Peace In Our Time

by Matt Soriano | 2/11/03 6:00am

I have to admire the anti-war crowd. I mean,

they've got such media luminaries as Ramsey Clark, Jane Fonda, Alec Baldwin, Dan Rather and Barbara Streisand on their side. Heck, Neville Chamberlain, Kim Philby (one of the Cambridge Communists who almost got full control of England's MI-5 back in the 1950s), and Philippe Petain (the great French fascist who the Germans put in place to run Vichy France from 1940-44) would be right at home marching against 21st century warfare. They've even got a local appeasenik group on college campuses called "Why War?" which questions nothing about the ethics of defending Saddam Hussein. Speaking of which, they rub elbows with prime movers in government too. Over the past two years, Slobodan Milosevic, Yasser Arafat and the Hero of Tikrit have all invited these characters to their countries and offered them five-star accommodations. Get in with them and you sleep free at a range of vital installations such as air defense headquarters, communications bunkers and the odd anthrax depot.

There's a little bit of noise at night, a slight risk of Tomahawk impact, and you could need a few shots before going in. Still, you can't beat the hospitality of a tyrant. Their warranty is better than anything the Intercontinental could provide. Satisfaction guaranteed or the person responsible is shot on the spot!

It's obvious that the anti-Gulf War II movement ranges all the way from academics to Hollywood stars to leaders of rogue states -- and maybe all the way back to academics again. Nonetheless, clearly they represent a majority of Americans. And by "majority opinion" I define, of course, the estimated 0.2 percent of the population lonely enough to accept James Zogby's considerate dinnertime telephone polling calls. As such this majority deserves an in-depth airing of their concerns over the current Gulf Crisis.

I think that their most valid issue with the war is about how it sets a precedent for American hegemony worldwide. It stands to reason that the United States belongs in a Hegemon's Hall of Fame up there with Victorian England and the Roman Empire after having variously subdued brutal dictatorships in Germany, Japan, Chile, Grenada and Panama, defeated communists over 45 years of aggression against South Korea, Afghanistan, Nicaragua and Vietnam and protected trade across two hemispheres. Heaven protect us from the prosperity, free elections and civil liberties underwritten by a muscular U.S. foreign policy. God forbid that the United States defend the world from one more dictator with a proven record of snubbing U.N. resolutions.

Indeed, we ought to fear the righteous anger of the Arab street, which obviously resists imperialist aggression by turning to Muslim fundamentalism and terror against American interests. That's right -- we ought to heed the opinion of angry mobs in the streets because that's a legitimate expression of concern. Such legitimate expression of concern should not be confused with democracy, because that's a culturally egotistical western construct inappropriate for Middle Eastern society and certainly not suited for Iraq. Governance characterized by rape, torture and the construction of an immense cult of personality is practiced with the implicit consent of Iraq's sovereign population. Instead, our democracy should be subordinated to the tyranny of the mobs.

The mobs, of course, would be severely affected by a war on Iraq. The impact of any war against Iraq's ordinary citizenry is much worse than the impact of Saddam's heroic expenditure of oil-for-food monies on such humanitarian items as the world's largest mosque, dozens of palaces until recently immune to UN inspection, a sizable secret police and Republican Guard and weekly demonstrations against American, British and Australian "crusaders." An impoverished population standing on top of a third of the world's oil should be allowed to wallow in their own despair instead of allowing American troops in to depose their kleptocrat-in-chief. Such is, of course, the unassailable logic of the anti-war movement.

As such, when the bombs begin to fall we must do nothing more than cheer on Iraqi heroism and blame America if Iraq uses its weapons of mass destruction on its neighbors. This is true because there is never any justification for war -- no matter how silly we look trying to justify the corrupt peace.