Commonsense contingent? |

Commonsense contingent?

Paul Davis

Whether you call this point of view pacifist, peacenik, liberal, unpatriotic or even (gasp!) treasonous matters not – all forsake the true import that lies therein. We are led racing toward the brink of possible decimation, and the clear answer lies rooted firmly in nothing so romantically labeled, but rather in good old-fashioned common sense.

Common sense, I say, for several reasons: First, the whole premise of war against Iraq lies in its failure to comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions

regarding its illegal possession of weapons of mass destruction. This, the Bush administration insists, jeopardizes America’s homeland security, as well as that of the rest of the world.

All right, point taken. However, it is vital to note that the 20 terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center Sept. 11, 2001, did not use weapons of mass destruction; they employed methods far more creative. And, as we know, 18 of these Arabs hailed from Saudi Arabia, not Iraq. Same region, different country.

Perhaps we are concentrating on the wrong nation when we speak so breezily of executing the aggressive portion of Operation Enduring Freedom, which incidentally was first dubbed Operation Infinite Justice, before the powers that be recognized the mistake in applying a slogan synonymous with the concept of perpetual war to something as ostensibly benign as homeland protection.

And what of Enduring Freedom? How will the United States justify claiming as its purpose the liberation of Iraqis and others living under oppressive regimes

if it ignores the pleas of a growing contingency of its own citizens – and many Europeans – to let patience and reason dictate its course?

The hypocrisy inherent in pushing forward with war, when a viable and less pernicious alternative would be more easily taken, may prove too much to overcome. It is difficult to imagine the people of Iraq viewing the United States as altruistic as bombs rain down upon them.

Since the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf War, economic sanctions alone have resulted in the deaths of more than 2 million Iraqi woman and children, nearly all of whom died from starvation and malnutrition.

Then there is the issue of regional solidarity. We won’t improve our already poor standing in the Middle East by picking on a nation there comprised wholly of Arabs. Any nation. We will only increase our sizable credibility gap with those folks, while increasing our vulnerability to fresh, clandestine and non-conventional attacks by Arabs, who won’t even have to be citizens of Iraq to want to participate. History dictates.

At any rate, many legitimate questions regarding this proposed military undertaking remain unaddressed by the Bush administration; and those who subscribe to the commonsense viewpoint should not accept military action until they are.

We owe this to every person who has ever died or been maimed in warfare to ensure that we as Americans retain this right – this duty, really, to question and protest ill-thought-out plans of a military nature that involve sending our young men and women to far-off lands for questionable purposes. Our doing so validates the sacrifices they made … and shows that indeed we can progress as a people. For, as a wise man once said, an error does not become a mistake unless you fail to learn from it.

Freedom and democracy are not givens. You measure them by how often and successfully you exercise them. The time has come to do so.

For if we are to err – and history illustrates that mankind is, if nothing else, flawlessly imperfect – it will behoove us to err on the side of common sense.

Paul Davis is the Daily’s assistant news editor. He can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 604, or

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