I dislike the use of labels when they are intended for pejorative reasons. They are used to degrade and destroy. I am liberal in some areas of my thought but a conservative in others. If forced to identify myself politically I would have to use the label conservative, though with real reservations about much that flies under that label today.
For the sake of serious conversation I must use these labels when I refer to the development and direction of America’s foreign policy. Liberals in this country are continually telling us that we should not have invaded Iraq. Some of these liberals are serious Christian pacifists who question the moral grounds of such pre-emptive action. I can respect this view and thus hold thinkers like Stanley Hauerwas in very high esteem. I deeply respect his point of view but humbly take a different stance. Most liberals, however, think the way that they do about human nature and the world for very different reasons. And they seem to think that conservatives like me are stupid war-mongering morons. Listening to progressive (the new/old name for liberals) talk radio AM 850 in Chicago, over the past few months, convinces me of this conclusion. I do not know which is worse, stupid conservative talk or stupid liberal talk. Both are harmful to serious dialogue about important public policy.
What I want to sincerely know, however, is how do liberals really feel about the trial of Saddam Hussein? Yesterday the court heard testimony from eyewitnesses concerning his use of poison gas to destroy whole villages. Until Saddam is judged justly and completely removed, either by death (they do have capital punishment in Iraq) or by imprisonment so that he can never harm a person in Iraq again, the insurgency will probably never quell in Iraq, so suggested the Wall Street Journal this morning. I am quite sure this has to be right.
But back to my earlier question: How do liberals respond to this trial? Despite the problems that seem self-evident with the Bush war-plan, and with our present struggles to bring order in the midst of major chaos, what do we do with Saddam, asked the Wall Street Journal. He is the dictator who invaded Kuwait, gassed his own people, tossed out the U.N. weapons inspectors, harbored terrorists such as Abu Musah al-Zarqawi, retained the infrastructure for making WMD even if he lacked the stockpiles, and plainly plotted to kill a former president of the United States, George H. W. Bush?
The Wall Street Journal suggests that it is the habit of many American liberals to deplore people like Saddam from a safe distance while they are never willing to do anything that might cost lives and money to abort the tragedies that actually kill millions, such as in Iraq, Darfur, or Rwanda.
I recently toured the Carter Presidential Museum in Atlanta. I liked Jimmy Carter on a certain level. I voted for him, though now I am sorry to admit it. But as I read about his accomplishments for peace on my walk-through I was struck by how his heirs have done nothing major to prevent the mass destruction of lives and the continual denial of real human rights. Carter majored on “human rights” during his four years, and has continued to do so since, but in end liberals like President Carter talk about human rights and then seek to do very little.
I think one popular radio host has aptly put it this way: “Liberals are people who treat others the way they wish they were.” Simply put, they deny the real presence of evil. Conservatives, generally speaking, believe that people can do real good but they also know all too well that evil is not only real but some people, like Saddam Hussein, are truly evil and thus they must be stopped for the good of other humans made in the image of God. Justice is not just a theory to be considered, it must be struggled for in this sin cursed world. We all fall short but to ignore justice is proof that you do not take evil seriously. I hope the court soon convicts Saddam and so he is removed. Maybe, just maybe, peace has a chance to take hold in Iraq when he is gone. I pray so for the sake of the world, not just for America.