Jewish World Review March 25, 2003 / 21 Adar II 5763

Thomas Sowell

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Who is pro-war? | We have heard a lot about anti-war demonstrators. Indeed, we have heard a lot from anti-war spokesmen, as the media continue their corrupt practice of providing free air time to those whose antics provide them with footage for their news broadcasts. But what about those who are pro-war?

Who said, "At last the war has begun"? Certainly no one in the Bush administration, nor in the military, nor anyone among the conservative or neo-conservative publications supporting the president's military actions. That headline appeared in bold letters across the front page of a newspaper in Kuwait.

Kuwaitis are not the only victims of Saddam Hussein who have been wanting this war to get underway, so that they can be rid of that murderous threat hanging over their heads. Arnaud de Borchgrave of United Press International reports that a group of American anti-war demonstrators who had gone to Iraq were shocked to encounter Iraqi civilians who were pro-war.

A young American clergyman with an anti-war group in Iraq said that some of the things the Iraqis said to him "had shocked me back to reality." Some of these Iraqis "told me that they would commit suicide if American bombing didn't start." Then they told him of sadistic tortures "that made me ill" just to hear about.

Too many Americans have been too sheltered for too long to have any conception of what it is like to live under horrifying threats. The bargain-basement martyrs of the "peace" movement who disrupt their fellow Americans' lives with their moral exhibitionism in the streets know that the worst that will happen to them is wrist-slap punishment -- and that most will not get even that.

The blessings we have in this country have been so taken for granted for so long by such people -- and by many in the media and in academia -- that they have no sense of what past sacrifices created these blessings, what present-day sacrifices are necessary to sustain them, much less what are the prerequisites for continuing to live as a free people.

More than ingratitude is involved. Those who do not understand what an on-going price has to be paid continuously to remain free are not only quick to balk at any costs that they have to pay or any restrictions they have to endure, they are also quick to attribute cheap motives to those who have the responsibility to make the hard decisions required to protect us from the dangers that the blind refuse to acknowledge.

Some of these who blindly lash out at America say that the real reason American troops are going into Iraq is to get control of that country's oil. Do they realize that we had control of Kuwait's oil during the previous Gulf war -- and gave it back to the Kuwaitis? Do facts matter at all to those who are on a binge of self-righteousness?

Does it matter to them that we live in an age where "giving peace a chance" means giving people like Saddam Hussein time to develop nuclear weapons? Does it matter to them that the doctrine of "pre-emption" is not just an abstract issue but, in a nuclear age, can be the difference between life and death for millions of Americans?

Surely the time is long overdue to understand that Israel did an enormous favor to the world when its bombers made a pre-emptive strike against Saddam Hussein's nuclear facility -- built by France, by the way. Can you imagine where we would be today if Saddam Hussein had been given two decades in which to develop nuclear weapons?

Sheltered people with no sense of the enormous new dangers that the proliferation of nuclear weapons have created still talk in terms of old shibboleths and discuss issues in the abstract, instead of in terms of the concrete and bitter realities confronted by those with responsibility for the fate of this country.

Since we have nuclear weapons, those who think in the abstract ask, why don't others have a right to have them? It never seems to occur to them that, in the real world as it exists, we are not worried because Britain or Israel have nuclear weapons. But anyone with a brain in his head should be worried that North Korea has them and that Saddam Hussein has been trying to get them.

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JWR contributor Thomas Sowell, a fellow at the Hoover Institution, is author of several books, including his latest, "Controversial Essays." (Sales help fund JWR.)


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