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February 23, 2004 - The War to Rid the World of Evil: The Argument in Favor Examined

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A few weeks ago I commented on the new book by Richard Perle and David Frum - An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror (Random House).  See January 11, 2004 - New books this week... for that.  Basically this is the new manifesto from the Bush "Freon Neocons" showing how we can and must rule the world.  Well, it sort of comes down to that. 

"For us, terrorism remains the great evil of our time, and the war against this evil, our generation's great cause.  We do not believe that Americans are fighting this evil to minimize it or to manage it.  We believe they are fighting to win - to end this evil before it kills again and on a genocidal scale.  There is no middle way for Americans: It is victory or holocaust."

You get the idea.  These two propose we overthrow the governments of Iran, Sudan, Syria, North Korea, perhaps Saudi Arabia and a few others, like Cuba, and occupy those countries until we force them each to form a new government more to our liking. 

Who are these guys?  On the dust jacket of his book, Richard Perle appends a Washington Post depiction of himself as the "intellectual guru of the hard-line neoconservative movement in foreign policy."  Before he was that - head of the policy board that advises Rumsfeld and Bush - Perle worked for Conrad Black, running the Jerusalem Post for him.  Needless to say, these new governments we create in our image would recognize Israel.  And David Frum was Bush's speechwriter, the man who came up with the "Axis of Evil" wording. 

I just came across a devastating review of the book by Pat Buchanan of all people. 

See No End to War
The American Conservative, Cover Story, March 1, 2004 Issue

Its long and really detailed.  I recommend it for observations like this. 


...no nation can "end evil."  Evil has existed since Cain rose up against his brother Abel and slew him. 

A propensity to evil can be found in every human heart.  And if God accepts the existence of evil, how do Frum and Perle propose to "end" it?  Nor can any nation "win the war on terror."  Terrorism is simply a term for the murder of non-combatants for political ends. 

Revolutionary terror has been around for as long as this Republic.  It was used by Robespierre's Committee on Public Safety and by People's Will in Romanov Russia.  Terror has been the chosen weapon of anarchists, the IRA, Irgun, the Stern Gang, Algeria's FLN, the Mau Mau, MPLA, the PLO, Black September, the Basque ETA, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade, SWAPO, ZANU, ZAPU, the Tupamaros, Shining Path, FARC, the ANC, the V.C., the Huks, Chechen rebels, Tamil Tigers, and the FALN that attempted to assassinate Harry Truman and shot up the House floor in 1954, to name only a few. 

Accused terrorists have won the Nobel Peace Prize: Begin, Arafat, Mandela.  Three lie in mausoleums in the capitals of nations they created: Lenin, Mao, Ho.  Others are the fathers of their countries like Ben Bella and Jomo Kenyatta.  A terrorist of the Black Hand ignited World War I by assassinating the Archduke Ferdinand.  Yet Gavrilo Princep has a bridge named for him in Sarajevo. 

The murder of innocents for political ends is evil, but to think we can "end" it is absurd.  Cruel and amoral men, avaricious for power and "immortality," will always resort to it.  For, all too often, it succeeds. 

But what must America do to attain victory in her war on terror? 

Say the authors: "We must hunt down the individual terrorists before they kill our people or others We must deter all regimes that use terror as a weapon of state against anyone, American or no" [emphasis added]. 

Astonishing.  The authors say America is responsible for defending everyone, everywhere from terror and deterring any and all regimes that might use terror - against anyone, anywhere on earth. 

But there are 192 nations.  Scores of regimes from Liberia to Congo to Cuba, from Zimbabwe to Syria to Uzbekistan, and from Iran to Sudan to the Afghan warlords of the Northern Alliance who fought on our side - have used torture and terror to punish enemies.  Are we to fight them all? 


Good question. 

It seems so.  And the curious thing is how Frum frames the issue. 

It's that "Axis of Evil" thing.  It seems is now our duty "to rid the world of evil," something even God doesn't try, as I understand it.  I think the idea is God allows for the possibility of free will - and thus some evil will occur.  But now the United States can fix that, and should?  We fight evil.  All of it.  Terrorism is just the outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual evil. 

The war, such as it is, will thus be over when, for a period of time, no evil occurs anywhere in the world, so we're sure we got it all.  Then we will know we have won - not sooner. 

Well, think big, and be optimistic.  It may seem like madness, but it is a plan. 

Of course, the price of wading into this Buchanan piece is that you get his usual rant about how the US is becoming a puppet of Israel and the Jews.  Sigh. 

But Buchanan does give us this:


... who are these men who would plunge our country into serial wars of preemption and retribution across the arc of crisis from Libya to Korea? 

Frum is not even an American.  He is a Canadian who did not become a citizen until offered a job in the Bush speechwriting shop.  He was cashiered after one year when his wife bragged on the Internet that David invented the "axis-of-evil" phrase. 

Expelled from the White House, Frum ratted out his old colleagues in a "hot" book and got himself hired by National Review, where he produced a cover story about a dirty dozen "Unpatriotic Conservatives" who hate neocons, hate Bush, hate the GOP, hate America, and "wish to see the United States defeated in the War on Terror."

Frum ordered all 12 purged from the conservative movement.  

... Who is Perle?  Unlike Frum, a cipher on foreign policy, Perle has been a serious player since the Nixon era.  But throughout those years he has betrayed a passionate attachment to a foreign power.  In 1996, Perle co-authored "A Clean Break," a now-famous paper urging Benjamin Netanyahu to dump the Oslo Accords, seize the West Bank, and confront Syria.  The road to Damascus lies through Baghdad, Perle told the receptive Israeli Prime Minister. 

Then an adviser to Republican candidate Robert Dole, Perle was thus secretly urging a foreign government to abrogate a peace accord supported by his own government.  In 1998, he and other neoconservatives signed a letter to then President Clinton urging the United States to initiate all-out war on Iraq and pledging neoconservative support if Clinton would launch it. 

Query: why is Perle permitted to retain his post at the Department of Defense while agitating for wars on four or five countries, including Saudi Arabia, a friend of the United States?  Why does President Bush put up with this?  His father would never have tolerated it. 


Well, the son is not the father.  And the son doesn't like details and nuance. 

And this is where we are.  This is our policy from those who set it.  Come November we vote for the somewhat dim emperor and his wars, or not.