Meaningful Distinction:

Patrick S. Lasswell Look outward for something to accomplish, not inward for something to despise.
pslblog at gmail dot com
Sunday, October 17, 2004
Dictatorships are Humanity in Retreat

One of the central axioms of military history is that more casualties are taken in retreats than attacks. People running away cannot defend themselves the way that people facing a threat do. The greatest genocides in human history have occurred under civil authorities in dictatorships. The recent uncovering of a killing field in Iraq where they found the skeletal remains of children clutching toys with bullets through their skulls drives this truth home. The thousands of Kurdish dead were not killed in a war; they were slaughtered to achieve political supremacy through terror.

The United States of America is in a unique position today; our way of life is proven through conflicts in military, scientific, economic, and cultural arenas. Culturally the United States is the supreme power on Earth; not because the Jerry Springer Show is good, but because it is an irrelevant fish in the largest ocean of competing entertainment offerings. Our economy is the largest in the world because opportunity is tempered by accountability to forge the strongest engine for sustained growth known to man. Our scientific achievements capture six out of ten Nobel prizes. The three most decisive military campaigns in history have been led by our armed forces in the last decade and a half; most impressively, these conflicts have inflicted a tithe of the expected civilian casualties. The greatest limitation to our ability to accomplish is our national will.

The nation that put man on the moon can bring democracy to the Middle East, if we choose to do so and maintain our commitment to that accomplishment. The peoples of Iran love the United States and are eager for our assistance in achieving lasting freedom. Even as we dither and listen to whines about civilian casualties in Iraq, ten times as many are dying in Sudan for lack of conflict. For people afflicted with dictatorships, pacifism is the strangulation of hope. Today we have the very real potential to simultaneously place within reach orbital flight for the common man in the United States, and real democracy for the rest of the world within our lifetimes.

We face a vote in two weeks where we decide as a people what we wish to accomplish. It is incredibly easy to embrace the pliant and comfortable sin of omission through withdrawal. Your friends cannot blame you for choosing to do nothing and hoping that things will turn out for the best because of your good intentions. I ask you to choose difficult and dangerous accomplishment instead. I ask you to help stop the retreat from humanity that is happening in Sudan and around the world. Face the dictators and show them what free people can do.
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