Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

March 15, 2007

Pacifism Is Not The Answer

by Doug Mataconis

The leftist anti-war crowd has come up with a new slogan: What Would Ghandi Do ?

Today, former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson says that this is precisely the wrong question to ask

[T]hat’s a pretty good question. At what point is it okay to fight dictators like Saddam or the al Qaeda terrorists who want to take his place?

It turns out that the answer, according to Gandhi, is NEVER. During World War II, Gandhi penned an open letter to the British people, urging them to surrender to the Nazis. Later, when the extent of the holocaust was known, he criticized Jews who had tried to escape or fight for their lives as they did in Warsaw and Treblinka. “The Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher’s knife,” he said. “They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs.” “Collective suicide,” he told his biographer, “would have been heroism.”

The so-called peace movement certainly has the right to make Gandhi’s way their way, but their efforts to make collective suicide American foreign policy just won’t cut it in this country. When American’s think of heroism, we think of the young American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, risking their lives to prevent another Adolph Hitler or Saddam Hussein.

Gandhi probably wouldn’t approve, but I can live with that.

Now, let’s be clear, Senator Thompson and I probably don’t agree on what the proper course of action in Iraq is, but he’s absolutely right that arguing that it’s never appropriate to fight, even when your very existence is at stake, is never the right answer.

Resolving disputes peacefully is always the preferred course of action, but there are times when it’s war is the only option.

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