I haven’t followed Ralph Peters’ columns closely, but Iunderstand he has in the past supported the Iraq war in part because overthrowing a dictator and establishing “rule-of-law democracy” is “noble” (not because itcould bein America’s defensive self-interest). On November 2 in USA Today he wrote, “I supported the removal of Saddam Hussein. I believed that Arabs deserved a chance to build a rule-of-law democracy in the Middle East.”
Recently Peters seems to have had a change of heart, and has realized that American self-interest is the priority. In his most recent editorial, he even emphasizes the importance of well-defined terms to aid in thinking logically, and the importance of a well-defined, self-defensive purpose in war.
In his November 30 columnin The New York Post, he writes regarding the inaccuracy ofcalling the Iraq situation a civil war, “In a civil war, you have clearly defined sides struggling for political power, with organized military formations and parallel governments.”
He writes that instead, “the violence in Iraq comes from overlapping groups of terrorists, militias, insurgents, death squads, gangsters, foreign agents and factionalized government security forces engaging in layers of savage religious, ethnic, political and economic struggles – with an all-too-human lust for revenge spicing the mix….No military lexicon offers a useful term to describe the situation in Iraq.
“This matters. We not only speak, but think, in language. To communicate effectively, we must describe things efficiently. Agreeing upon its name is essential to a deeper understanding of any phenomenon. Nouns are the handles with which we grip reality.”
This of course is true. But the words I think he’s searching for are “anarchy” and “altruism” (as in American self-sacrifice). Anarchy results in part from an ineffective government with no Constitutional commitment to defendingliberty, and no philosophical basis in the culture for defending individual rights.
So what do we do now in Iraq? To his credit, he does not support Bush’s altruistic idea of staying there, taking no aggressive actions,allowing our soldiers to die or get wounded day after day,until the Iraqi government saysthey don’t need us anymore.
Peters writes, “The administration and Congress have to face a fundamental question: Which result is more important – preserving Iraq as a unified state with a facade of democratic government, or protecting our own national-security interests?
“The two priorities now conflict. Really taking on our enemies – not least Moqtada al-Sadr and his legion of thugs – would require us to defy the elected Baghdad government we sponsored. To kill those who need killing to pacify Iraq and re-establish our ascendancy would mean that we would again become an outright occupying power.
“Not that it really matters, but doing what it would take to win would also tear up our permission slip from the United Nations.
“On the other hand, the prospect of endlessly shoring up a corrupt, divided Iraqi government unwilling to protect its own citizens, and to do so at a cost in American blood, would be a far more immoral course than ordering our troops to kill the butchers who’ve been assassinating them and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis.”
Note that he uses the term “immoral” correctly; he is saying that altruism and the sacrifice of Americans to a corrupt Iraqi government is immoral. He is calling for our troops to actually take action against the “butchers,” saying it is the more moral course. (It is hard to believe–but plainly true–that our troops are literally prevented from taking such action! They are just supposed to stand there and be targets, apparently.)
Peters begins his conclusion with these words:
“A fundamental problem is that the mission in Iraq remains vague. And vague mission statements are not conducive to military success.
“Generalities won’t do. Let’s tell our troops precisely what we expect of them: Are they there to defeat our enemies, or just to buy time with their lives in the forlorn hope that something will go right?”
In fact, according to President Bush, our troops are there to altruistically assist the democratically elected Iraqi government (that includes Communists and Islamic Theocrats) in any way they want, for as long as they want, because democracy (i.e., unlimited majority rule)is some kind of holy thing, the same holy thing that put into power Hitler in the 1930s and Hamasin 2006.
Peters ends with these sensible words: “And let’s not lose sight of the incontestable fact that, while being liked in the Middle East would be nice, being feared by our enemies is essential…we need to remember that, whatever else our government does or fails to do, its ultimate reason for being is to protect Americans and American interests.
“Saving the dubious Maliki government is a secondary concern, at most. The uncompromising defeat of our enemies is what matters.”
What are the best solutions to the Iraq situation? There are probably a few.One is Peters’ idea of becoming an “occupying power,” andunleashing our military to smash the enemy within Iraq, but also (my own addition)imposing a constitutionally limited government.
Another idea is to juxtapose two actions nearly simultaneously: Withdraw our troops from Iraqand the next day launch massive attacks on Iran, including nuclear facilities, government sites, Islamicfundamentalist schools and terrorist training sites.Overwhelm the totalitarian Islamists. Warn the other nations to shape up or we’ll strike them.Then when the dust settles, give moral and intellectual support–notmilitary support–to aÂpromising group trying to establish an individualrights-respecting governmentin Iran.
Well worth viewing or listening to is Yaron Brook’s “Democracy vs. Victory” on the Registered Users Page of www.aynrand.org. First register, then see http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=events_ari_eventsand go to the right side and click on Free Online Video Selections, Registered Users Page.
Brook shows that victory and defending Americais not President Bush’s plan at all. As hard as this once may have been to believe, it is made chillingly obvious by Brook.
(To contact Zigory please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org )