Archive for Friday, March 14, 2003

Peace and evil

March 14, 2003


A Nobel Peace laureate believes there is no choice in the Iraq attack scenario.

Elie Wiesel is a Nobel Peace laureate, a Holocaust survivor, a champion of human rights and a longtime seeker of war crimes' perpetrators. He admits he is weary of violence, trouble and turmoil; that under normal circumstances he might be among the peace marchers who have been demonstrating against war with Iraq.

"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. ... Though I oppose war, I am in favor of intervention when, as in this case because of Saddam Hussein's equivocations and procrastinations, no other option remains. The recent past shows that only military intervention stopped bloodshed in the Balkans and destroyed the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Moreover, had the international community intervened in Rwanda, more than 800,000 men, women and children would not have perished there."

Wiesel, like many others, believes that had Europe's powers intervened against Adolf Hitler's ambitions in 1938 instead of appeasing him in Munich, the unprecedented horrors of World War II might well have been prevented.

Time, he adds, always plays in dictators' favor. Says Wiesel:

"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."

Hussein is an established serial mass murderer. He has killed tens of thousands of his own people, gassing them. He invaded Kuwait in 1990. He then set oilfields afire causing horrific environmental damage. There were countless other acts that should have brought him to the bar as a heinous criminal against humanity.

Adds Wiesel: "Add to the evidence against him Saddam's conversation with CBS anchor man Dan Rather. Listening to him declaring that Iraq was not defeated in 1991 made one wonder about his sanity; he appears to live in a world of fantasy and hallucination.

"The nightmarish question of what such a man might do with his arsenal of unconventional weaponry is why, more than ever, some of us believe in intervention. We must deal sooner rather than later with this madman whose possession of weapons of mass destruction threatens to provoke an ever-widening conflagration.

"What it comes down to is this: We have a moral obligation to intervene where evil is in control. Today, that place is Iraq."

That's not what many would prefer to hear, but it would be difficult to paint the picture more accurately and more clearly than this man who has seen so much evil while always working to promote peace.

Correction: An earlier online version of this story incorrectly read, "Wiesel, like many others, believes that had Europe's powers intervened against Adolf Hitler's ambitions in 1958...." The year should have read "1938." The error has been corrected above.

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