Main Security Risk for Capitol: Reagan National Airport

06/29/2005: These evacuations of the Capitol–and the White House–are a joke. Anyone flying an aircraft into restricted airspace–who is intent on doing damage–can inflict serious carnage within 20 seconds. Any evacuation attempt would be futile.

Even if anti-aircraft missile batteries ring the capitol, those would not stop a large jet flying at several hundred knots from hitting buildings. (Newtonian physics is a real bummer sometimes.)

Why am I saying this? As long as there are airports in Washington, there is a security hole through which you could literally fly a jet!

If we are serious about making the Capitol more secure, we should get all Washington airports–especially Reagan National–the heck out of Washington. All airpsace within a 50 mile radius of the Capitol should be restricted, with only military aircraft permitted.

So far, we have seen two evacuations prompted by small craft foraying into restricted airspace. These two incidents make for some nice humor, as those have been innocuous.

Unfortunately, a fuel-laden 757 with an Islamofascist riding it would put one heck of a damper on all Leno jokes.

The U.S. Economy: There WILL Be a Day of Reckoning

06/29/2005: President Bush is right about Social Security: there is an impending crisis. If we don’t take action now, we will have a public disaster on our hands within twenty years. The demographics alone are irrefutable on that point: we will have more people receiving benefits than paying in. What about that “trust fund” that politicians talk about? Well, let’s just say we have a greater probability of finding WMDs in Iraq than you have of finding any trust fund money.

Unfortunately, Bush is only telling you half the story. Social Security is but a reflection of a larger problem: Americans are increasingly dependent upon Big Government. As Europe is finding out–the hard way–government does an abysmal job when it controls the allocation of capital (which is exactly what government must do when everyone assumes the government must provide for them).

Sweden–the model for liberal socialist utopia–has already partially privatized its social security program. They have figured out that socialism doesn’t work. England has even moved to partial privatization.

France is not having an easy time adjusting to reality. In fact, the French are angry at the prospect of having to work–get this–35 hours per week. Labor unions are throwing a fit. Can you imagine the picket signs? “Hell no, we won’t work!” Moving away from socialism is no small task.

However, even with partial privatization of social security, we will still have a serious dilemma: Americans are not saving enough for retirement, but are expecting to be able to retire at age 65. Not only will they be underfunded for retirement–as they will likely outlive their assets, they will also be underfunded for their health care needs. That will be a heck of a large sector of voters with no money.

Guess what that means? Yup. Draconian tax hikes. National health care. America becomes a socialist nation in which government controls the allocation of capital. At least, this is one scenario.

The other scenario? President Bush–and his successors (regardless of party)–push Americans to save for their own retirements, and provide allowances for medical IRAs for health care savings. Partial privatization of social security will be an integral part of an overall strategy of preparing Americans to participate in the ownership society.

Another part of this strategy needs to include reduced government spending. We need to bite the bullet and eliminate agencies that have no Constitutional role: the Department of Education, the National Endowment for Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Commerce Department, and the Department of Agriculture. We need to eliminate farm subsidies and education boondoggle projects. Yes, that even means closing military bases that exist only to provide pork revenue for Most Favored Congressional Districts. (One could also suggest cutting the number of Pentagon staffers in half.)

If we do these things, we can win the war against terrorist groups and provide a fertile ground for economic growth for future generations at the same time. We will have to swallow a bitter pill now–rejecting Big Government will create a serious recession that will last at least two years. On the positive side: we will emerge stronger, and it great position for inter-generational prosperity.

Otherwise, we will face an economic spiral that could lead to catastrophic social upheaval. Out-of-control government spending, expanded entitlement programs, and government health care will bankrupt America.

There is no way around the fact that we will have a day of reckoning. We cannot continuously spend more than we make, and fail to save for our retirements and health care. At some point, the money will run out. We must get control of our economies, both nationally and individually.

A key factor to this means embracing the idea that the government’s job is to provide an atmosphere conducive to economic prosperity, but not to guarantee it for citizens. Every government that has tried the latter has bombed.

Richard Scrushy: Unbelievable!

06/29/2005: The Justice Department screwed up royally in the trial of former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy. Instead of trying him the way they tried Dennis Kozlowski and Bernie Ebbers, they decided to make this a test case for an ill-advised law.

The Scrushy case was important because it was the first case tried under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (better known as SOX). SOX was supposed to hold CEOs–and other corporate officers–more accountable because it required them to actually sign off on the financial reports. In addition, SOX laid down a plethora of requirements for public companies in terms of audit controls. Many companies simply declared themselves out of compliance, as they had not the money to provide the level of control that SOX required.

In the case of Scrushy, this should have been a slam-dunk. We are talking about multi-billion-dollar fraud. Six of his former CFOs testified against him, after pleading guilty to offenses. Scrushy’s defense team claimed that he did not know about the fraud, because those CFOs kept him out of the loop. Supporting that claim was some audiotape evidence, and a lack of e-mail and paper trails that would have otherwise incriminated him. (In contrast, documentary evidence sank Frank Quattrone, Bernie Ebbers, and Dennis Kozlowski in their trials.)

On the other hand, I suggest that he–and the board of directors–are at least guilty of criminal negligence. Perhaps he did not know about the intricacies of the fraud, but he should have known. He–and his board of directors–failed to exercise due diligence on behalf of their stockholders.

After all, Scrushy founded HealthSouth. He was the one who was instrumental in bringing those CFOs on board.

I won’t knock the jury, however. Like the Michael Jackson case, it is quite possible that the government just failed to do its job. This prosecutor had secured plea-bargains from almost a dozen former officers, but none of them received significant jail time. It is possible that the evidence was flimsy.

However, I have one question: What’s the probability that a man who founded a company, built it from the ground up, was involved–in a daily basis–in the business processes of that company, actively participated in the hiring of every key officer, and yet completely miss a multi-billion dollar fraud that involved Six different CFOs???

On top of that, Scrushy is running around, playing the role of part-time preacher. After his acquittal, he credited God for this deliverance. He wasn’t playing the God-ticket before the scandal broke. He decided to become a TV preacher only after his indictment.

I’m not a cynical person, and I’m not going to say that Scrushy isn’t a Christian–I don’t know him from Adam. I would always rather have happy endings, and I sure don’t want to see innocent people go down. But this whole Scrushy mess does seem to have an appearance of evil.

Bush Speech: Good Presentation, but What Effect Did It Have?

0629/2005: I listened to President Bush last night, as he addressed the nation from Fort Bragg.

Bush was under considerable pressure to address several issues:
(1) the case for the war in Iraq
(2) how the war in Iraq is integral to the war against terrorist groups
(3) how we are doing in Iraq
(4) our exit strategy for Iraq.

Overall, he delivered well, especially considering the pressure he was facing. He connected Iraq to the war against terrorism. It’s a shame he did not do this in the months leading up to the war.

He also provided a decent assessment regarding our resolve and our exit strategy. When the Iraqis are ready to take it over for themselves, we are getting out. Bush is right: artificial deadlines are a bad idea, even if Pelosi, Dean, Feingold, etc. think otherwise. They have been gnawing against the President every step of the way since we hit Afghanistan, and shame on them for trying to spin this into another Vietnam.

My only concern is that this speech is a day late and a dollar short. This should have been the speech he gave during the election season last year. The points he made are the points he should have been making before the war.

At this point, the mainstream news media has doused America with enough cynicism that the Bush speech will have little overall effect.

We’ll win in Iraq, only to lose on the home front.

Porn Generation: Shapiro Nails It, but Where Do We Go From Here?

06/26/2005: Ben Shapiro is indeed a bright young star for GenY conservative thought. Armed with the no-nonsense style of Dr. Laura, the wisdom of Cal Thomas, and the hard-charging style of Pat Buchanan, he has written two books. The first–Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth–was an expose of academic decadence from a student’s perspective. His latest book–Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism is Corrupting our Culture–is a testament to the decline of moral values in America.

The sad part is, one need not be a hard-core “fundamentalist” to appreciate the banality that Shapiro highlights.

Twenty years ago today–when I was two months away from beginning college–pornography was primarily restricted to pornographic magazines and “adult videos”. To get it, you had to consciously choose it, and you knew EXACTLY what you were getting into.

Religious conservatives–in particular the Moral Majority and the American Federation for Decency (now the American Family Association)–crusaded heavily against pornography. The Supreme Court–with the “community standard” doctrine–allowed localities to pass their own sets of laws restricting porn. Some did, with minimal levels of success.

Fast-forward twenty years.

As conservative as I am on social issues, Shapiro has left a very bleak picture of America. Here is why.

(1) Even if you pass an all-inclusive anti-porn law that can pass Constitutional muster (and you can’t)…
(2) Even if you–as a parent–install a blocking software that shields your family from e-porn (and no such filter is perfect)…
(3) Even if you can get the international community to crack down on e-porn (and that will happen when hell gets hit with a hail storm)…
you will not even scratch the surface of the effects of pornography.

Today, it is EVERYWHERE!!! It is in teen magazines. (Shapiro documents this very well.) It is in the music to which kids, teens, and adults commonly listen. It is standard chic in television commercials. It’s all over the sit-coms. Explicit details are even part of political vernacular, thanks to former President Clinton. (Shapiro even shows how the number of teens engaging in that version of Presidential conduct has escalated since 1998. Coincidence, my (derriere)!)

As for the “community standard” doctrine for porn regulation? Forget it. The Internet made that a moot point. Even if you pass the best law possible, how the (gehenna) are you going to enforce it against a web site in Mongolia?

Make no mistake, American culture is now in the gutter. The problem is how do you deal with it?

Toward that end, Shapiro provides some answers, most of which–thankfully–are not matters of legislation.

(1) Parents taking the initiative to teach traditional morality to their kids. This is more than simply telling your kids what is right and what is wrong. You have to live it out. Men: how are you going to teach your sons abstinence when you are hiding porno-mags in your bedroom? Women: how are you going to teach your daughters sexual restraint when you dress like sluts and have no problem with your daughters dressing as such? Fathers: the way you treat your wife is going to be the best teaching took your kids will see. Ditto for you moms with respect to your husbands.

(2) Abstinence-only sex education.
Lefties will scream that “kids will do it anyway.” Not true. Some will; however, as Shapiro points out, many will choose abstinence where they otherwise would not have, and–among those who do not choose abstinence–they will become sexually active later. STD rates are lower when abstinence-only education is used.

(3) School vouchers. I agree; if enough parents take the vouchers and jump ship into private schools, public schools will be more likely to get with the program, as they will actually have to compete with private schools for the market.

(4) Dress codes. Great idea. One need not be a prude to understand that encouraging boys and girls to dress without showing every portion of their anatomy is a good thing.

(5) Single-sex dorms for college students. Not a bad idea, and–along those lines–men should not be permitted in women’s dorms (and vice versa). It won’t stop all sexual activity, but this would be a reasonable boundary. If I were a college or university administrator, I would count this as due diligence, as I am trying to look out for the welfare of the students.

(6) Monitoring alumni funding for universities. This is a great idea. Conservatives should hit universities where it really hurts: the pocketbook.

(7) Using the FCC. As a libertarian, I have mixed feelings here. I tend to support a more market-based solution to the filth on TV. Christians and other conservatives should band together and start their own television networks. That could include 24-hour news, QUALITY family-friendly programming, news commentary shows featuring top conservative academics. On the other hand, better enforcement of FCC standards is in order. At some point, explicit details are not appropriate for public media. (The key word here is public. People tend to forget that the airwaves are public airwaves.)

(8) Governmental censorship
. I’m not sure I agree here. I will support the rights of porn-peddlers to produce their crap, because that same right allows Christians and Orthodox Jews the same access to the ideological free market. However, I would agree that there is a strong case for reasonable restrictions on what gets allowed on public media. Also, the marketing of child porn to adults –which, as Shapiro points out, is now VERY commonplace in mainstream porn–should absolutely be banned.

On the other hand, even with these suggestions, I have very bad news: they will not solve the problem. You see, it’s not just about a hypersexed generation; it’s the brand of thinking that helps spread the porn culture. Shapiro understands this, and points to nihilism, hedonism, and narcissism as the underlying cultural frameworks. He’s right on.

Combating those elements is not about passing laws or starting new government programs or even getting agencies in line. If it were that easy, the Right would have won that battle. Remember, as the porn culture has advanced, the GOP has lived in the White House for 17 of the last 25 years. The eight years of Clinton didn’t help–and Shapiro points this out quite effectively–but the GOP has not exactly been a beacon of light here either. Bottom line: a political solution is not even close to a complete answer.

That being said, Christians have a charge as large as the Great Commission, because that’s exactly what this is all about. This isn’t about having picket demonstrations against porn. Nor is this about calling your Congressman or Senator. (And there is nothing inherently wrong with either of those.)

However, the underlying issues–nihilism, narcissism, and hedonism–have a positive Biblical answer. Shapiro–who is Jewish–provides an Orthodox Jewish answer: the Law. (This is his reason for remaining a virgin. I hope he sticks to that commitment.)

As a Christian, I don’t see the Law as the answer. (The Law and the Prophets–what we Christians call the Old Testament–show us how deeply fallen we are, and show us the need for a Messiah. They are a testament to human failure, as even the best people in the Bible–Abraham, David, Solomon, Moses–are sin-riddled and, absent the grace of God, as deserving of hell as Ahab and Jezebel.)

While I respect Shapiro’s religious heritage–it is where I get mine–we’ll have to differ on that matter.

For the Christian, we are faced with a daunting challenge. The Great Commission was not just for the Early Church, nor is it merely for missionaries who go to other countries (such as California). This is about being able to provide an explicable witness. This is about living it so others can see the truth in comparison to the lies.

Jesus–the Truth–provided the blueprint, set the example, and even provided the ultimate Atonement for sin. That light is the howling reproach to narcissism, hedonism, and nihilism.

Shapiro’s book is outstanding, and all parents–Christian and non–should read it.

Robert Mugabe: Communist Thug, Hero of Academia

06/26/2005: Robert Mugabe–a longtime Communist who has led Zimbabwe for 25 years–has a long-standing record for turning things around. He has taken a country with great economic potential and provided 70% unemployment. (I put the responsibility on Mugabe because he has crafted a government-planned economy rather than allowed a market-driven system. When you take on a task–and fail–then you get the blame.)

If his economics alone were all that was wrong, then at worst he would be Herbert Hoover on steroids. No. He’s FAR worse: he is turning Zimbabwe into an orgy of slaughter.

Every one of his economic plans have failed. His track record for 25 years has been abysmal. Zimbabwe should be an economic powerhouse, but is instead a cesspool of lawlessness and violence. Rather than accept that his policies have failed, he has found two sets of scapegoats: white men and political opponents. He is seizing land from white farmers and political opponents, killing them, and redistributing the land to blacks (many of whom have not the first idea how to farm). As a result, the economy is in the sewer for two reasons:

(1) Redistributionist systems always result in a less efficient allocation of capital than market economies. In the case of Zimbabwe, productive farmers–by executive fiat–are being killed and replaced with non-productive farmers. As a result, GDP has fallen sharply over the last five years (0, -6.1%, -6.5%, -12.1%, -13.6% from 1999-2003, respectively). Their currency recently took a 31% devaluation, a hit that would have been far worse had the currency been traded on the open market.

(2) Breakdown of the rule of law–and a disrespect for economic markets–drives away investment capital. Why would a rational investor provide capital to a nation whose rulers actively encourage disregard for basic human rights? Even if I were amoral, I cannot duck a perfectly rational question: If I can’t trust a leader to do right by his own people, then why should I invest money in his ability to provide a return for me?

Unfortunately, just like Marx and his (illegitimate) stepchildren–Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro…–Mugabe has a very distinguished group of followers in America: Michigan State Univeristy conferred an honorary degree on Mugabe for his “contribution to the legal field.” He also received an honorary degree from University of Massachusetts. This is because America’s academic elites–a largely socialist-leaning bunch–support the Utopia Mugabe is trying to create. He is one of them.

Mugabe has led Zimbabwe into an economic depression, next to which our Great Depression resembles a wealthfest. He has inflicted genocide on an entire race of people (whites). He has displaced hundreds of thousands of poor people with his policies.

I now have audio footage of the United Nations, with Kofi Annan pledging to stop the genocide and bring Mugabe to trial before the World Court. :::listen to the sound of crickets and birds, amidst complete silence…:::.

I now have footage of French President Jacque Chirac pledging to rush emergency aid to the people of Zimbabwe. :::complete silence::::

I now have footage of John Kerry pledging Senate support for stopping the genocide. ::::complete silence::::

In fact, we should be thanking Muigabe; he has provided yet another portrait of what happens when a political leader decides he can seize capital from one group of people and redistribute it to another.

From Lenin to Pol Pot; from Krushchev to Ceaucescu; From Mao to Ho Chi Minh, Communism has been an economic disaster and one mass humanitarian tragedy after another.

87 years and 130 million deaths later, the Secular Left in America believes that Communism deserves another chance.

Communism deserves one thing: its rightful place on the ash heap of history. (Reagan said it first, and said it well.)

Summary: Implications of the Kelo Decision

06/25/2005: The Kelo decision–which has effectively repealed the 5th Amendment, has very significant ramifications, some of which will not be noticeable immediately. Here are the winners and losers.

Winners:
(1) The reparations movement. If the reparations extremists can manage to stack city councils with their cronies, they’ll be able to start seizing homes and redistributing for the purpose of “providing equity for oppressed minorities.” If “public use” can allow for confiscation of private land for private enterprise, then “public use” can include any cockamamie definition of “civil rights” as well. The latest craze–city/county mergers–will be a potential disaster for those in the suburbs. The Kelo decision allows the neo-commies to do for the United States what they are doing for Zimbabwe.

(2) Teacher Unions. The Kelo decision has paved the way for the dismantling of private schools, and even homeschools. The NEA and AFT can buy off legislators, and help harass Christian schools. Families who homeschool could easily find themselves being forced out of their homes. After all, “public use” can now include any cockamamie definition of “promoting the general welfare.” If bureaucracies want to shut down private schools, the Kelo decision is now the roadmap.

(3) Redistributionists. From Communist Party USA to almost every academic wing of America, leftists are now drooling over the specter of Communism–or European-style Socialism. Government now has the latitude it needs to seize private property–or even private enterprise–for any reason it so desires. After all, “public use” can mean just about anything.

Losers:
(1) Any American who wants upward mobility. Upward mobility is the potential to move from one economic class to another (from poor to middle class or middle class to upper middle class and so forth). Private ownership of land and private enterprise–the two of which go hand in hand–make upward mobility a realizable dream for the majority of Americans. In general, private enterprise allows a person to mazimize his or her potential to create and build wealth. If private ownership of land is impossible–or severely limited–then that hinders a person’s ability to create and aquire wealth.

(2) Anyone who has investment properties. Even before the Kelo decision, Greenspan echoed concerns about a real estate bubble. The Kelo decision now makes a real estate bubble more imminent. It certainly clouds the rose-colored glasses of a savvy investor who might be considering investment in real estate.

(3) Anyone who owns a home in a suburban area. Isn’t it refreshing to know you may be sitting on the site of the next big shopping mall?

(4) Churches, Christian schools, and other faith-based organizations. The Kelo decision now provides a means for governments to put the screws to churches, Christian schools, and similar faith-based organizations by sidestepping the First Amendment. Now, the government can use the Fifth Amendment to override the First Amendment.

(5) Private Enterprise. Today, Wal Mart is probably happy with the Kelo decision, as they will be an immediate beneficiary of the Supreme Court. However, those benefits could be very short-lived. When the government becomes strapped for capital to pay off a staggering national debt, large companies–with significant asset bases–will become the next takeover targets for government. After all, if “public use” means seizing private land for private enterprise, then “public use” can also include seizing private enterprise for “public benefit”.

The only way to keep these possibilities from becoming certainties, we MUST be vigilant with respect to local elections, and court nominations.

In fact, the next Supreme Court nomination battle may be less about abortion and more about property rights.

Free Enterprise Died Today (From USA to USSA)

06/23/2005: Kelo et al v. City of New London. Remember this case. This is the worst day in American jurisprudence since the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions of 1973.

Today, the United States Supreme Court dealt market economy a major blow by upholding the rights of municipalities to seize private land to dole out to corporations.

Allowing for these abuses of eminent domain, the Supreme Court–in a 5-4 decision–said that a city can seize your home, so that the Wal-Marts of the world can build their mega-stores, and provide more tax revenue to the cities.

If a city can seize private land for corporate use, then it can logically seize private enterprise for public use. Today, the Supreme Court has given homeowners the finger.

Don’t get me wrong: I have no gripe with large corporations; in fact, I’m very much in favor of free markets. However, in a market economy, private entities compete with one another, bidding prices up (or down) for assets.

That means if Wal-Mart wants my house, they should negotiate with me–and others in my neighborhood–regarding the price of the land. As a party in the free market, it is my prerogative to choose not to sell my assets. My reasons can be personal–to keep something of sentimental value in the family–or even financial (to maintain a home for retirement living). Bottom line: in a free market, it’s my prerogative.

Private land ownership is a cornerstone of true market economy. Why? Of the three fundamental “economic inputs” (labor and capital being the other two), land is the only item for which the available amount is fixed. It is a scarce resource–there is a fixed amount of it demanded by an ever-expaning population base. Over time, that translates to an asset that increases in value.

In short, land is an item of wealth, and can be used to create more wealth. They don’t call it real estate for nothing. Private land ownership and private enterprise are not mutually exclusive. To have the latter, you must have the former.

The Founding Fathers understood this reality. In fact, the 5th Amendment is designed to prevent government from seizing economic wealth. While the Founders realized that some government use of land was essential, they saw such ownership as only for matters of public interest–bridges, roads, courthouses, municipal facilities that allowed government to fulfill its lawful obligations.

For government to take land for that purpose, the Founders wrote the Constitution to require just compensation to landowners. In other words, if the property assessor has valued my home at $100,000, and the government decides they want it, then the government must provide $100,000 for that land. (That valuation is fair; after all, in this example they valued it as such for the purposes of collecting taxes from me.)

The Constitution, however, does not provide the government the blanket right to seize land for any reason under the sun…certainly not for the purpose of redistributing to a corporation. In fact, wealth redistribution by government is nowhere to be found in the Constitution.

For the Left to support such policies reflects two things:

(1) they really are in the pockets of large corporations
(2) they really don’t care about the little guy.

In fact, anyone who supports such government seizures of land–even for corporate interests–is a Communist at heart.

After all, if you support the government seizing land from private citizens for private enterprise–because of perceived public benefit–then you really have no logical basis from which to oppose the government seizure of land from private enterprise for public enterprise–because of perceived public benefit.

What happens when the government decides it is “within the public interest” to close down First Baptist Christian Academy? Under the current ruling, the city can move in, seize the land–paying the school 25 cents on the dollar–and that school faces loss of accreditation. Parents would likely be forced to send their kids to substandard public schools, or revert to homeschooling.

If you don’t think that is possible, you are not aware of the influence that teacher unions wield.

Today’s ruling should be a wakeup call to all Americans to pay special attention to their city council elections. Where they stand on government seizure of private land should be at–or near–the top of all issues for homeowners. If Americans let this slide, then we will likely wake up to the United Socialist States of America within ten years.

If we don’t take on this wave of government tyranny, then the hammer and sickle await us. We will have defeated the USSR, only to see America become the USSA!

The Christian Case for War in Iraq

06/22/2005: Imagine you are a preacher. A woman seeks your counsel. She has been in a physically abusive relationship for years: her husband is beating her. He is also starting to show a sexual interest in his oldest daughter, who is now in her teens.

What will your response be?
(a) Tell her to go home and submit to her husband. Instruct her to pray for her husband more.
(b) Provide her the number of the local battered womens’ shelter.
(c) Instruct her to seek a shelter and press charges.

In the evangelical world, far too many pastors opt for (a). I find that notion revolting. I’ve always felt that abusive husbands should be held accountable, both in the Church and to the Law of the land. Women–and children–should not have to live under such abuse. The last thing a good minister should do is enable an abuser to continue this practice (or enable such a victim to teach her kids that it is okay for husbands to beat their wives and/or children.)

My answer would be a combination of (a), (b), and (c). Prayer is important. Everyone needs to pray more. However, you can’t afford to just stop there: such situations demand action. (However, instead of a shelter, I’d first see if some families in the church would be willing to take her and her children in.)

Bottom line: prayer alone is not sufficient. In the face of such abuses, action is proper. After all, as James said, “Faith without works is dead.”

Now…let’s assume we are not dealing with a woman who visits your office. Let’s say we have millions of people who are under living under severe atrocities. A genocidal dictator has used nerve gas to slaughter hundreds of thousands of people, because of their ethnicity. That same genocidal dictator–and his army of thugs–enjoy helping themselves to the women of the land. They rape them at will. Just to keep the people under control, they publicly torture and execute suspected dissidents.

This genocidal bastard keeps a third of the country on his payroll of informants. He rules the country the way an abusive husband dominates his wife: brutal repression.

Attempts to send aid to the victims are fruitless: this dictator steals every ounce of aid provided by otherwise well-meaning relief organizations. Other aid efforts are riddled with corruption: this dictator steals that money and uses it to pay the “helpers” to turn and look the other way.

Now what is your suggested response?
(1) Have more prayer meetings.
(2) Have more dialog about why we need more peace.
(3) Have the United Nations pass another resolution expressing outrage at this situation.
(4) Take a decisive stand–that involves military force–to put an end to the abuse.

Better yet. If you were one of the victims, what would you want?

I just described Iraq under Saddam Hussein. The Iraqi people–in particular the Kurds and Shi’ites–were living under conditions that could rightly be compared to Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot. (Dick Durbin: are you reading this?)

Saddam used VX nerve gas to slaughter hundreds of thousands of Kurds in the 1980s. After the Gulf War in 1991, he brutally attacked the Kurds, driving them toward the Turkish border. Only a splendid effort by American Special Forces troops prevented a mass humanitarian disaster. (Read Shadow Warriors, a profile of Special Forces missions, by Tom Clancy and Gen. Carl Stiner.)

If you wouldn’t tell a battered wife–whose husband is taking a sexual interest in his own daughter–to simply “go home, submit, and pray”, then why the heck would you take this approach with an entire people?

Confronted with these realities, many otherwise fine people would suggest that, “Saddam isn’t the only bad guy out there. We can’t be the world’s policeman.” There is some truth to that, but one should do what one can. Turning and looking the other way is exactly what brought us the Holocaust.

Others might suggest that such action is unconstitutional, as Iraq was not a threat to our interests.

Baloney! If the US turned and looked the other way with Iraq, we would only earn more contempt and cynicism from the very Middle Eastern people who accuse us of being nothing but a shill for Israel (just as a pastor who offered “submit and pray” instructions to a battered wife would rightfully earn contempt from believers and nonbelievers alike).

No. Instead, we took the right action–at great risk to our own lives–on behalf of the Iraqi people. Our soldiers have bled and died for their freedom (and ours). Those men and women are heroes.

Today, the Iraqi people have bought into democracy. (Even the Sunnis are coming around.) Most of our problems have to do with Saudi, Syrian, and Jordanian terrorists. It’s a hard slog, but we are winning, and–as long as we maintain our resolve–we will prevail.