Friday, March 31, 2006

Our Values, Faith, and the War

I have faith that good always prevails over evil and that the values our Nation has always cherished and defended--ordered liberty, democratic institutions, the separation of powers, the dignity of human life, personal autonomy, and the rule of law--will succeed wherever people can come together to support them. So lately I have grown very tired of listening to the interminable anti-war rants of those who claim that these values of ours are not universal, that they are somehow unique to us, and that others around the world aren't capable of handling them or wouldn't select them for themselves if given the chance.

If we don't believe that all men and women around the world deserve freedom, and if we don't believe that democracy is a good way to secure the same, then America stands for nothing. Some things are just True, even if we can't quite figure out the exact contours of the truth: True adherence to the principle of separation of powers always works to block the rise of tyranny. Voting, if properly conducted, always works to check the concentration and abuse of power. Some societies have selected systems of government that are inferior to others in that they don't serve the interests of human dignity and autonomy. We may judge other governments this way, but it is simply not our place to judge whether a society could "handle" liberty and freedom if given the opportunity to try it out. They deserve it ab initio, no matter what.

Personal autonomy flows from the concept of human dignity, which in turn flows from the concept that we are designed and created--and if one truly believes that God did indeed create mankind, the justifiability of any military action to defend liberty wherever liberty is truly threatened is unquestionable. This is true even if the defense must be selective because of limited resources and other important objectives. It is no argument to say that a military action to oust an Adolf Hitler or a Saddam Hussein is not just and correct simply because we do not simultaneously challenge Joseph Stalin or Kim Jung Il in a like manner.

And it is a sign of an utterly superficial understanding of Western history to claim that America is seeking 'empire,' or is 'taking over' other countries just for oil (whatever this ridiculous blanket assertion people toss around even means), or has any desire at all to 'conquer' anyone else. Did we oust the Nazis and establish American empire? Or did we aid the rebuilding countries, help them set up democratic governments, and withdraw (save to the extent they invited us to stay in light of the Soviet threat)? Did we go into Vietnam for any reason other than to stop the (at least) feared spread of a God-hating ideology that is undeniably responsible for the deaths--by famine, purge, and oppression--of over 100 million of our fellow humans? Do we have 50,000 troops in South Korea to maintain our Empire, or to hold back the North, which would subsume and destroy the democracy in the South in a matter of days were we not there, even if only as a nuclear trip-wire?

To those who don't support our mission in the broader Middle East, including Afghanistan and Iraq, I ask: What is your alternative? Would you allow the Arab world to march further down the path of tyranny, instability and economic ruin, to the point where destitute Muslims have absolutely nothing to live for but a bastardized version of their faith, along with a heartfelt desire to destroy those they believe are responsible for their situation--the infidel West? Would you allow that to happen even as Middle Eastern tyrants and terrorists leaders collude and seek weapons of mass destruction that can kill millions with a single detonation? What would you have America do?

I'd do what the President did and what politicians rarely ever do: Come up with a long-term solution. Long-term solutions are always difficult to implement because of our natural tendency to wish problems away and act the part of the ostrich--the tendency resulting in the so-called "peace" movement (as if peace can be achieved by merely wishing it was so). But the President is more realistic, and he made a tough (and correct choice). He made a choice that honors our American values and the universal idea they represent, the idea of human dignity and autonomy for every man and woman, whatever their faith or creed or nationality.

We are fertilizing two blossoming flowers in the desert--we are arming two democracies that embrace unity, tolerance, and a moderate version of Islam in the Middle East. We are arming them against the terrorists and against the tyrants and against the fundamentalists who, in their heart of hearts, desire destitution in the Middle East because it serves their megalomaniacal purposes and their crazed vision for Islamic Empire (which is really just their own thirst for power).

If we succeed in creating two stable, prosperous, unified democracies in the heart of the Middle East, liberal-leaning Muslims all over the region will have cause to be brave, and fundamentalist governments and terrorists will have lost. That's why our enemy fights so vehemently to stop us in Iraq. Iran and the terrorists are linked arm-in-arm against the greatest threat they've faced yet--the prospect of stable, peaceful, respectful, and moderate, powerful, armed government in their midst. That is real change and a real vision for the future of the Middle East.

So I truly thank God for our President and his courage in the face of uneducated, short-sighted politicians and demagogues, and I thank God for our troops. And, because we are on the side of Good, I have faith we will ultimately prevail.

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