Reservations about this tipping point in Iraq
I'm sincerely happy for the Iraqi people who are celebrating in Baghdad today. This war has gripped me with very mixed emotions. Even as I have opposed US military action, I have been unable to imagine a convincing non-violent way to remove Saddam Hussein from power. I don't object to the ends, but I do object to the means. I wish Gandhi could comment on it.
Google pointed me to some quotes from Gandhi that articulate my concerns about the use of violence even for as noble a cause as liberation from tyranny. Both quotes are from Gandhi's thoughts on violence and terrorism
I object to violence because, when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.
A perfect example of long-term consequences of violence, this war was precipitated by the US support for Iraq in their war with Iran, who were supported by the Soviets. The US and USSR waged war with each other through these middle eastern countries. Iraq and Iran had their own animosity, but their conflict was fueled by the super powers. In our fear of communism we armed Iraq with the very weapons which originally motivated our present invasion. The Iraqi blood Saddam has spilled is also on our hands, not Saddam's alone. Perhaps this is a long overdue correction to the imbalances created in our protracted cold war with the Soviets. But that isn't the spin we get from the White House. Instead we get a Hollywood-style spin, ironically, with the US wearing white hats and Saddam and his sons in black hats. Good propaganda is true, but simplistic and one-sided. Even as the Iraqi's celebrate, I believe strongly that violent solutions create as many problems as they solve.
It is an unshakable faith with me that a cause suffers exactly to the extent that it is supported by violence. I say this in spite of appearances to the contrary. If I kill a man who obstructs me, I may experience a sense of false security. But the security will be short-lived. For I shall not have dealt with the root cause. In due course, other men will surely rise to obstruct me. My business, therefore, is not to kill the man or men who obstruct me, but to discover the cause that impels them to obstruct me and deal with it.
More conflicting emotions. I'm sincerely happy for the Iraqi people and optimistic about their future. But I wonder about the repercussions of preemptive and violent overthrow of a foreign dictator. It's like a code smell that I can't quite identify. I'm fairly sure the violence has something to do with it. It's a big ball of mud that I don't know how to refactor.