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Wednesday, December 11, 2002

War and Peace

Saddam banks on protesters to quash effort to strike Iraq
U.S. anti-war protests spread
Celebrities urge Bush to avoid Iraq war
Aragorn Thinks the US is Saruman
UPDATE: Sean Penn Arrives in Baghdad for Three-Day Visit

When you advocate a war---when you have examined the available evidence and come to the conclusion that the only resolution is force---you cannot help but know what you are doing. You are suggesting that people---almost certainly other people, not you---should go off and risk their lives for this cause. They in turn will kill still other people, sometimes people which were not particularly responsible for the policies of your adversary. That aside, war is disruptive, bad for the environment, business (in the long run), society, and unhealthy for children and other living things.

If you've spoken in favor of this war, and the war goes badly, you will be blamed. People will say you have blood on your hands. And even if the war goes well, many people will say that anyway. If there is peace, those people will remember that you advocated war.

You know all that when you speak out.

But if you are for peace, you have none of these worries. Peace is never wrong. Peacemakers are always on the side of the angels. You cannot be criticized, can never blame yourself, for advocating peace. Peace is only the absence of war, right? All that's necessary for peace is to refrain from (or cease) prosecuting war. So not only is urging peace easy, actually making peace is easy.

Now, if you advocate peace, and war comes, and the war goes badly, you can say, "I told you so". Maybe you'll even be pleased. If the war does not go badly, then you can always pretend it did.

And if you are successful in preventing war, you can sit back in satisfaction of a job well done. You will never have to worry that it was a mistake. You will never have to fear recriminations.

For example, you will never have to worry about Iraqis or Afghans or Iranians coming up to you and spitting on you. You will never have to worry about them "thanking" you for saving their oppressors. For the continued starvation. For the missing loved ones.

You will never have to worry about these people screaming that you have blood on your hands.

Because odds are, they'll be dead.

And you may be too.