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Comparing Iraq to Hitler’s Germany is red herring

Dr. Ira Jaffrey’s column, “What if we had stopped Hitler sooner?” printed Feb. 11, deserves an answer. I will try to do so.

He gave three major points that protesters used as arguments against the war with Iraq: failure to find weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), no worldwide coalition and no exit strategy.

Yes, there was world-wide protest by millions of people of many colors, faiths and nationalities against going to war, because the United States claimed that Iraq posed an imminent threat to the United States and the world with its stock of WMDs.



This flew in the face of the fact that the U.N. inspectors were still in Iraq and were finding no WMDs. The inspectors asked for more men and more time to thoroughly search and question and file a complete report. Our president insisted on their recall.

We now know that there were no WMDs, although their existence was the prime reason given by the president for rushing into war. The protesters were right. The president’s own inspectors have spent months searching and have found no WMDs.



Yes, the protesters insisted there should be a “worldwide coalition” before launching a war. Maybe that insistence sprang from a simple belief in democracy, that no nation, however powerful, should unilaterally declare war; that we have the United Nations, however weak and irrelevant, as our president labeled it. Still it is our best hope for maintaining a rational, law-abiding world, and should be used.

Furthermore the protesters were protesting a pre-emptive war. As we know now, it is very difficult to know that your “intelligence” is more than an educated guess. Without that certainty pre-emptive war is immoral.

The “exit strategy” didn’t concern the protesters, the entrance strategy was what was opposed.

Regarding the question, “What if we had stopped Hitler earlier?” the situations are totally different. The question is a red herring and irrelevant.

Hitler wasn’t stopped and couldn’t have been. A humiliated Germany was united behind him and eager for revenge for the harsh terms of the 1918 peace treaty. The rest of the world remembered the slaughter and the destruction and suffering of the Great War. No one could believe that anyone would start another war.

The case of Iraq was different. It was weak and growing weaker. It was not a center for terrorists. Al Qaida was not there. Saddam, a secular ruler, hated the Taliban. Attacking Iraq stirred up more anger among terrorists and was an invitation to come and fight the American “crusaders” there.

In my opinion, we should be concentrating our considerable influence in Israel and Palestine. The situation there, the occupation of the West Bank and the settlements in Gaza, are a prime cause of Muslim anger and Islamic terrorism.

We are considered to be backing the Israelis and oppressing the Palestinians. An honest, even-handed brokering of a fair peace could do much for world peace and an end to terrorism.

A further step toward peace would be finishing the work of rebuilding Afghanistan. We crushed the Taliban, are still chasing Osama bin Laden, the warlords are still strong, opium is being grown in quantity, only Kabul is relatively secure. Surely a peaceful, democratic Afghanistan would be a feather in our cap and a great gift to the world.

Attacking Iraq was a mistake.

” Peter Larrowe of El Jebel is a war veteran, peace activist and a former monk.


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