The politics of war, part II |

The politics of war, part II

Butch Mazzuca

Histor-ians chastise Neville Cham-berlain for his appeasement of Hitler in Munich – but has the United States done something similar regarding Saddam Hussein?

Placating totalitarian regimes does not work. It never has and it never will. When true evil appears on this earth, it must be dealt with as one must deal with the plague – destroy the pestilence before it destroys you.

Terrorists bent on destroying our way of life have already altered our society forever, and our children are growing up in a society more restrictive than the one we inherited – the real tragedy of our generation.

We can only conjecture if terrorists have the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction. But regardless of whether they do or don’t, does anyone really believe that the use of these weapons is becoming less of a threat?

A continuing menace to our country and our way of life will exist as long as poverty and totalitarianism are a way of life in the Middle East. Madrassas from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan will continue to proselytize their young men with virulent strains of anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism. This indoctrination will persist until they are in some way coerced to cease.

People everywhere want peace, freedom and justice, yet there is no government in the Middle East where those hallowed concepts are allowed except in Israel. Only in Israel can Jews, Christians and Muslims live together, become citizens and vote.

William Bennett recently wrote, “The day that the Arab world makes its own inner peace with the existence of Israel, and validates the right for a sovereign Jewish state to exist, is the day that the Arab-Israeli conflict will end – and not until then.”

Stated simply, if the Arabs really wanted peace they would have it, which gives credence to the theory that the underpinnings of all the conflict in the Middle East is little more than the repugnant specter of anti-Semitism.

Others see the obverse side of the coin. The Wall Street Journal recently wrote, “The hatred of Israel is in large part a surrogate for anti-Americanism. S If Israel had never come into existence, or if it were magically to disappear, the U.S. would still stand as the embodiment of everything that most of these Arabs consider evil.”

It’s an argument that’s difficult to refute when one reflects back upon the newscasts showing crowds of Muslims around the world deliriously celebrating in the streets immediately after 9/11. Thousands of Muslims exalted in the extinction of American lives and the humiliation of the Great Satan at the hands of Arabs.

Militant Islamic ideology arose in the mid-’70s and has its roots in the extreme brand of Islam known as Wahhabism. Wahhabism’s relevant precepts are xenophobia and religious intolerance. The immediate goal of Wahhabism is to establish totalitarian theocracies throughout the Middle East and then foist their corrupted and violent notions of Islam upon Israel and the United States.

Conversely, does even the most rancorous anti-Westerner believe that the United States or Israel has plans to conquer Islam and convert Muslims to Christianity or Judaism?

For those who feel a war to remove Saddam Hussein from power cannot begin until the Israeli-Palestinian issue is settled, there are those who feel the Israeli-Palestinian issue cannot not be settled until Saddam Hussein is removed from power.

Fanatical imams, rapacious potentates and unashamed anti-Semitism all serve to convolute the issues of the Middle East, which provides the obfuscation Saddam Hussein needs to furnish financial aid, training and all manner of support for terrorists. No matter how we try to give it perspective, the Byzantine dominoes of the region are held in place because of the presence of Saddam Hussein.

In 1938 Neville Chamberlain told the world, “Peace in our time.” It was an illusion. Peace was impossible with Adolph Hitler in power. Sixty years later we are dealing with enemies every bit as evil except now they lurk in shadows.

Removing Saddam Hussein may include war against Iraq and with it horrific death and destruction. Saddam knows that if we go to war, his removal will be the objective. Thus, it seems logical that he will use every weapon at his disposal. So is it wise to risk a bio or chemical attack against our young soldiers overseas or our water supplies at home to remove him?

An invasion of Iraq will put the Middle East’s oil supplies in jeopardy and will likely have severe consequences to the world economy and our stock market. It appears then that before undertaking such a venture we must ask ourselves if removing Saddam is critical to the goal of winning the war on terror.

Conversely, does anyone really believe that the Middle East is becoming more stable, that terrorism is becoming less of a threat, or that these weapons are becoming less abundant?

Is it conceivable that the day Saddam is removed from power is the day we will shift from the defensive to the offensive in the war against terror?

Butch Mazzuca writes a weekly column for the Vail Daily and can be reached at

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