Our anti-war and anti-administration friends invoke the name “Wolfowitz” as if it were a curse, as if the invocation of he name alone were enough to settle any argument: “But he has wanted to overthrow Saddam for years!” He should have been overthrown 12 years ago, so this is bad why?
Reading this profile on Wolfowitz from the Washington Post, I realized I agree with him very close to 100% on foreign policy, especially the War on Terror:
- To understand Paul Wolfowitz and the policies he advocates, notes a friend and former colleague, it is important to understand that Wolfowitz believes there is real evil in the world, and that he is confronting it. The lesson that Wolfowitz took away from the Cold War, says Eliot Cohen, who knew him at Johns Hopkins University, where Wolfowitz was a dean before moving to the Pentagon, is “that the world really is a dangerous place, and that you have to do something about it.”
Paired with that is his belief that the United States can best respond to totalitarianism by emphasizing freedom and democracy. Wolfowitz possesses “a basic optimism about the potential of human beings for moderation and self-governance, and a belief in the universal appeal of liberty,” Cohen says.
That combination of a hardheaded view of some men with an idealistic faith in mankind, Cohen concludes, adds up to “a distinctively American take on the world.”
So when Wolfowitz talks with great intensity about Iraq, it isn’t just because his political future and his place in history are likely to be determined by the course of events there. He sees the U.S. invasion as part of a larger campaign against terrorism, and that post-Sept. 11, 2001, fight as the third great American struggle against totalitarianism, the new century’s successor to the great fights against Nazism and Soviet communism.
….Some observers of Wolfowitz speculate that one lesson he took from the Holocaust is that the American people need to be pushed to do the right thing, because by the time they entered World War II, it was too late for millions of Jews and other victims of the Nazis.
Asked about this, Wolfowitz agrees but expands on the thought — and connects it to Iraq. “I think the world in general has a tendency to say, if somebody evil like Saddam is killing his own people, ‘That’s too bad, but that’s really not my business.’ ” That’s dangerous, he continued, because Hussein was “in a class with very few others — Stalin, Hitler, Kim Jong Il. . . . People of that order of evil . . . tend not to keep evil at home, they tend to export it in various ways and eventually it bites us.”
….”We learned in the last century that democracies cannot live peacefully and undisturbed in a world where evil people control whole nations and seek to expand their bloody rule,” he said in a speech last month. “We may have forgotten that lesson in the euphoria over the end of the Cold War.” But, he added, we were reminded of that harsh lesson by Sept. 11.
….But to Wolfowitz, there is no contradiction between calculated policies and idealistic goals. Rather, he contends, they can reinforce each other. Indeed, Wolfowitz is most confrontational when he is most idealistic.
Nowhere is that more evident than in his advocacy of transforming the politics of the Middle East, a policy that frequently is attacked as unrealistically idealistic. As he put it to the Jerusalem Post earlier this year, “The idea that we could live with another 20 years of stagnation in the Middle East that breeds this radicalism and breeds terrorism is, I think, just unacceptable.”
….But to Wolfowitz, trying to change the Middle East is far from unrealistic. Rather, it is using universal ideals to achieve the practical end of curtailing terrorism. Just as much of East Asia democratized in the 1980s and 1990s, so too is there a chance that the Middle East could change radically. “It could,” he says. “And it’s certainly worth a try.”
“Change has to start someplace,” he says. “The status quo . . . produced [Osama] bin Laden and produced thousands of people eager to kill themselves in order to kill Americans.”
And finally, we have the most disingenuous, stupid and just plain wrong charge of all: the “chicken hawk” canard.
- Another charge, sometimes muttered in the military, is that Wolfowitz and his hawkish colleagues would act differently if they had ever been in combat. Retired Marine Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, for example, says that if Wolfowitz and others in the administration — Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their advisers — had experienced combat as young men, they might have thought longer about invading and occupying Iraq. “I think it would have changed them,” says Zinni, one of the more prominent critics of Bush administration policy in Iraq. “I just wish somebody in that chain of command would have seen combat at that time.”
….Wolfowitz responds calmly to this charge. He notes that he has visited soldiers badly wounded in Iraq. “I am not at all unmindful of what it means to send American kids into combat,” he says. “I go up to Walter Reed enough to see some of the consequences.”
And he is careful not to be dismissive of his critics. “I think that those people who have experienced war have an even deeper distaste for it. And that is something I have a lot of respect for and a lot of time for.”
But there are other considerations that must be kept in mind. And that takes him back to the Nazis. “Certainly the failure to confront Hitler was largely from fear of what the consequences would be, and that led to much greater consequences.”
Exactly – there is such thing as being too close to a situation, and the military are often the most hesitant to use force because ALL they can see are the immediate consequences, which are without exception horrible. Yet the consequences of inaction are often worse. That’s what this debate is about and I am without reservation on the side that believes the time has come for forceful action over an entended period of time, until this latest long-term struggle against totalitarianism is won. Long live Wolfowitz.