1 readers online now  |  69 million page views

Spreading Freedom and Liberty?

Reader comment on item: 9/10 vs. 9/12 on [Election Day] 11/2

Submitted by Arun (United States), Oct 26, 2004 at 12:45

When Mohandas Gandhi (a.k.a. Mahatma Gandhi) returned to India from South Africa in the early 1900s, he was already a hero in India for his political work for civil rights in South Africa. Nevertheless, his political mentor in India, Gokhale, told him to travel all around the country for an year, to observe and to learn, and not to speak during that period. Gandhi then spent the subsequent three decades preparing Indians for democracy, teaching that the means are as important as the ends, that non-violence is a prerequisite for civil society. That Indian democracy has survived and thrived through the next five decades despite numerous counterindicators, and is unique in the third world, is a testament to the Mahatma's work.

And Bush thinks his soldiers, who does not even speak the local language, who do not know or understand the local culture, who have no political stature, whose smart munitions are still not smart enough to distinguish between the foe and non-combatants, can invade a country and spread a lasting freedom in six months (let us remember that the original war plans had most of the American troops out of Iraq in that much time) when the very concepts are alien to that country?

Why is anyone so dumb to believe that? "Spreading Liberty and Freedom" is a rhetorical cover for war. It sounds nice but signifies nothing. The wars appropriate to America are those against a real and imminent threat, when the threat cannot be abated in any other way. These are wars to protect America, and not to "spread liberty and freedom". If liberty and freedom do indeed spread, this is a welcome side-effect, but not the main purpose.

The ideological battle can only be won by the same method that the ideological battle against communism was won - not by physical conquest, but by the economic evisceration of the proponents of the ideology. In the Islamist case, this presents an interesting dilemma - it means separating the Saudis from their oil revenue! Unlike the case of the Soviet Union, our own economic activity finances the enemy. A transformation is needed, and given Bush's links with the energy industry, this is one transformation that he cannot lead.

-Arun
Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to Spreading Freedom and Liberty? by Arun

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2021 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)