The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.
Warrensburg had a “Peace Parade” last Friday. Not having seen such a demonstration before, I picked a vantage point at Holden & Culton, by the 4-way stop. While waiting for the marchers, I had a revelation that might help solve Warrensburg’s financial problems. About 90% of the cars did a rolling stop, at best. An officer stationed on the bench in front of the library could hand out hundreds of tickets.
But, on to the parade. The protest signs I saw were of 3 general types. One type told us not to trust our government, another type attacked President Bush, and the third type was a generic anti-war sign,
I am normally suspicious of the exercise of political power at any level. However, in this case I wonder who might be more trustworthy. It would certainly be naďve to trust Saddam Hussein, a man whose armies have twice invaded neighboring countries and who has failed to comply with the requirements of the cease fire that ended his last repulse. Should we trust the leaders of France & Germany, whose opposition leaves them virtually alone in Europe? Perhaps we should trust in the wisdom of opinion polls; the same public opinion that on December 6, 1941 opposed our entry into WWII.
I am not sure what protestors gain by attacking President Bush with such signs as “Disarm Bush” or “Portrait of a Dictator.” I fail to see why the same people who think it proper to claim that this President is planning a war to distract from economic problems were incensed when others claimed his predecessor used military intervention to distract from personal problems. Certainly, the party not in power would not use a war protest as a partisan statement, would they?
It is well to be opposed to war as a matter of general principle. I would ask the people who stand on this principle to articulate under what conditions, short of a direct attack on the U.S., they believe war is permissible. Is it permissible to intervene if a leader is a threat to his own people? We did that in Haiti. What if the level of threat reaches the level of genocide? We did that in Kosovo. What if the threat is to neighboring countries? That’s why we attacked Yugoslavia to force it out of Bosnia. What if the U.S. is threatened but hasn’t been attacked? Or must we wait until one of our cities is a radioactive pit?
The signs I didn’t see could have addressed the only person who can avert an eventual war – Saddam Hussein. Maybe they could get him to join the society of exiled despots – then we could have “peace in our time.”
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