December 20, 2006

Wake Up America !

Incredible as it may seem, the question has been posed:"How are we any better than the nation that we are occupying?". First and most obviously it is because we are Morally Superior to our enemies. We hold the Moral High Ground because we have been dealt the first blow. Actually, we have been attacked repeatedly for the last 30 years and have barely responded. It took the massacre of nearly 3,000 American civilians and servicemen, live and in color, to provoke us to any meaningful response. And what was that response? Did the Middle East blossom like a gigantic Mushroom Garden? Was the enemy civilian population targeted for incineration as a just and proportional response? No. What actually happened was that America finally shed it's somnambulism and realized that we were at war with the Caliphate. Our first military ops were targeted at the Taliban Army and the Afghan regime which shielded it. We were Morally Superior to the Taliban because we had developed a culture of freedom that does not treat women as property,does not condone "Honor Killings" of wives, sisters, or daughters,does not stone people to death for their sexual preferences, does not blow up ancient historical artifacts, does not dismember people for perceived social improprieties,does not sponsor terrorist organizations that deliberately target civilians, does not fly airliners into buildings or blow up embassies or discotheques. Once the Taliban were routed we did not behead our prisoners, or drag their mutilated bodies through the streets, or hold them for ransom and terrorise their families. We still maintain a troop presence there to keep the peace and prevent the resurgence of the Taliban, and good Americans die every day in doing so. They are so Morally Superior to their enemies, that any comparison borders on the incomprehensible.

On to Iraq. We did not go to war for oil in Iraq, but to assure the free flow of oil to the Civilized World. We did not go to war out of fear of Saddams WMD, but because his refusal to fulfill his treaty obligations in this matter gave us the Moral Validity to remove the Baathist Regime and replace it with another. We were Morally superior to the Baathists because we did not govern through terror, we did not put people into tree shredders, we did not attack our neighbors repeatedly to steal their oil. We did not utilize rape as a political tool. We did not set Iraq's oil fields ablaze to create an environmental catastrophe, we did not strafe or use poison gas against our minority populations. We did not pay families to turn their children into human bombs. How did we topple this monstrous regime. Did we drop a couple of Megatons on Baghdad? Did we carpet bomb their economic and civilian structures back to the stone age a-la WWII?. No. We sent young American volunteers to go kill the bad guys and leave the civilians alone. This Moral restraint,this choice to take militarily unnecessary casualties to protect the civilians of a country with which we were at war is what makes us better than our enemies.

The "occupation". The Caliphate is scared. We now occupy the central position. That is why they are using every means possible to de-stabilize Iraq. These people are nothing more than terrorists and mobsters. We are their Moral Superiors because we do not hide behind our women when we fight. We wear uniforms that clearly mark us as targets, while they, in their cowardly fashion, wear civilian dress because they know that we are loath to kill civilians. Even though we are easy to spot in a foreign land, most of their terror bombings are against their own civilian populations. We are Morally superior to these beasts because we build schools and water treatment facilities while they blow up markets and mosques. We are Morally superior to them because we will fight house to house and room by room to try and kill bad guys and spare non-combatants. In doing so, American soldiers die. They are Morally superior to all of us because they have volunteered to defend civilization against barbarism and have paid the ultimate price for their courage.

The West. Western Civilization is morally superior to the theocracies and thugocracies of the middle east because we believe in individual freedom. We do not believe in"Submission" which is the literal translation of Islam. The west is morally superior because our science, philosophy, economic freedom and belief in equality have created on this planet more wealth, better health, longer life, greater freedom, incredible technologies, and literally lifted Mankind out of the Dark Ages.

Our enemies still live there. They do not have the will to free themselves. That is the difference between us. That is why we are better than our enemies. Let Freedom Ring!!



Aethelred said...

Iraq is justified because of the WTC attack? (Great artwork, BTW).
While the use of military force to punish Saddam for his failures to live up to the sanctions might have been justified (were it, in fact, an action taken by the body that imposed those self-same sanctions), it is the purest sophistry to assert that what is happening NOW in Iraq has anything to do with 9-11-01, terrorism, WMDs or "Moral Superiority".
Moral superiority is the provenance of the moral. War is not the venue for moralists and to even expect moral acts to arise out of a shooting conflict is, well, unworthy of the clear-thinking.
There is a disconnect between the stated goals of our mission in Iraq and the methods used to achieve. And the gulf (pardon) grows wider, as the President insists on actions in direct opposition to the recommendations of his own generals and advisors.
If nation building - that is to say, "a stable Iraq" - is our goal, then "surging" more troops into the conflict is bound to fail.
While the barrel of a gun may be the fount of much magic (political power, not the least), peace is not to be found in that gusher.
We've had this debate before, Muninn, and ultimately arrived at the conclusion (mutually conceded) that this war is in actuality a crusade against Islam.
History has much to say about past crusades, and those who promulgate them, but that assessment has not (to my knowledge) included the verdict "Morally Superior."
Pound the drums mightily, and march down that cross- and blood-littered path if you will, but retain some perspective, I implore you.

muninn said...

Sometimes you just confuse the heck out of me. First you post a link relating the tale of the detention of 2 american citizens who were"interrogated"(I do not see it as torture or as an atrocity)and eventually released after 97 days. Then you ask, How are we different than our enemies? I have given you your answer and by way of reply you state"War is not the venue for moralists and to even expect moral acts to arise out of a shooting conflict is,well,unworthy of the clear-thinking."
If that is true, what was the point of your post in the first place? It was almost certainly to depict the U.S as immoral, and by extension to imply that there is no diferrence between the way we treat our prisoners and the way the enemy treats them.Apart from the ad-hominum nature of your riposte, you appear to have tripped over your own rapier in the process.
P.S. The only real reason we are in Irak is to sieze the strategic middle ground and in effect give us an unsinkable base from which to conduct further offensive operations against the Caliphate. All else is smoke and mirrors. To abandon such a valuable piece of real estate in any near future is militarily incomprehensable ( or did you really believe all that stuff about U.N resolutions,WMD,elections, nation building, etc...) Nation States act in their own best interests. Always have, always will.
Talk about perspective? Sheesh!

Aethelred said...

Ah, don't be confused, Muninn! I forgive you.
The point, old son, is that I am intolerant of mendacity. If we are going to be world-conquering bastards, we should say so and not strut around gnashing our gums over our moral superiority and how we're only hunting tar-ists.
By the way, President Dubya made another beaut yesterday, calling the recovering soldiers he had visited himself upon in hospital "credible men and women".
I'm guessing he meant "incredible"? If not, one wonders at the implications of a man or woman being "not credible".
Feliz Navidad.

Basil said...

War and Morality

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873)

If an armed citizen were walking down the street, and witnessed a vicious mugging going on in an alley, his intervention with lethal force would be not only moral, such action would be obligatory. A criminal who steps so far outside the law that he is willing to kill his victim deserves no quarter. All societies have policemen whose job it is to stop violence with violence. In the United States this right extends to ordinary citizens. Sadly, this principal is not recognized by all societies with regard to individuals. In Britain, it is illegal for a victim to fight back lest he cause injury to his attacker. The sort of muddled thinking that allows criminals to act without risk to their persons is beyond my ability to comprehend. To expect citizens to present themselves as passive victims when confronted by criminals is not only ludicrous, the policy is deeply immoral.

What applies to individuals applies also to nations. Both Augustine and Aquinas recognized that the use of force ran contrary to Christian teachings. Yet both recognized that far worse things might happen if violence was not met with a righteous counter-response. The result is known as "Just War Theory." The philosophy of these to men was later codified in international law under the rubric known as "casus belli." Under certain conditions a nation has a right to go to war. Indeed, under certain circumstances, nations are morally obliged to go to war.

Saddam Hussein is a convicted criminal. He and his minions had been mugging the Iraqi nation for decades. Like most bullies, when his activity was met by an overwhelming counter-response, he quickly folded. Thugs are like jackels; they prey on the weak. They know better than to pick a fight with the lion. But was the United States morally justified to use military force against the Saddam regime? The answer is an unqualified 'Yes'. We not only held the moral high ground, we were by all standards of decency obliged to act in the name of Saddam's brutalized victims. In fact, we should have acted after Gulf One to remove his regime completely. The United States does not stand convicted of immorality for removing Saddam; we are guilty of immorality for not removing him sooner.

Oddly, the disloyal opposition is accusing President Bush of being a war criminal. Such people demonstrate the same muddled thinking that confounds the Brits. They cannot tell the victim from the criminal, nor the defender from the aggressor. Calls for impeachment of the president have not a legal leg to stand on. Mr. Bush has committed no crimes. Prior to the outbreak of hostilities in Gulf II, the U.S. Congress authorized the use of force, by a majority vote, in both houses. And WMD was never the issue. Nineteen separate casus belli were drafted into the legislation as justification for military action. I suppose being ruled by a congress composed mainly of lawyers has at least one advantage. They made sure what we did was legal by any standard of domestic or international law.

Some will claim that the U.S. should have deferred to the superior authority of the United Nations. Superior? Certainly not in any moral sense. Many of our ostensible "allies" were making big bucks by underwriting the Saddam regime with transfers of weapons and technology. As the situation developed, it became clear that U.N. bureaucrats had taken bribes and kick-backs in the Oil for Food scandal. The U.N. stands materially complicit in Saddam's crimes against his people. So much for the moral high ground claimed by those who enjoy a lack of accountability to any sort of voting constituency.

What the United States did in Iraq, is doing even now, is both moral and legal. Cries of "but you're killing innocent people" are emotional in their pitch and devoid of any understanding of the facts on the ground. We do not target innocents, but the enemy does so as a matter of policy. In one known incident it seems that some of our soldiers may have crossed the line. Apparently, they turned their weapons on civilians. But there is a diffference between us and the enemy. Our people will face court martial and have to answer for their actions. We call it justice. Can the enemy claim that their actions are based on any sort of justice? They have neither the law nor morality on their side. They are merely criminals and must be dealt with as such. The battle between civilization and barbarism rages on. Thus has it always been.