- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 18, 2002

In the midst of an historic drought, Washington-area TV weathermen and weatherwomen continue to inanely express delight when a rainstorm misses the metropolitan area. They are mentally conditioned to want to report sunshine even when rain is desperately needed. Similarly, diplomats (and peace-loving politicians everywhere) are mentally conditioned to want to avert war even when peace could be more lethal. Thus, Russian Foreign Minster Igor Ivanov upon hearing of Saddam Hussein's latest offer to admit inspectors immediately responded that: "Thanks to our joint efforts, we managed to avert the war scenario and go back to political means to solving the Iraq problem. It is essential in the coming days to resolve the issue of the inspectors' return. For this, no new [Security Council] resolutions are needed." Of course, diplomats were once famously described as honorable men whose job is to lie for their country. So it may be that Mr. Ivanov doesn't believe what he is saying.

But the contented clucking and cooing sounds currently being emitted by such other lovers of freedom and seekers of American security as U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin and Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa would suggest authentic relief at the thought that our invasion of Iraq may have been avoided. I suppose most of us prefer to do what we do well. (I prefer playing a decent round of golf to a humiliating afternoon of gymnastics even if the gymnastics would be better for me.) And what the plague of diplomats and prestige journalists around the world prefer to do (and do well) is manage and report on endless, pointless and peaceful U.N. games of who's got the salami with Saddam.

But there are many forms of peace. There is the peace that a parent can gain by giving in to their children's tantrums. But that peace will only yield a brood of brats. There is the peace that the slave has when he fails to rebel against his master. As Patrick Henry once said of that false peace: "Gentleman may cry peace, peace, but there is no peace … give me liberty or give me death." There is the peace that Winston Churchill's Cabinet unsuccessfully tried to force on him in May 1940. They wanted him to negotiate for peace with Hitler through Italy's Mussolini. But Churchill knew that if he wavered in Britain's stand against Hitler, he would never again be able to rally either his people or a still neutral United States to sustain the needed war to defeat the insatiable Hitler. And of course, there is the peace that we all shall someday gain: the peace of the grave. But that is merely a corporeal stillness not the heavenly peace of our souls. Sometimes it is necessary to avoid peace. Now is such a time. To borrow Mr. Ivanov's phraseology (though not his intent): We must avert the peace scenario and go back to military means to solve the Iraq problem. President Bush well understands these truths. A peace worth having is a peace worth fighting for.

The left has a slogan: If you want peace, fight for justice. Well, if we want a genuine peace, we will first have to fight for our own just security. Saddam has set himself up as the champion of the poor Arab street. He has portrayed himself as the new Saladin. He has made himself the false prophet of their search for dignity. He is providing both material and psychological support to the terrorists. He is leading them down a dead end that can only result in death and defeat. He is the only remaining Middle East leader to provide support and succor for the terrorist leader Yasser Arafat. (That is why Henry Kissinger has written that the road to peace in Jerusalem goes through Baghdad.) Before there can be hope and peace and justice in the Middle East, there must first not be Saddam. He has dug his own grave. It is time he is shoved into it.

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