Jewish World Review April 11, 2003 / 9 Nisan, 5763

Lewis A. Fein

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Liberation | Today is the liberation of the Iraqi people. Today is history's verdict -- the only answer to a previously debatable question and a formerly unknown proposition, Will the liberation of the Iraqi people be quick, just and welcome? For every opponent of this war - for every otherwise decent individual who remained silent about the extremism of his comrades and demurely accepted the illogic of his compatriots; for every American who condemned our government but ignored Iraq's political nightmare - there is another question that deserves comment: What will you say to the liberated, to the children orphaned by Saddam Hussein's brutality and the women raped by his inhumanity? Will your answer be humble or defiant, contrite or cruel? For there is the appropriate plea ("Forgive Me") and the Left's actual pronouncement ("Screw You").

Remember, each antiwar statement - every placard that bleeds the ink of its author - reflects a particularly deliberate use of language. In other words, Home Depot does not sell (nor does Staples offer) protester stationery; the activist must pitch his own lawn sign of outrage, his own "Beware of Dog" condemnation of President George W. Bush. And what the protester refuses to say is just as important as what he willingly articulates: the inability to insert morality's addendum and history's obligation, "Saddam, Burn in Hell."

But the signs of protest - the slogans directed against Jews and shouted before innocents - have exceptionally strong roots. Unlike the false idols toppled in Baghdad and leveled in Basra, the Left's political statues have pedestals firmly anchored in Malibu sand and Park Avenue granite. And nothing, not even the tearful reunion of families or the solemn liberation of tortured children and victimized women, will convince these individuals - the protesters; the professors who theorize about it, the journalists who editorialize for it and the celebrities who revel in it - that the antiwar movement is wrong.

Alas, there is an even better question before us: Why would America, at the president's command and the Senate's blessing (alongside Spain's benediction and England's affirmation) willingly - eagerly - liberate millions of Arabs, when this country supposedly does Israel's bidding and Zionism's dirty work? Why would the symbol of so many former wrongs and shame - from the enslavement of blacks to the internment of Asians - now voluntarily unlock the manacles of tyranny and erase the laws of oppression? Perhaps the answer is greater than our previous sins and representative of our greatest glories -- freedom!

Today, the Iraqi people have conflict but the seeds of liberty; a month ago the same citizens had relative peace - tranquility defended by France and seconded by Germany - and absolute tyranny. This key difference between illegitimate order and spontaneous upheaval genuinely confounds the antiwar movement: puzzlement and outrage, climaxed by rhetorical angst -- Why would innocent civilians support the use of military force within their own country? Are the people of Iraq so confused and desperate that they can no longer see the similarities between a mustachioed tyrant named Saddam and a bearded reaper of violence called Uncle Sam?

The images of liberated Iraqis will remain forever visible among the courageous and free. These shouts of personal dignity and individual autonomy enrage the political Left. Any gratitude toward America - any thankful nod to Great Britain and Parliament - is a simultaneous insult toward the antiwar movement. But, emancipated from the darkness of political prison and enlightened by principles of tolerance and justice, the Iraqi people will long remember the soldiers who secured liberty's price . . . and the critics, opponents and pessimists who ignored evil's record.

JWR contributor Lewis A. Fein is a writer and Internet entrepreneur in Los Angeles.Comment by clicking here.


© 2003, Lewis A. Fein