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Reply to the "Complete Outsider" Hennie Coetzee:

Reader comment on item: Profs Who Hate America
in response to reader comment: Views of a complete outsider on why the world hates America

Submitted by Leslie Szabo (Canada), Jan 23, 2003 at 18:09

Although Hennie Coetzee thinks that being "far removed" somehow qualifies him to be "objective" about America, some of his readers may conclude differently, particularly after reading his emotionally laden concluding sentence "The world hates you America, and it's your own fault".

Whether or not he honestly believes that he is an impartial observer, Mr Coetzee believes that by claiming to be "objective" we will be more inclined to take him seriously. This might in fact have been the case had he followed up some of his statements with some logically thought out analysis demonstrating his expressed views were grounded in reason.
Just because the threat is not direct and immediate towards the U.S., as he argues, it does not mean that there is no threat. In fact, were the U.S. to wait for a threat to become real and immediate the U.S. would irresponsible, if not already too late. Inspectors can only prove that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, not that he doesn't. For me, it is astounding that the U.S. went along with this logical fallacy in the first place. To accept the argument that since the inspectors have not found any weapons, therefore Hussein does not have any, is incredibly naive as well as dangerous.

While the argument may appeal to those given to "legal correctness", trusting one's security to the inspector's ability to find the weapons is tantamount to criminal negligence. In a time of war a general who only takes action on the basis of legally admissible proof of the enemy's intentions and deployment would lose his head in addition to his army.

To review recent history regarding the success of inspectors to detect Germany's rearmament shortly after WWI to is to reconfirm the futility of trying to prove a negative. As for Iraq's poor, innocent people, I would argue that most would welcome American liberation from the murderous regime under which they are suffering as we speak.

Why do so many, like Hennie Coetze, who wish to publicize their concerns about the suffering of the Iraqi people, confine their concerns only to the Americans who may actually liberate Iraq, but show no similar concern about their ongoing and very real plight under their murderous leader? Are they cynically indifferent to the lack of international law and order? Are they only resentful towards the U.S. but have no similar emotions towards criminal regimes that destroy their own people? Or are they dupes of current wisdom circulated by the political left? Are they really "concerned" about the abuse of human rights, as they claim? If so, why is there no "activism" directed against the actual abuse of human rights as we speak, and against its perpetrators, particularly in Iraq? Or are the expressed concerns by the vocalizers of moral outrage only a hypocritical show, when in reality they are only motivated by their deep resentment of the U.S., which is the only power that can actually stand up and take credible action in the world today?

As for Mr. Coetzee's assertion that Bush and Powell are trying to make a point through violence, let me follow up this thought a bit further: If Bush and Powell are trying to make a point, what is this point? If he believes that it is to act like a bully for no reason other than to show their power, I would argue that Mr Coetzee's thinking is off-base and childish, and would not devote any more serious analysis to it. So there must be a more rational reason. If the reason is that Hussein is accumulating weapons of mass destruction that he will not willingly give up, the only recourse may have to be violent force.

Mr Coetzee's blanket statement that "it is wrong" is glib, not to mention stupid. Hussein does not have to be a direct and imminent threat to be of serious concern. Not only may he develop into a direct and imminent threat if left to his devices, but he may soon become (if he is not already) a regional menace, with the ability to seriously threaten Middle East oil supplies.

This brings me to another important point: If the reason is oil, either because Hussein may threaten oil supplies in the region, or because the U.S. may wish to gain access to Iraqi oil resources, then I would argue, in contrast to conventional left-wing wisdom, that this is indeed a very good reason to get rid of Hussein, independently of the fact that doing so will also liberate the Iraqi people about whom so many vocalizers of moral outrage have expressed so much concern.

First, I believe it is time to speak up to debunk the myth perpetrated by the Left, that society's need for oil is sinful, that it is somehow different from its need for any other important natural resource. This myth has been drilled into our consciousness through endless repetition, until it has become an article of faith that few seem to question. In the hands of the Left it has become a device to manipulate public opinion against the U.S., which foreign leaders who are resentful of and/or inimical to the U.S. are able to hypocritically exploit, and, it would not surprise me, to finance.

Second, those who cite oil as the motivator of U.S. foreign policy dishonestly create the impression that the U.S. wishes to expropriate this resource, just as the Soviet Union used to expropriate the natural resources of its satellites. It is my firm view that the ability of nations to trade with one another should be a fundamental right in a free world. To the extent that oil, like clean water, is a vital natural resource, it not only generates wealth for those who are lucky enough to possess it, but brings benefits to those who need it and are willing to pay for it. One of the many evils perpetrated in the world by leaders like Saddam Hussein is to attempt to hold the world hostage by disrupting free commerce and controlling vital natural resources, not to secure the well being and wealth of their people, but to secure their own personal (and I might add, illegitimate) power.

If the U.S. is the only power capable of acting like the world's policeman, then I say more power to the world.
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