Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Random thoughts

It’s been a while. I’ve been busy, first, preparing for – second, taking – finally, getting re-acclimated to being back from – vacation.

Some thoughts while I’ve been away:

I’d never heard it before, but, in a piece for the National Review, Jonah Goldberg mentioned Orwell’s Dictum:

“Some ideas are so stupid only an intellectual could believe them.”

Isn’t that great? I must make a note to myself to re-read Orwell.

When I was a kid I was utterly enthralled by the British production The World at War. It aired in the states in 1975 I believe and from the first episode, I was riveted. For several years I’ve wanted to purchase the DVD set, but it was $140 and I just couldn’t bring myself to drop that kind of coin. A couple of weeks ago I saw it on sale online for $75 – so I snatched it up.

It has reminded me, forcefully, of a several things that are pertinent to our current situation in the world. First, the people who throw around the term “Nazi” don’t have the slightest idea what they’re talking about. I have been reminded what a real “Nazi” is and I’ve decided that should anyone ever call me a Nazi, they will be given ten seconds to retract the statement and apologize for it before I physically make them do so.

Second, taking out dictators before they start wars is, ultimately, MUCH cheaper in terms of treasure and human misery than waiting for “just cause”. Just ask the French, Dutch, British and Polish.

I firmly believe today that had Franklin Roosevelt invaded Germany in the spring of 1939 and removed Herr Hitler we would have had a similar struggle to the one in which we find ourselves today in Iraq; and FDR would have been, perhaps, more viciously pilloried than our current President is. However, thanks to the gift of hindsight, we know that he would have been heroically and salvifically right and correct to have done it.

Mark my words, future generations will look at the administration of George W. Bush and shake their heads that more people did not see what he saw.

Finally – and this is crucial – “The People” are ultimately responsible for the actions of their governments. When we consider ‘responsibility’ in the business sense, we imagine someone being fired or punished in some way when things go wrong. It is exactly the same on the national and international scale. The people of Germany and Japan didn’t vote to invade their neighbors, torture and commit genocide, but it was their homes and businesses that were destroyed by bombs, who died in firestorms and of starvation or in reprisals. The people paid the cost and in the end analysis that makes them responsible. This is something we must bear in mind today.

To say that we should treat the Iraqis as victims of Saddam, while true, ignores the bigger truth that they have paid, do pay today and will continue for some time to pay for the crimes and behavior of the previous government of Iraq. For the United States to have said that we must not bomb Bagdad to remove insurgent strongholds is very kindhearted, but we see that almost three-quarters of a million people have died anyway since we first went in. What has been spared, really? What kindness have we actually performed? To have flattened Bagdad and removed the places for the insurgents to breed might have led to fewer deaths. But, of course, war is fought on the front pages these days. And if we do, that battlefield is where we will lose. Political Correctness kills.

We in the West today are already far down the exact same path that we went down in the 1930s. Actually, it’s much worse today. At least in 1941, after we were attacked, we fought an all-out, no-holds-barred total war. Today, we don’t want to hurt anyone and we don’t want anyone to hate us. It is human nature to not learn from mistakes. It is human nature to just hope that everything will turn out OK. It is human nature to say that everything would be OK if you just let Mr. So-and-So have what he wants – and to blame the violence on those who actively oppose the forces of evil. Even as they were marched into the gas chambers, people said, “Oh, they won’t hurt us. Why would they do that?” Astounding really.

Either we are going to fight a war, or we are going to enforce the law. In one scenario we obliterate the enemy and those with whom he allies himself. In the other, we serve warrants on people who publically behead our soldiers and countrymen and sternly warn them to show up for their court dates.


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