Jewish World Review Feb. 24, 2005 / 17 Adar I, 5765
A lovely holiday among our former allies
Now, do you agree with me, Mr. President?
Old Europe is a lovely place to visit. Yet one would not want to live there
for any extended period of time. Any continent so given to long luncheons
cannot be a very vigorous place. On holiday, the civilized thing to do is to
dine apolaustically, to take in the theater and museums. In fact, Old Europe
is one grand museum. That is why I am always happy there, but then I visit
solely for holiday. When it is time to be productive, I head home.
From all the news reports, it sounds as though the president had
a lovely holiday among our former allies. They even seemed to greet him
cordially when he reiterated that liberating Iraq was the right thing to do.
They even seem to accept that democracy of one kind or another may be
established in Iraq. Said the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, "Statements
like, 'You can't export democracy through war,' are no longer fashionable."
Of course, Italy has shown itself to be an ally, so maybe the paper was only
talking about Italian fashion.
Yet it does seem there has grown some willingness in Old Europe
to accept that we did the right thing in Iraq. But who are "we"? With the
noble exception of the Poles, the Italians and, for a while, the Spanish,
"we" are the English-speaking people. Churchill was right. Lady Thatcher
was, too. The English-speaking people are the great defenders of freedom.
Some smaller nations have sent their contingents to join us in
the fight to roll back tyranny in the Middle East and to smack down
terrorism, but for the most part it is the English-speaking people once
again who answered the call to action.
The useless French, the opportunistic Germans and the
continent's left-leaning intellectuals still grumble that the invasion of
Iraq was a disaster and the aftermath chaos. They are in error, certainly,
about the invasion. It was masterful. The aftermath was in part chaotic
because the invasion was successful so rapidly and because the country was
one vast arsenal with weaponry lying all around. This dangerous condition
was a consequence of the European arms merchants enriching themselves by
taking advantage of Saddam Hussein's paranoia and selling him huge stores of
armaments despite sanctions against such sales.
Do you recall the 1920s and 1930s, when progressive opinion
claimed that the great evildoers in the world worked in the armaments
industry as "Merchants of Death"? We have not heard remonstrances against
"Merchants of Death" from progressives lately, notwithstanding the fact that
those who sold to Saddam really were very much like the "Merchants" that
roused the alarums of their 1930s ancestors. Then, the progressives
harangued arms salesmen and ignored the Nazis and Fascists. Now, they
harangue the United States, the country that at least has disarmed a modern
Another condition that vexed the aftermath of war with Iraq has
been the refusal of NATO or of Old Europe to send in troops to aid us in
pacifying the country and expediting its journey to self-rule. That refusal
is no demonstration of principle or prudence by Old Europe, but rather a
sign of Old Europe's laziness about meeting its responsibilities. We
witnessed the same laziness in the 1930s and for that matter during the Cold
War, when Old Europe never met its NATO defense commitments. It relied on us
to defend its citizens in the Cold War, and it relies on us now to defend
them in the war against terror, which, contrary to Old Europe's blah, was
furthered nicely by the fall of Saddam.
As I say, I put my trust in the English-speaking people. Why we
have shown more vigor in defending liberty I cannot with great confidence
say. Possibly it is because so many of the principles of a free society have
originated among us. And as for those that have not, they have at least been
formalized in such documents as the Magna Carta, the Declaration of
Independence (sorry, my British friends) and the Bill of Rights. Whatever
the reason might be, the English-speaking people have acquitted themselves
with honor in the liberation of Iraq.
Just this week, while the French, the Germans and the
preposterous Belgians lunched with our debonair president, from Australia
comes news that the doughty Aussies are sending 450 troops to Iraq, more
than doubling their force there. Said Prime Minister John Howard, a "tilting
point" has been arrived at. During his recent re-election campaign, he had
vowed to send no more troops. Yet now he sees an opening toward peace and
stability. He is taking a chance. It makes me want to break into a chorus of
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© 2001, Creators Syndicate