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Peace Isn't Possible In Evil's Face

Elie Wiesel

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March 17, 2003

Under normal circumstances, I might have joined those peace marchers who, here and abroad, staged public demonstrations against an invasion of Iraq. After all, I have seen enough of the brutality, the ugliness, of war to oppose it heart and soul. Isn't war forever cruel, the ultimate form of violence? It inevitably generates not only loss of innocence but endless sorrow and mourning. How could one not reject it as an option?

And yet, this time I support President Bush's policy of intervention to eradicate international terrorism, which, most civilized nations agree, is the greatest threat facing us today. Bush has placed the Iraqi war into that context; Saddam Hussein is the ruthless leader of a rogue state to be disarmed by whatever means is necessary if he does not comply fully with the United Nations' mandates to disarm. If we fail to do this, we expose ourselves to terrifying consequences.

In other words: Though I oppose war, I am in favor of intervention when, as in this case because of Saddam's equivocations and procrastinations, no other option remains...had the international community intervened in Rwanda, more than 800,000 men, women and children would not have perished there...Had Europe's great powers intervened against Adolf Hitler's aggressive ambitions in 1938 instead of appeasing him in Munich, humanity would have been spared the unprecedented horrors of World War II.

Does this apply to the present situation in Iraq? It does. Saddam must be stopped and disarmed. Even our European allies who oppose us now agree in principle, though they insist on waiting...But time always plays in dictators' favor. Having managed to hide his biological weapons, Saddam's goal is to be able to choose the time and the place for using them. Surely that is why he threw out the U.N. inspectors four years ago. If he now appears to offer episodic minor concessions, just as surely that is because American troops are massing at his borders.

Read the entire article on the Orlando Sentinel website (link closed).



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