Is war a necessary evil?

Published 1:52 am Wednesday, March 19, 2003

By By James Crawford
News Editor
"Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more; In peace there's nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility; But when the blast of war blows in our ears, then imitate the action of the tiger…"
These words from Shakespeare's Henry V echo the sentiment many Americans and certainly Atmorians are feeling right now when you mention the impending war with Iraq. When I say impending, I mean just that. The waiting is almost over. The crisis is at our door. We are definitely going to war – again – with Iraq, and more specifically Saddam Hussein.
The war that should have ended a decade ago is right back in our face. Same story. Different day. Different man in charge on our end the same on theirs. But, the outcome will hopefully be decisively different this time. I do think that this Bush, in contrast to his father, is all about getting the job done. I think he'll take out Hussein and the entire country of Iraq if it gets in his way. I'm just not sure that's such a good thing to be able to say.
Without a doubt, most American's are in favor of the war against Iraq and the general citizenry of Atmore is included in that number from the people I've talked with this week and the Advance's online poll. Convinced that Hussein has biological weapons and missiles capable of mass destruction, the Bush administration has made a good case against a bad man.
I do believe Hussein has biological weapons or at least a program in place to develop them and I do believe he's an awful tyrant to his own people and lastly I do believe he's tied to Al-Qaida in some form or fashion.
And although it does appear to have reached the point that we have to step in and do something over there, I don't believe it's a good thing. No matter what the outcome of a war with Iraq, it should never be described as a good and noble thing to do.
The fact is we're are heading over there to clean up the mess Bush senior and the political process left behind when they didn't finish the job in the early 90s. Some say we are even partially to blame for leaving him in power and letting him continue to thrive. I'm not sure I disagree.
And there is no way to truly win now. If we take out Hussein someone will step into his place to rule. There is no way to set up a self-supporting democracy in a land where the people live and breath by a religious edict that prohibits the idea of democracy. It's simply futile and will only last for a little while.
The country of Iraq, unless we station troops there indefinitely, will revert back to tribal warfare and a dictatorship. That's the way they were raised and that's a part of their culture that goes back a long time. Bush needs to realize this. Iraq is not a Christian nation and won't be one anytime soon. They recognize a strict form of religious doctrine and they WANT to be ruled by it. So simply taking out Hussein won't do the trick.
There has to be something said for a nation growing in culture and wisdom to the point of developing democracy and peace on its own. If they don't realize it for themselves then it will never stick. You can't shove the constitution down their throat and say swallow. They haven't fought for those rights. Don't understand the rights and the freedoms that it contains and therefore aren't ready to put their head on the pillow of democracy and sleep under the blanket of freedom. They simply aren't ready for it.
But that doesn't mean we can turn the other cheek in the meantime. If Hussein blows up the oil fields and interrupts trade then that could send the United States into a depression or a tailspin out of control and that's the good part. Obviously, if he has nuclear or biological weapons the world is in grave danger.
The danger does also exist though of the United States becoming that which we despise – a tyranny. Now, don't get me wrong. I support our boys in action as much as anyone. It's the leaders that I question. Too many people with their hands in the pie and something to gain can not be trusted.
I do think we have the right to proceed against Iraq if we have proof he's tied to Al-Qaida. We have the right to strike back and defend ourselves against terrorists. If Mexico attacked us, clearly we should have the right to defend ourselves and pursuing Hussein is an effort to continue defending ourselves against the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. But, if the evidence isn't there to tie him to the attacks then we do not have the right to attack.
It's dangerous to watch The United States disregard the United Nations completely and head out on its own. The United Nations, despite all its flaws, is still the worlds best chance for global democracy and the United States is blatantly disregarding them. That doesn't make me sleep so well at night. I know we have to trust the leaders we have elected to be in charge but the leaders in the United Nations are supposed to be equally trustworthy.
There is little doubt that the United States is the most powerful country in the world with the most awesome Army and the most diversified culture. However, The United States is also increasing becoming viewed as a global tyrant who steps in whenever interests conflict with her own – a reputation that is not to be proud of. The founding fathers never intended us to be a global police and we don't have the right to impose our values on others. That's just not the American way.
We have a great nation and many things to be proud of but if we continue to step in and police every single problem on Earth we will eventually destroy the ideas and foundation upon which United States was founded. Let's get this Iraq mess finished once and for all and then concentrate on solving the United States' problems. We have plenty to do here. We don't need to cross the ocean and butt into other people's business.
James Crawford is News Editor of The Atmore Advance. He can be reached by phone at 368-2123 or by e-mail at

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