Sunday, February 20, 2005

What The Left Fears

During a discussion with a person on the left, I was discussing the idea of spreading democracy and freedom through whatever means necessary. Whether that is through wars against tyrants and dictators who are also a threat to our security, or through diplomatic and economic pressure, whatever it takes, because only those two things would finally minimize the chances of totalitarians and evil idealisms from rising.

The person with which I shared this conversation said that our ideal of spreading freedom and democracy was a “new and dangerous ideology” that bordered on the fascist Nazi ideology of the 1940’s.

He pointed out the fascist ideology had a core tenet of unceasing war. He is correct as Mussolini himself wrote “What Is Fascism?” in which he indicates that the state must decry pacifism and always prepare for or commit war which keeps the state refreshed with new materials, lands, people, etc. His contention was that the War on Terror was an unceasing war because there would always be those willing to commit such acts under whatever guise, whether nationalistic or ideological or simply criminal intent. He pointed to the last 20 years of “war on drugs” and, before that, the small wars against creeping communism in our southern hemisphere.

He pointed out that our ideology of spreading “freedom and democracy” sounded a lot like Hitler insisting that the German people in other countries should have “self determination” which they did not have under the other national regimes.

What they fear is the rise of an ideology so powerful that nearly an entire nation would subscribe to it and buy into it while the government used that ideology to press its own agenda of spreading influence over governments and resources in order to insure the supremacy of one country over all nations.

What they fear is any actions that use military might to gain this influence and would go to war, unprovoked, in their eyes, or through some cover of an alleged incident. One must not forget that Hitler invaded Poland over a trumped up incident of an attack by Polish troops on a German communications station.

What they fear is that America, with all of its military strength, would invoke a world war on a pretext in order to expand her hold on territory, to expand hegemony, under whatever guise and the people would go along with it if they believed either in spreading their particular ideology or in the paramount need for security. Both things which have forever been invoked by many regimes before, clear back through history, past the Nazis, past Napoleon, through colonial history, back to the Roman Empire, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, back to time immemorial.

I understood his concerns, but disagreed with his core analogy. There are significant differences, although, if one stared at the similarities long enough I suppose one could be swayed to that side of the argument.

Of course, if you lay on the ground, staring up at a starry sky, one could also be convinced that it is the stars that are moving around earth and not the earth moving.

What they feared in the Iraq war would seem to have come true in their eyes. Without Iraq using chemical or biological weapons against our soldiers on the battle field, without the definitive proof of even a few barrels of these agents, or massive numbers of missiles in preparation of such an event or even a viable and massive program for nuclear weapons located on the ground, the idea of WMD and security would seem to have been such a pretext.

You could even see it historically in our war against Spain in Cuba, our war in the Philippines prior to World War II, our support for Panamanian liberation and a number of other small wars.

One must also look to such countries as France and the EU that would place itself, at least diplomatically and economically, as an opposition to America, in order to balance out, in some way, the possibility of one supreme state power.

It is with purpose that I catalogue what they fear.

First, because we should never forget that just below the surface of any enterprise or any ideology is the possibility that it turns away from its original intent, ever so slowly, and becomes that thing that is feared without our fully acknowledging it before it is too late. We should forever have this in our minds in every endeavor that we undertake lest we become the thing that we fear.

Secondly, because I wish to point out where in the differences lay.

The war in Iraq had many different reasons. I have attempted to point out to those that we have these discussions with that WMD was one factor and one factor only and that its actual existence was theorized and expected, but the main concern was that it would be developed in such a way that it would become a weapon, capable of extorting power within a region that has significant value, not just to America, but to the entire world.

If one wants to or needs to look for similarities to the rise of a powerful fascist state, I would point out the similarities of the cult of personality of Saddam, his own form of storm troopers, his own SS and Gestapo in the form of the Republican Guard, the Fedayeen Saddam and the mukhabarat. I would point out that even in Nazi Germany children would fly kites while thousands and soon millions were rounded up into ghettos and then concentration camps and finally into mass graves, in the same way that Saddam rounded up hundreds of thousands, in large actions against entire villages or small actions against a few or in the quiet arresting of dissidents who were imprisoned or herded into ghettos like Sadr city or found dead in mass graves or delivered in pieces to their families. Who can forget Hitler’s night of the long knives in which he purged his own party of suspected agents or possible opposition to his power in the same manner that Saddam, in one parliamentary setting, rounded up his opposition and had them disposed of, only sending back their ashes and personal effects in a box or their bodies.

These are all characteristics of a fascist, totalitarian government.

In the same manner in which Germany defied the Treaty of Versailles and re-armed itself did Saddam defy sanctions and attempt to do the same. In the same manner in which Hitler declared the Rhineland part of Germany and invaded it to re-secure it Saddam had attempted to annex Kuwait. His purpose was to gain more resources for his country and revenue from the same for continuing armament. We cannot forget his continued targeting of coalition planes through out the 11 years preceding the final dissolution of his fascist state. Saddam also attempted to “Arabize” Iraq first through the displacement of its citizens internally and giving it to “Arabs”, with his insistence on enforcing Arab culture, Arab language, Arab dress and the suppression of any culture or religious practices that did not fit within his idea of “Arab” national identity.

There are so many similarities, which include the world’s greater intent to largely ignore if not actively participate in limited assistance to his re-creation of a powerful Iraq in order to extort or actively seek control of the states and resources around him.

If one were to look for similarities of Nazism and the rise of a fascist ideology and state, you could look at Iraq, but I believe that our friends on the left, noble may their concerns be, have totally missed the significant points.

What they are concerned about is that we were not attacked directly from that state. What I would put forth is that we have two choices: to recognize immediately the rise of fascist ideologies that would endanger the world or to leave it un-opposed, as we have done in the past, until it was powerful enough to actually attack and would cause a war in which hundreds of thousands, if not millions, die.

This pre-emptive strike is what they fear will become a rolling war against every potential enemy.

I disagree that this is the new rise of a fearful and fascist ideology here. It seems that our friends on the left find it much easier to look within and decry potential similarities here than to gaze upon a world rife with that ideology for real and see what the future becomes if we wait as they wish, holding back our armies and wait for that attack.

What they fear is the thing that their fear will most likely bring to pass. In the lead up to the second world war, the United States had weakened itself considerably militarily, believing that world war was a one time thing and insisting that they would never again participate. That very weakness led to the rise of fascist Germany and the slow creeping of imperial Japan, also intent on gaining power and resources.

This time we are more prepared, though not entirely, that is the main difference. This time we acted before it could be established, that is the difference. This time we recognized the other fascist ideology arising from the wahabist doctrine and manifesto of Qutb, forwarded by Zawahiri and Osama Bin Laden like Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”. One could look at Zarqawi as the new and improved Himmler.

Our friends would have us tie one hand behind our back to limit the possibility of America becoming the thing that they fear, all the while their eyes are turned away from true danger of rising fascist ideologies that would throw the entire world into war.

In some respects, it may have been easier to turn our head away from this rising ideology and allow it to take over a state or multiple states and pose a direct and undeniable threat to the world before declaring war. This is something that our friends would have recognized and possibly considered legitimate. It would have been easier to fight a state than to fight guerillas. But, what would not have been easier to swallow is the number of casualties that would have been inflicted.

They say never again, but we mean it.

The difference in our actions compared to real and dangerous ideological states would be that we will not retain any territory or the resources, but will leave a self-governing state behind. Should we go to war again, we will do the same, again. The difference will be that we will not insist on the creation of clone states. We will not control their resources and we will leave without rounding up entire populations and burning their bodies in the crematorium, burying their bodies in mass graves, gassing them in chambers or tattooing them with numbers that they will forever live with as a reminder.

The difference is that “freedom and democracy” are not new ideologies. The difference is that “freedom and democracy” do not engender fascist societies. The difference is that “freedom and democracy” are not a “dangerous ideology”, but the anti-dote.

The difference is that we are not set on conquering whole land-masses to spread our ideology, obtain resources and fortify whole regions. If we were, I doubt seriously we would have started with the middle east.

The difference is that we do not insist on “self determination” for only one group of people, but all people within these nations and, while we might hope that these nations would arise a friendly nation, what we expect is that they will at least not be an enemy. We don’t expect that we will be a default governate of the US.

There are many differences, not the least of which is that we did not continue on into Syria or Iran or any other country for that matter.

Or course, at the same time, we must listen to our friends on the left and note what we say and do. Sometimes, when you are fighting the monster without, you begin to relate to the monster in order to counter his next moves. With only a small push, we could become the monster.

This is what the left fears the most. This is what we should heed as we move forward.

Yet, in closing, I would remind our friends on the left what happens when the real monsters are ignored. In ignoring them, you may reap the very thing you wished to avoid.

8 comments:

91ghost said...

The clock is ticking...

Brian H said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brian H said...

Oh, a fine article. MSM, eat your heart out.

Here's a question to ponder. Given the entrenched cultural and political conditions that have held down the populations and economies of the ME for so long, what one change or new factor could one introduce to most improve things?

Surely a functioning democracy with a thriving self-directed market economy would qualify. Iraq is going to be one, probably, and Afghanistan may be (it has a deeper cultural and economic hole to climb out of). I refer you to the lines in the Opinion Journal article, which envisions and correctly describes, ". . . eight million Iraqis stood against bombs to vote, [as] millions sat in front of televisions in other nations, wishing for this opportunity," and projects, "If it can happen in what was Saddam Hussein's Iraq, it may happen too in Yemen, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan or Iran. Imagine the effect on the Arab street if its inhabitants saw that Arabs can win a Nobel Peace Prize [the recommendation of the article's author], and the world's admiration, by casting votes as free men and free women."

It seems the Left is actually totally unwilling to either "give peace a chance" or trust the democratic countries of the world to use force wisely. The issue of Old Continental Europe's demurral in this current enterprise is a serious one, of course, but considering that the total projectable force it can muster is estimated at something like 5% of the US' capabilities, it is almost a moot point. And the Oil for Bribes revelations pretty much discredit the pronouncements of any of the current political leadership there.

MichaelH121 said...

Again Kat you nailed it.

Hitler WAS never elected. He never received more than 36% of the vote. But the Nazi party was violent so Hitler was given a position the placate them. He soon took over.

The difference is that America is not a country of fear. If the military was to be used against Americans those soldiers who would be going down a street to pacify the populus would be wondering which unit was going down their street at the same time.

Freedom cannot be used against itself. Only fear can. The only "Sheep, or lemmings or robots" are those on the left who seem unable to think for themselves. They hear WMD and that is the only thing they remember. It was one of a few reasons and not the top one at that.

If GW lied about WMD than so did France, Germany, England, the UN, etc... of course when I have mentioned that to a liberal they somehow think there is a US-GW-Carl Rove conspiracy, and the US controls those world powers. If I deny that is possible they claim I am part of it.

As Ben Franklin said of conspiracies in politics, "A conspiracy between 3 people only works when 2 of them are dead."

Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

Today's left would never go to war even if Chinese tanks were rolling down Hollywood Boulevard.

I think generally the majority of today's right have the right idea with regard to foreign policy, but it would be far better served if the right had leadership that didn't stutter every other word, and then go back on every scintilla of hawkishness and fly out to Europe to beg them for permission to negotiate with Iran. In that sense, the right-wing FP agenda WOULD be useful if it could only be tried once in a while.

Jason Rubenstein said...

Ciggy..

Today's Left would most certainly go to war to support one of "their" progressive agendas.

And, they'll go to war when lead by a charismatic - Clinton lead them happily enough into Kosovo, and perhaps they'd have gone gleefully into Darfur as well.

Tom said...

Great post Kat. The left really doesn't like the use of American military power, unless it is used for strictly humanitarian purposes like in Haiti or for the Tsunami. This is because for them it's all about feeling good about themselves, "we're good pure people uncorrupted by 'national interest'"

The funny part is that during the Cold War they criticized the US for supporting authoritarian govermnents. Now that we're pushing for democracy it's "your pushing your morality on others" Go figure.

As far as the 'endness war' business goes, people who say that are just whacked out and there's no debating them. People who compare the US or what we're doing to fascist Italy or Nazi Germany usually make me too damn angry to debate or even discuss matters with them. I find it hard to control my temper when they're so far whacked out.

I suppose that poor teaching of US and world history in our schools is part of the problem. What do you think?

Mike's America said...

Kat:

Some of these lefties have gone way beyond just a "red state/blue state" understanding of things. They've perverted language in the Orwellian 1984 mode to the point where Bush is evil and foreign jihadists beheading innocents in Iraq are "freedom fighters."

It is truly sad, that facing as we do very difficult life and death issues, there is no principled opposition that might help guide our nation's political process.