Pray for guns

If you’ve ever driven past the federal courthouse in downtown Reno on a Monday evening, you’ve likely noticed a small group of people gathered there. That would be the collection of peaceniks known as the Reno Anti-War Coalition and the Sierra Interfaith Action for Peace. You can find out more about them at their Web sites here: and

Now ordinarily I don’t give activists too much thought, peace activists in particular. I categorize most activists under the heading of “people with too much time on their hands.” The Constitution gives people the right to peaceably assemble, so why should I care if some people want to publicly display their dismay at our actions over Iraq?

What galls me is that some people still simplistically claim that Iraq is all about oil. That’s a premise clearly disputed by the recent prices at the pump and the cash I shell out every time I fill up my Sherman Tank SUV.

Albert Einstein once said, “Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” A change in our policy toward Iraq obviously was required.

In the last 50 years, the United States has often made failed and contradictory foreign-policy decisions with respect to tyrannical governments. Yesterday’s “ally” becomes tomorrow’s “enemy” with each election, yet the despotic dictators remain. Perhaps President Bush’s preemptive action in Iraq had something to do with this contradiction and was a clear message that dictators have to go.

The Anti-War Coalition issued a press release after the Nov. 2 election that said in part: “Today is a very sad day for the United States and for the world. We have allowed one of the most dangerous, arrogant, repressive and imperialistic regimes in U.S. history to remain in power for another four years. As far as we can tell, the United States will continue to illegally and indefinitely occupy Iraq.”

Newsflash: Article 2, Section 2 of the United States Constitution gives the executive branch (the president) exclusive authority over the military as commander-in-chief. Bush didn’t require Congress’s approval or permission to use force in Iraq. Still, Congress ratified his actions in a joint resolution supporting the use of military force and in the subsequent funding of the military. Hence, U.S. involvement in Iraq is not “illegal,” despite the musings of the anti-war group or the United Nations.

The United Nations, you should also note, voted not to reappoint the United States to its seat on the Human Rights Commission but, in the same vote, gave a seat to Sudan, a country that tolerates and supports the wholesale slaughter of black Christians by the Arab Janjaweed. The commission also contains a slew of such countries as Russia and Indonesia, whose citizens don’t have one-tenth of the legal protections we take for granted. The real stars on the U.N. commission are the dictatorships: Libya, Syria, China, Cuba and Vietnam.

The reality is that evil exists in the world, and wars have freed more people in the 20th century than any amount of diplomacy ever did in all the centuries before. Like it or not, accept it or not, the only way toward a lasting peace is to spread democracy. If it requires force to do so, than so be it. It’s as Al Capone once said, “You can get more with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone.”

Perhaps at its next vigil, the Anti-War Coalition could pray for history lessons, in addition to praying for peace.