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On Point

Will the U.N. Become the League of Nations?

by Austin Bay
February 12, 2003

The 1930s were a tough time for Winston Churchill. Exiled to Parliament's backbench, Churchill used elegant pen and eloquent tongue to make the case for British rearmament. He warned the world about Adolf Hitler -- and suffered personal attack from press and peaceniks for his visionary understanding of evil men, their aims and the consequences of appeasing them.

The contrast between Churchill and Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain -- the man who gave Czechoslovakia to Hitler -- couldn't be clearer.

"Peace in our time," Chamberlain promised Britain as he waved a useless Munich agreement in front of news cameras. Oh, he had the rhetoric of peace, the spin. The "feel good" posturing bought a few months of fake bliss.

Chamberlain judged himself by his "good intentions," but his peace march and mantra were lies. Terrible events proved Chamberlain morally, intellectually and spiritually bankrupt. Now, his name's a synonym for sellout to the vicious and genocidal.

Churchill spoke the truth when the truth was treated with disdain by self-described morally superior intellectuals. Churchill was also prepared to act. Defending lands where one can tell the truth ultimately requires blood, sweat, toil and tears. They are the price of real peace.

History never repeats itself -- time moves on, inexorably. Some themes, however, like terrifying musical phrases, reoccur, often in a horrifying crescendo. We call those crescendos the times that try men's souls, and in these moments we learn a great deal about our leaders and ourselves.

The challenge of confronting evil men, the challenge of backing noble words with courageous actions, the challenge of creating peace by blood, sweat, toil and tears instead of appeasing vicious dictators -- these challenges face each generation.

The Chamberlains of today -- they call themselves the "antiwar movement" -- are as deeply in denial of the stakes and consequences of failing to defeat Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda's global terror machine as Neville and the neutralists were in the 1930s when they kowtowed to Hitler.

Our nouveau Nevilles ooze with the same self-absorbed "peace cant," a monolog of conspiracy theories utterly detached from reality. Many so-called peace rallies are so barmy they exist beyond parody. After the gray-beard prof-type delivers an epithet-laden rant asserting President Bush and America are more dangerous than Saddam and bin Laden, several hundred 50-ish women disrobe and spell "No War" with their naked bodies. Peace in our time?

It's dumbfounding that many on the "peace left" claim to promote international, multilateral action, particularly in the United Nations, for they oppose the very policies that would strengthen the UN's ability to promote peace.

In the 1930s, when Fascist Italy smashed Ethiopia and Japan savaged China, the League of Nations complained and did nothing. The League became a laughing stock. Failure to act when challenged by murderous tyrants killed it.

Failure to confront the tyrants of today will kill the United Nations. Finishing Saddam is about enforcing multilateral resolutions. In the wake of Desert Storm, U.N. Security Council resolutions mandated that Saddam give up his weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

The United Nations made a commitment to force Saddam's regime to abide by the rules of a civilized world and eliminate his WMD and delivery systems. But Saddam has made a mockery of disarmament and the resolutions.

Anyone who claims to believe in multilateral action has to support Saddam's removal or conclude that the U.N. resolutions which shaped Desert Storm were a charade. And if they were a charade, then prepare for a world where the power of evil men is magnified.

Secretary of State Colin Powell provided evidence that Iraq helped Al Qaeda murder the a US official in Jordan. So the master of the terror state and Al Qaeda's terrorists do consult and connive. That deadly connection must be severed before we face a nuclear 9-11.

Thus, U.N. words must be supported by forceful deeds.

Who's going to join the United States in finally fulfilling that commitment?

The answer is, those with the spine and courage to defend democracy, to extend liberty to Iraq's oppressed and to create the conditions that promote peace in this imperfect world. It's the swath of this generation inspired by Churchill, not the angry, crank offspring of Neville Chamberlain.

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