Elie Wiesel on Iraq

Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel wrote an op-ed this week in the Los Angeles Times making the case for war in Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power,

Isn’t war forever cruel, the ultimate form of violence? It inevitably generates not only loss of innocence but endless sorrow and mourning. How could one not reject it as an option?

. . .

Though I oppose war, I am in favor of intervention when, as in this case because of Hussein’s equivocations and procrastinations, no other option remains.

The recent past shows that only military intervention stopped bloodshed in the Balkans and destroyed the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Moreover, had the international community intervened in Rwanda, more than 800,000 men, women and children would not have perished there.

Had Europe’s great powers intervened against Adolf Hitler’s aggressive ambitions in 1938 instead of appeasing him in Munich, humanity would have been spared the unprecedented horrors of World War II.

Does this apply to the present situation in Iraq? It does. Hussein must be stopped and disarmed. Even our European allies who oppose us now agree in principle, though they insist on waiting.

. . .

We have known for a long time that the Iraqi ruler is a mass murderer. In the late 1980s, he ordered tens of thousands of his own citizens gassed to death. In 1990, he invaded Kuwait. After his defeat, he set its oil fields on fire, thus causing the worst ecological disaster in history. He also launched Scud missiles on Israel, which was not a participant in that war. He should have been indicted then for crimes against humanity. Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic was arrested and brought to trial for less.

. . .

The nightmarish question of what such a man might do with his arsenal of unconventional weaponry is why, more than ever, some of us believe in intervention. We must deal sooner rather than later with this madman whose possession of weapons of mass destruction threatens to provoke an ever-widening conflagration.

What it comes down to is this: We have a moral obligation to intervene where evil is in control. Today, that place is Iraq.

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