them to continue. Bin Laden believed, because of these people, that Americans would ‘roll-over’ in the wake of 9/11, and Hussein believed that America would never have the stomach to face bloodshed. Which is exactly what the protesters are proving.

The logic these people use is staggering. By their own rationale, we would be still be shouting “God save the Queen!” We would have respected the right of southern states to secede and form their own nation; I mean, it was only a war for market share and cheap labor, right? Kaiser Wilhelm wasn’t a threat to the United States, we should have minded our own business. Nazi Germany never attacked Americans, quite the opposite: Hitler wanted peace with the United States. So what that he was exterminating Jews, minorities, and the mentally retarded - it was a German or European problem! Of course, they never follow their logic through to it’s obvious resolution, perhaps because to do so would make their position untenable - I don’t know.

“Peace is Patriotic” is pretty much the same as saying “doing nothing is patriotic.” Worse, it amounts to saying “allowing genocide, rape, theft, and crime is patriotic” and I don’t believe they believe that, but how else does one describe Hussein’s Iraq? Many claim that we are the aggressors because we haven’t found any WMDs, to which I ask, where was it stated that that was our reason for going to war? Everyone believed he had them. The flouted UN resolutions authorized military action. The broken cease-fire agreement of 1991 authorized military action. The cynics point to oil as the cause for war, they have it and we want it. But that’s not what events have proven. We aren’t taking the oil, we’re looking to Anwar to produce our own. What has become clear is that the allies who opposed military action did so for oil. In fact, if it weren’t for France, Germany, Russia, China, and UN officials (among others) doing illegal under-the-table sales of military hardware for oil, in contravention of the Oil-For-Food, this war would have been much shorter, less costly in lives and money, and the reconstruction would probably already be complete.


At 3:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionist and rebel men and women who dare to disssent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion."

President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) American statesman (34th US president: 1953-61), Supreme Allied Commander in WW II, Europe from Address, May 31, 1953.

Listen to that speech if you wish:

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children... Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, From a speech made to the American Society for Newspaper Editors April 16, 1953, in his first public address as president.

At 3:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting. While your comments seem to be an attack on pure pacifism, perhaps another interpretation can be made?

Perhaps the protesters are arguing that it is patriotic to aim for peace as the default position. Therefore, any wars would have to be justified. They would be protesting against an attitude that is all too ready to go to war when it is unnecessary.

Surely you cannot be arguing that every war in history had a just cause? Maybe the protesters just argue that we must be extremely cautious when committing to such an enterprise.


At 11:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, you do understand that after we declared war on Japan, Germany declared war on us. But... you can ignore that little fact if you want to.


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