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War: Brazil, I Beg to Differ

 War: 
        Brazil, I Beg to Differ

The
‘warrior race’ theory of North American genetics
presupposes that we all love war. It overlooks the fact that
idealism isn’t altogether dead in the U. S., and that many
young men and women might actually be willing to
sacrifice their lives for other human beings.
by: Phillip
Mizewski

 

Many
Brazilians appear to have reached a startling conclusion about the evolution
of human life in North America. The ‘smart money’ in Brazil these days
seems to favor the idea that the DNA of citizens in the United States
is a near perfect match with that of the fictional Klingon race of Star
Trek fame. While I’ve spent enough time in Brazil to understand that
political and trade policies have fostered resentment toward the United
States, I believe that the Iraq War "feeding frenzy" of anti-American
sentiment warrants reconsideration.

I agree
with Brazilian sentiment that this war was avoidable, and should have
been avoided. I disagree with Brazilian sentiment as to how the
war could have been avoided. Any student of history can tell you that
appeasement only plays into the hands of a brutal dictator. Perhaps
Tony Blair has remained so steadfast in his alliance with the United
States more because he remembers the folly of Chamberlain’s appeasement
of Hitler than because of anything having to do with 9/11.

I think
it far more probable that Saddam Hussein would have more fully cooperated
with UN inspections had every member of the UN Security Council remained
steadfastly committed to ‘solidarity’ in supporting the resolution which
each of them had agreed to last autumn. Yes, it’s true that the United
States, Great Britain and their "coalition of the willing"
could have simply backed down. But, again, history tells us that appeasement
only encourages tyrants to press for further advantage.

It
seems to me that the suffering of so many millions of Iraqi citizens
has been of little genuine interest to either the far right pro-war
lobby or the far left anti-war lobby. Those on the right seem to drag
out the "we’ve got to liberate the oppressed" banner anytime
they feel the need for military intervention. Otherwise, the silent
suffering of tens of millions of Africans, Asians and Latin Americans
goes on largely unabated.

Those
on the far left seem to be so resentful of this tactic that they suddenly
leap to protest the ‘murder’ of thousands of innocent civilians in time
of war when they themselves stood silently by while millions died at
the hands of a brutal regime. Why should I believe that either side
has assumed a "morale high ground"? I don’t.

I disagree
with U.S. reliance on bombast and threats of intimidation. Whatever
happened to "speak softly and carry a big stick"? Saber rattling
is a form of political viagra for the morally impotent. And our penchant
for flag waving isn’t helping either. For sure, I have an American flag,
and I display it on some holidays _ like Memorial Day and the Fourth
of July. But when that young Marine draped the U.S. flag over the head
of the statue of Saddam in central Baghdad I cringed.

As
a former Marine I cringed at this public display of lack of discipline.
As an American I cringed because I immediately understood the negative
impact that this failure of self-restraint would have on public opinion
toward the United States in the Arab world. Predictably, the image was
played over and over again on Arab television, and made the front-page
of anti-American newspapers around the globe. And I cringed simply because
the act was so incredibly insensitive.

NBC,
no thank you, compounded the sin by putting the young Marine on national
television to explain how enthusiasm had gotten the better of him and
how he was honoring the memory of our loss from 9/11. Any good basketball
coach will tell you that the clock, not the other team, becomes the
enemy near the end of the game. I fear we’re not really recognizing
who the enemy is at times. Do Brazilians really imagine that the United
States is an enemy of peace? Do North Americans really imagine that
Saddam Hussein was the be-all and end-all of our problems in Iraq? And
who, or what, is our real enemy with respect to terrorism?

Osama
bin Laden clearly warrants billing as "Public Enemy Number One".
But eradicating Osama bin Laden without effectively addressing the larger
underlying problems that produced him will be futile. I’m sure we can
track down any individual terrorist czar and eliminate him (or her).
But the act of doing so will only alleviate the symptom, and only temporarily.
Unless we treat the illness, the ‘root cause’, another terrorist czar
will rise to fill the void. That young Marine should have restrained
himself because failing to do so was disrespectful. "Political
correctness" didn’t have anything to do with it; America’s image
had everything to do with it.

I didn’t
vote for our current President and, apparently, neither did a majority
of the minority of other Americans who bother to participate in our
national elections. Who can argue with criticism of our "electoral
college" approach to determining who will reside in the White House?
Our system isn’t perfect. But the ‘warrior race’ theory of North American
genetics presupposes that we’re all of one mind and that we all love
war. It overlooks the fact that idealism isn’t altogether dead in the
United States, and that many young men and women might actually be willing
to sacrifice their lives for other human beings.

True,
it may not be likely that any of these idealists will some day preside
over our nation, but their own accomplishments are not diminished by
the motivations and political leaders and the ideologies of political
parties. We, in the United States, live in a very imperfect society.
Human beings, by nature, are very imperfect. But can we be less cynical
and more even-handed in our assessments of current events.

 

Philip
Mizewski is a past regular contributor to Brazzil. Other of his
articles may be viewed at http://www.iei.net/~pwagner/brazilhome.htm 
by selecting them using the select bar in the left frame. You
can reach him at  pmizewski@hotmail.com

 

 

 

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