Debunking Stupid Liberal Memes, Part VI: “Give Peace a Chance” & “War is Not the Answer”
Back in 2006, Bill Whittle wrote a brilliant piece entitled “Seeing the Unseen” in which he dismantled many of the typical Liberal mantras, most of which could be found proudly and ignorantly plastered on the back of their car bumpers. This post by Mr. Whittle was the first one I read by him and it made me an instant fan of his work. Read on and you will soon see why:
Give Peace a Chance
Sounds reasonable to me. How much of a chance? Three years? Five? Ten years? See, now you’re playing me for an idiot.
We gave Saddam Hussein thirteen years before the Great Rush to War. He could have stopped the whole thing by coming clean, up until the instant the first tanks crossed the border. But he did not. We know what ‘coming clean’ to weapons inspectors looks like in the real world, because a few days after they pulled Saddam from his hidey-hole, Libya’s Colonel Khadafi turned over all the details of his nascent nuclear weapons program: blueprints, locations, stockpiles — the whole enchilada. We gave peace an even longer chance with the good Colonel, and we got bupkis: bupkis, and Pan Am 103 exploding over Lockerbie. That was our peace dividend. I can not see how anyone can deny that the idea of a little old-fashioned war and its consequence on dictators may have focused Mr. Khadafi’s mind somewhat.
War is not the Answer
Okay. I’m listening. What is the answer?
No, you don’t get to say I don’t know but I know it’s not war! If you admit you don’t know what the answer is, then it logically follows that you are in no position to say what it is not.
With regards to Iraq, Saddam started a suicidal war with Iran, and then with the United States. He then proceeded to break every single element of his cease-fire agreement — shooting at allied airplanes trying to belatedly enforce no-fly zones to prevent him from massacring even more of his own people, continuing with a well-documented and undeniable effort to obtain nuclear weapons, and all the rest.
So what is the answer, Mr. Moral Superiority? Sanctions? We sanctioned him for 13 years. He bribed the UN and stole billions of dollars for new palaces and industrial shredders for the opposition. Should we just leave him alone? The New York Times reported a few days ago that Saddam was a year or two away from a nuclear weapon. Do you trust the man’s judgment after Iran and Kuwait? I don’t.
War is an ugly, messy, filthy business, and the greatest slander I have seen in these last three years is the idea that somehow the pro-war crowd thinks war is a great thing. War is an awful thing. And yet I am pro war in this case. How can that be?
This is probably the most useful thing I’ll write in this essay:
Doves think the choice is between fighting or not fighting. Hawks think the choice is between fighting now or fighting later.
If you understand this, you understand everything that follows. You don’t need to think the other side is insane, or evil. Both hawks and doves are convinced they are doing the right thing. But it seems to me there is a choice between peace at any price and a peace worth having.
We cannot undo the invasion and compare that timeline to the one we have. The only data we can use to compare these philosophies is embedded in the pages of history. What does history show?
I cannot think of a single example where appeasement — giving in to an aggressive adversary in the hope that it will convince them to become peaceful themselves — has provided any lasting peace or security. I can say in complete honesty that I look forward to hearing of any historical example that shows it does.
What I do see are barbarian forces closing in and sacking Rome because the Romans no longer had the will to defend themselves. Payments of tribute to the barbarian hordes only funded the creation of larger and better-armed hordes. The depredations of Viking Raiders throughout Northern Europe produced much in the way of ransom payments. The more ransom that was paid, the more aggressive and warlike the Vikings became. Why? Because it was working, that’s why. And why not? Bluster costs nothing. If you can scare a person into giving you his hard-earned wealth, and suffer no loss in return, well then you my friend have hit the Vandal Jackpot. On the other hand, if you are, say, the Barbary Pirates, raiding and looting and having a grand time of it all, and across the world sits a Jefferson — you know, Mr. Liberty and Restraint — who has decided he has had enough and sends out an actual Navy to track these bastards down and sink them all — well, suddenly raiding and piracy is not such a lucrative occupation. So, contrary to doomsayers throughout history, the destruction of the Barbary Pirates did not result in the recruitment of more Pirates. The destruction of the Barbary Pirates resulted in the destruction of the Barbary Pirates.
And it is just so with terrorism. When the results of terrorism do the terrorist more harm than good, terrorism will go away. We need to harm these terrorists, not reward them, if we ever expect to see the end of them.
There are endless examples of this sort of thing. It makes me wish I had a mind on the level of Victor Davis Hansen so I could name every single one of them for you. But one example rings very loud to my ears.
After World War II, the allies captured the records of the German High Command. I was stunned to discover that the Wehrmacht’s generals were so appalled at Hitler’s decision to test the resolve of the Western Powers (by marching into the demilitarized Rhineland) that they were prepared to remove or even assassinate him should there have been any resistance to the move. They were terrified of finding themselves in another war. Hitler, on the other hand, couched the violation in the same reasonable-sounding terms that Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi would have undoubtedly approved of, and in he went.
Thus began the most horrible and tragic appeasement in the history of the world.
According to the Germans’ own records, a platoon of French soldiers, stationed on that bridge and unwilling to retreat (there’s your problem right there) would have caused the overthrow of Adolph Hitler, and the abandonment of his expansionist policies. Why? Because it wouldn’t have paid, that’s why. As it happened, intimidating the West paid handsomely: The Sudetenland, Austria, Czechoslovakia. It was only when the West finally realized the fruits of appeasement that Hitler was stopped. If it had happened much sooner it would have been much easier. If it had happened at the beginning it would have been painless.
Even though I did not live through it, I don’t forget lessons like this. Not something this clear. Likewise, I do not forget things that I did live through: that bullies who take your lunch money will beat you up more if you give them money and less if you fight back. There’s a logic behind this — predators have to survive every encounter with their prey, so why take chances on anything other than the sick and the weak — and there is an emotional component, too: and that is respect.
Thugs and bullies cannot produce anything of value. They have to take it from those who can. Giving it to them in the hope they will go away does not engender love or respect in them — just the opposite. It creates more contempt and confidence. If it didn’t — if they behaved like sensible people — they wouldn’t be thugs and bullies in the first place.
This projection of rationality onto irrational people is the linchpin of the liberal failure to understand human nature. To those who tend to believe every claim on innocence from career criminals, I recommend COPS therapy. Watch any single episode of COPS and you will see people earnestly swear — I swear to God, sir! — that they do not possess the drugs they are holding in their hands. What’s that crack rock on your car seat? That’s not my crack rock, sir! It’s in your car. This isn’t my car! I swear to God sir! There are five crack rocks in your pocket. These aren’t my pants, sir! A friend gave me these pants just before I left the house! I swear to God, sir!
I have heard it reliably reported that once a police officer confronted a heroin addict who had passed out with a needle in his arm. When confronted with this, he supposedly said, that’s not my arm!
Telling reasonable people what they want to hear is a survival skill for criminals. They don’t get very far without knowing how to play people. In Narcotics Anonymous they have a spot-on term for this kind of behavior. They call it ‘dope-fiending’. How did you get that car? I dope-fiended my mom into letting me drive it. When a spokesman for Hamas or Al Qaeda tells you that they are only fighting America or the Jews because they are worried about Global Warming, you are being dope-fiended.
How much more control do we have over terrorists if they are people with a series of reasonable demands, rather than murdering misogynists who want women enslaved and Jews and homosexuals killed on sight? See, if it’s our fault, all we have to do is change and they will go away. But if it’s who we are, rather than what we do — well that’s a little more scary, isn’t it? That might be a little too much for the kind, gentle, sensitive latte-sipping lunch crowd to fully get behind. But that is what I hear these 7th Century murderers saying, and that is what I see them doing, and I choose not to look away just because I do not much like what I see.
Some people will believe anything if they want to believe it hard enough. Which leads us to…
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