Eye On the Middle East May/Jun 2003
The Iraq encounter has clarified precisely where major nations stand on tyranny and the prestige and power of the United States and Israel. President George W. Bush made his assessment of the UN’s power and lack of conviction to act on its own resolutions. Security Council members were asked, for all practical purposes, to stand and be counted. The majority cowered behind accusations that the United States was becoming an imperialistic, go-it-alone, international “cowboy.”
Thus, to many in both the capitals of Europe and American and European news agencies, as well as in the eyes of homegrown anti-American “activists,” the leaders of the United States and Great Britain became the enemies of humanity; and Saddam Hussein and his cadre of killers became the victims. One journalist spoke for a host of liberal thinkers when he said, “By launching an illegal, unsanctioned invasion of a sovereign nation, the U.S. has abandoned its moral standing. We are, by definition, a rogue state.”
Our critics ignore the fact that we were dealing with a mass murderer of epic proportions—one who stuffed people who disagreed with him into plastic shredders and fed what was left of them to fish. Saddam Hussein manufactured, used, and intended to use more weapons of mass destruction against nations that had no quarrel with the Iraqi people. He was delusional to the point of believing he had communed with Nebuchadnezzar, the ancient ruler of Babylon. It is well known that Saddam chose to dub himself, “The New Nebuchadnezzar.” The man’s atrocities would fill volumes and place him on a plane with history’s most notorious and dangerous international criminals.
Which brings us to the issue of “moral authority.” It is strange indeed to hear people of questionable motive accuse President Bush of lacking the moral authority to act in defense of our national interest and world civilization. It is stranger still to hear less than moral people in the entertainment industry criticize the leader of a nation that saw more than three thousand innocent people incinerated and slaughtered on September 11, 2001. Equally bizarre are the disapproving voices of amoral individuals in the media pontificating about a moral standard they themselves don’t believe exists. In their studied opinion, Saddam Hussein had as much or more moral authority to commit his atrocities as Western leaders have to fight for democracy and peace.
Is a double standard being applied here—a standard that democracies like America and Israel are held to while others are not? The answer is yes, and there is a reason for it.
In a March 20 article titled “Democracies and Double Standards” that appeared in the Internet Jerusalem Post, Editor-in-Chief Bret Stephens commented,
“World opinion” holds the US, and Israel, to a higher standard than other countries. This is a patent double-standard that harshly penalizes the occasional sins of the good guys while indulging the manifold sins of the bad guys….All the same, perhaps it is just as well. The world may hold the US and Israel to a higher standard, but so do Americans and Israelis themselves. It is this that has made both nations not only powerful but exceptional.
The reason the United States and Israel can be held to a higher standard is the indispensable undergirding of our societies by the Word of God, on which our Judeo-Christian system of moral, ethical, judicial, and social conduct is based. Therefore, the essence of our democracies is spiritual enlightenment, not primal brutality. If we forfeit this essence, we, too, will descend into the pit.