Alan Keyes on War & Peace
Republican challenger for IL Senate; previously Candidate for President
A: There could have been a greater effort, over the beginning of our efforts there, to bring in others. I would have brought others in on the political side of the equation, to help deal with the business of putting together an Iraqi government. That could still be done. But, it's absolutely imperative that we keep the security dimensions of the Iraqi war under the control of the US, so that we can make sure that Iraq does not become a base for terrorist activity, that we are able to make sure a government does not come to power that will aid and abet terrorism, that we are able to do what's necessary to prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of terrorists. Those national security goals are the proper goals of our effort, and we ought to be looking to the Iraqi people and to the international community to help deal with the political dimensions of establishing a stable government there.
A: They stay there until they get the job done. Kerry is preoccupied with an exit strategy, but if you get into a battle and the only thing you're thinking about is how to get out, I think we have a word for you-and it's not very complimentary. We are engaged in a war against terror that was started by the terrorists, that claimed the lives of thousands of Americans, that involves a global infrastructure of insidious individuals. We have seen the work they do against innocent lives in the most bestial fashion possible. To fight that war, it is not sufficient to have rhetoric, it is not sufficient to react after the fact. You have got to preemptively move against their bases, against their sources of supply, against their training camps, against the states the provide them with safe haven and infrastructure. If you do not, then they will simply prepare for further attacks.
A: There is not. One of the problems with folks who haven't really had much experience in dealing with terror is that they don't understand that we are in fact faced with a global infrastructure. Saddam was providing, for instance, payments to the families of suicide bombers who were moving against the Israelis. Bin Laden made it very clear he was doing so on behalf of, he said, the Palestinians and their cause. All of this suggests is the reality that we are not dealing with discrete elements here. We are dealing with a single war that has a front in Afghanistan, a front in Iraq that has a covert series of fronts that we don't hear much about, but in which our people are presumably going after the cadre of terror, that has a financial front & other fronts. To deal with this as if we're dealing with discrete little episodes is to show that you have no real understanding of the danger that we face.
KEYES: That's the fallacy, because you did make an argument just then from the wisdom of hindsight, based on conclusions reached now which were not in Bush's hands several months ago when he had to make this decision.
Q: I would rather see the issue be framed around other bad guys around the world watching this, and if we pull out and let a guy like Milosevic win, that is going to open the floodgates up to dozens of others.
A: I think that’s nonsense. I’m sorry. If you were going to consider that, [what about] the brutal Communist dictators with whom Clinton refuses to stop doing business? He wants to kill off half the population of Yugoslavia in the name of human rights, but he won’t even stop buying Chinese- made paper boxes? I don’t believe that this argument is made with sincerity. I think that a serious human rights policy requires that you build it and that you sustain it over the course of years in all the different aspects of your policy.
The best case we can make is at the level of our moral identity. When we come face to face with the ultimate issues of war and peace, all of those geo-strategic things go by the boards. [We should] appeal to arguments that stir the moral sentiments of this nation, and that call upon our willingness to moral commitments, to the things that we believe are right.
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