Last fall the College Democrats organized a forum with U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-Dearborn) about Iraq. Near the end of the forum, a man rose and said he visited the country himself. He informed us of his opinion that no weapons of mass destruction existed. He then told us that the Republican Guard looked so hungry due to the “imperialist” sanctions that he raised a pot of money for them. The man sat down to a raucous applause. His statements and the following reaction made me ask: Has the Left lost it?
The answer is that a true progressive would be begging President Bush to stop Saddam. Yet because of the far Left’s love of rhetoric and an automatic negative response to all “King George” says, it has made its opposition to the war founded on ideological cynicism rather than compassion for humanity.
Saddam has violated 16 U.N. resolutions and is in the process of violating another, flouting the demands of the Security Council. This man’s actions have done more to invalidate any concept of international law, a progressive ideal, than any other leader since World War II. If the council’s resolutions are not implemented seriously with regard to an evil dictator, isn’t its future about as bright as the League of Nations, Woodrow Wilson’s liberal dream of world order? In order for the United Nations to remain relevant in the 21st century, its resolutions must begin to be enforced, especially when those resolutions deal with international security. An American attack on Iraq would not be a rejection of international law; rather, it would be a triumph of a 21st century that no longer tolerates the violation of those laws.
The anti-war movement qualifies its statements of opposition to a war by admitting that Saddam is a tyrant. How bad is he really? Evil. Liberals in the United States should demand this sinister man be removed from office for violating almost every human right. Allowing a man with a regime like the one in Iraq to rule during the present day is a status insult to any hopes of a future in which sovereignty is no longer a shield that can be used to justify horribly inhumane acts. When the anti-war movement argues against a war in Iraq, it is in essence making an argument that a man who does the following things has a right to remain in power on the basis of international law: rapes, removes tongues, uses WMDs on his own people, canes the national soccer team after a loss, gouges eyes, electrically shocks genitals, tortures with acid. The Left should dream of a world in which the world community no longer tolerates such acts.
The activists would also claim that Iraq poses no security threat. However, if Iraq had WMDs, it could blackmail the United States and attack its neighbors. Remember, Hans Blix has stated unequivocally that Iraq has not cooperated with inspectors. The second and scarier possibility is that it could give WMDs to terrorists. The New York Times reported Sept. 24, 2001 that “the clear link between … Osama … and Saddam can be found in Kurdistan … [where] the Iraqi dictator has armed and financed … al-Qaida mullahs.” These terrorists, the Ansar cell of al-Qaida, have begun producing poisonous chemicals for export. Iraq has also given sanctuary to one of bin Laden’s agents, a weapons expert named Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi. So what’s the deal?
The deal is that some on Left have subsumed the war issue and interpreted it to support its own agenda. The simple theory of Bush is bad has lead to an interpretation of the Iraq policy as just a manifestation of his idiocy. I heard a girl say Bush was a hypocrite for fighting in Afghanistan and being pro-life. Someone at the Dingell discussion said that Dingell would better understand the Iraq issue by reading a non-biased communist daily.
Consider Act Now to Stop War and End Racism. These two issues have nothing to do with each other. Their lumping together makes them seem like a “we are opposed to whatever part of the status quo is controversial” group. Yes, protesting is cool and has a time and place. But when the allure of protesting the entire status quo becomes too strong, then totally illogical suppositions are created (communism, fascism).
There are plenty of things for which the Left should crucify Bush, like the Information Awareness Office. This domestic organization is the largest threat to American freedom ever. The IAO will record your every credit card purchase, magazine subscription, medical prescription, website, academic grade, bank deposit and trip. Bush said if Saddam wasn’t evil, then “evil has no meaning.” If the IAO starts, the Constitution will have no meaning. Yet an important civil rights group, the Institute for Public Accuracy, decided not to raise hell about this violation of liberty, but to send its weapons inspector, Sean Penn, to Iraq. In the tradition of Hanoi Jane, Baghdad Sean was able to assure us that he didn’t see anything bad. I just hope he didn’t raise a pot for the Republican Guard.
Before I finish, I want to say I love the Left. I shook former Vice President Al Gore’s hand. I wrote this because I care about progressive ideas and hate what’s happened to them. Yet there is one group that I want the Left to remember. When the forum ended, Dingell asked those in favor of war to raise their hands. Myself and one other man did so. While people were beginning to file out of the room, I asked the man why he raised his hand. The answer: “I am an Iraqi.”
Torigian is an LSA freshman.