Some Wars are Just

There is unfortunately evil in the world. Sometimes it is disguised in religious garb. But that makes it no less evil. When that evil threatens to take over the world by any means necessary, it becomes the duty of free nations to do what they can to prevent it. Even if that means sending our own children into harm’s way.

It is understandable that there is a blind spot to that because of the potential danger. Opposing war with a country still at peace seems like a no brainer. When the danger is not immediate and in any case not at your doorstep, it doesn’t seem to exist at all except in the media. I can therefore understand why the American people would be reluctant to go to war with Iran… or vehemently oppose it.

Arguments about nuclear weapons in the hands of fanatic regimes known to export terror… and known to have goals of world dominance someday, fall flat in the face of thoughts about ‘my son’ going to war and coming back permanently injured or dead.

This is how the war in Viet Nam was perceived by the public after it started dragging on with no win in sight. Talk about communism taking over the world starting with South East Asia made no difference. It was their problem. We were safe here. Why should we care what happens in Asia? It will not affect us in any way.

Well that attitude ended up being the right one. Viet Nam was a disaster that should have never happened.  The Communists won and it cost over 40,000 American lives to find that out. The communist takeover of Viet Nam has not affected us one iota.

The war in Iraq had the similar arguments made in support of it. There was a despot who we believed to have weapons of mass destruction and he defied the world. Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator and ruled his country with an iron fist. If you lived there and opposed his regime, you didn’t last very long. Hussein had no compunction about killing tens of thousands of his own people with chemical weapons because they opposed him.

Morality was on our side. We believed that he had nuclear weapons and attacked him. His army was no match for the Shock and Awe of the mighty US military. We toppled him quickly and set up a democratic regime. But it was weak and divided… ripe for takeover by religious fanatics. That country is now a disaster. Had we not invaded Iraq, Saddam Hussein would still be there as would the status quo ante of relative peace for its people. ISIS would never have gotten off the ground.

In my view we lost more than we gained there and we should have stayed away. True Hussein was a brutal dictator and ridding the world of Saddam Hussein may have been the right thing to do in a vacuum. But one must consider the consequences. Sometimes you have to choose the lesser of 2 evils no matter how bad the lesser evil is.

I don’t blame the Bush administration for going in with a goal of destroying weapons they believed were there and with the hope of replacing a dictatorship with a democracy. Nobel goals. But they miscalculated. There were no weapons of mass destruction nor were any being built or even contemplated. The country was relatively peaceful. If you supported Hussein you could get on with your life quite nicely there. But… hindsight is always 20/20. I supported the war then. But I would have opposed it knowing then what I know now.

So when it comes to attacking Iran – which is a far more dangerous proposition… where many more lives will be lost, It is very understandable that the American people might very likely be strongly opposed to it. They see a country 7000 miles away that is no immediate danger to the US. There are no nuclear weapons there now… and who knows if they will ever be. And they are in the middle negotiations to curb their pursuit of them. And even if they ever do get nuclear weapons… a lot of countries we don’t like have them. Like North Korea. No one wants to send their child into harm’s way for this.

Understandable. But wrong.  The threat from Iran is not unknown.  It is there for the entire world to see. 19,000 centrifuges are there for the sole purpose of enriching uranium to nuclear grade capacity. Iran has a fanatic fundamentalist religious leader whose long term  goal is to take over the world. And whose short term goal is to annihilate 6,000,000 Jews (the approximate number of Jews living in Israel). Something he repeatedly says must be done. Unlike our ambiguity about nuclear weapons in Iraq, no one doubts Iran’s ambitions and intention to see them through.

This is not to say we must go to war now. I agree that we must allow diplomacy work. But the goal must be to eliminate their ability to produce weapons of mass destruction entirely. Anything less gives them a green light to eventually produce them; use them to annihilate 6,000,000 Jews; and further advance their long term goal of establishing an Islamic world order governed by a religious fanatic like Ayatollah Khameni.

There is such a thing a good war. A righteous war. A war worthy of sacrifice. This is what World War II was. It was the Good War. The American people knew what they were fighting. And sent their sons willingly into harm’s way to combat it. People died. Our entry into World War II was an example of what kind of sacrifice was required of us. The invasion at Normandy Beach in France was a slaughterhouse! But we went in willingly to defeat the man who was to become the greatest mass murderer in history.

We are not there yet… and hopefully we will never be. But should it ever come to a war with Iran, it would be a just war. 6,000,000 Jewish lives are at stake here too. And just like Hitler’s goal was eventually world domination, so too is that the goal of Iran’s ‘Hitler’, Ayatollah Khameni and his henchmen in office. The world cannot allow another Holocaust of six million Jews. That is what is at stake here at the very least. Never again ought to mean something.

We cannot just turn our heads aside and say it will never happen. That’s what many people said about Hitler before he attacked Poland.  It was all just rhetoric for the benefit of the masses at home. Even many Jews in Germany thought that. Let us not repeat the mistakes of the past.

I will end with the headline of an editorial by Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief of Al Arabiya English. He is no fan of Israel and even less so of Netanyahu:  President Obama, listen to Netanyahu on Iran.

About the Author
My worldview is based on the philosophy of my teacher, Rabbi Aaron Soloveichik , and the writings of Rabbis Joseph B. Soloveitcihk , Norman Lamm, and Dr. Eliezer Berkovits from whom I developed an appreciation for philosophy. I attended Telshe Yeshiva and the Hebrew Theological College where I was ordained. I also attended Roosevelt University where I received my degree in Psychology.