The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing -- Edmund Burke

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God's Designs Don't Include Saddam Hussein

Doug Patton

As It Is

Doug Patton
dpatton@americasvoices.org       
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"The military lessons to be learned from the lead-up to the Iraq operation are profound, and all point in the same direction:  America should always have the means to act alone, in any area of the globe where danger threatens and with whatever force is necessary.  ...The U.S. must not merely possess the means to act alone if necessary; it must also cultivate the will.  Fate, or Divine Providence, has placed America at this time in the position of sole superpower, with the consequent duty to uphold global order and to punish, or prevent, the great crimes of the world.  That is what America did in Afghanistan, is in the process of doing in Iraq and will have to do elsewhere.  It must continue to engage the task imposed upon it, not in any spirit of hubris but in the full and certain knowledge that it is serving the best and widest interests of humanity."
-- Paul Johnson, British journalist, historian & author (Napoleon, A History of the American People, The History of Christianity, The History of the Jews, The Intellectuals, The Birth of the Modern, and Modern Times.)

March 25, 2003

 

Professor Fred Nielsen teaches in the History Department of the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  Writing for the History News Service, the professor recently published an op-ed piece entitled "Bush lacks Lincoln's humility concerning Almighty's designs", which was reprinted in the Omaha World-Herald.

Quoting journalist Bob Woodward, philosopher William James and a forty-year-old Bob Dylan song, the good professor seems to suggest that the current Iraqi war and its participants are on an equal moral plane with those involved in the American Civil War.  They are not.

Nielsen asserts that Abraham Lincoln was not as sure of God's favor as is George W. Bush.  He writes that "Bush, who believes America to be ordained by God and who credits God with the fact he is in the White House, has turned Lincoln's theological and political wisdom on its head.  Convinced that God is with him, the president has shown remarkably little interest in allies at a time when he needs them most."

Nielsen seems offended and almost frightened at the certitude of a President who has told his advisers that he does not worry about alienating other nations.  Woodward, quoting Bush:  "At some point, we may be the only ones left.  That's okay with me.  We are America."

I believe that most Americans are reassured by such conviction.  I know I am.

Nielsen contends that the issues with which Lincoln wrestled were "more momentous than those we face today."  Really?  Does the professor not remember September 11th?  Does he really believe the nation could survive the unchecked proliferation of weapons of mass destruction among the Osama bin Ladens and the Saddam Husseins of the world?  Are these less momentous than the issues faced by Abraham Lincoln as he struggled to hold the Union together?  I would argue that while holding the Union together as one nation was a very good outcome to the Civil War, it pales in comparison to the prospect of nuclear weapons in the hand of the sort of fanatics who committed the atrocities of 9/11.

As Nielsen suggests, Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address indeed questioned how prayers prayed by both the North and South could be answered by the same God.  Yet, it does not follow that George W. Bush must be as unsure of his place in God's plan as was Lincoln.  Abraham Lincoln was prosecuting a war against his own countrymen in order to hold his nation together, while George Bush is fighting a foreign enemy that has proven itself to be a danger to America and to the civilized order.

A common thread seems to run through the thinking of those who oppose the current war against Saddam Hussein and his murderous regime in Iraq, and it is this:  that America has no right to go against the wishes of the United Nations.  Never mind that the United Nations is a schizophrenic body with no moral compass.  That seems not to enter into the conversation.

Professor Nielsen seems to share this internationalist thinking.  How else could he believe in the moral equivalency of the two situations he contrasts?  Abraham Lincoln faced grave tests as President; of that there can be no doubt.  But comparing the prayers of Saddam Hussein to those of Robert E. Lee is ridiculous.  They are not morally equivalent and the professor knows it.

Saddam Hussein is a menace to the civilized world.  No one could seriously believe that God wants this sadistic killer in power.  President Bush has the authority and the courage to carry out the stated will of United Nations Resolution 1441.  He is carrying out the will of the vast majority of Americans.  And I am willing to trust that he is carrying out the will of God.

 

Copyright Copyright 2020 by Doug Patton & America's Voices, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Doug Patton is a freelance columnist who has served as a speechwriter and policy advisor for federal, state and local candidates, elected officials and public policy organizations.  He is a senior writer at GOPUSA, and his weekly columns are published in newspapers across the country, on selected Internet websites, including www.GOPUSA.com, and on America's Voices where he writes the weekly column
"As It Is".  Doug also writes for the Talon News Service.  Readers can e-mail him at dpatton@americasvoices.org.

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