All those who support the American war in Iraq should make a deal with anyone opposed to the war. Offer to answer any 20 questions the opponents wish to ask if they will answer just one:
Do you believe we are fighting evil people in Iraq?
That is how supporters of the war regard the Baathists and the Islamic suicide terrorists, the people we are fighting in Iraq.
Because if you cannot answer it, or avoid answering it, or answer “no,” we know enough about your moral compass to know that further dialogue is unnecessary. In fact, dialogue is impossible. Our understanding of good and evil is so different from yours, there is simply nothing to discuss. Someone who was asked a hundred years ago “Do you believe that whites who lynch blacks are evil?” and refused to answer in the affirmative was not someone one could dialogue with.
Here are the responses you are likely to receive:
1. The Bush administration is just as evil: for illegally invading a country that did not threaten us; for “lying” to get us into Iraq; and because it is a war for corporate profits.
2. Some of those we are fighting may be evil, but not all; some are simply fighting against foreign occupation of their country.
3. We cannot call anyone evil; only God can make such judgments.
I will respond to these “responses,” but what is most important is to acknowledge that none of them actually responds to the question. Anyone posing this question to opponents of the war must not let them off the hook. They must answer the question: Do you believe we are fighting evil people in Iraq?
Regarding the issue of judging anyone evil, the best response is a question: Can we judge anyone to be good (not perfect, just good)? Of course we can. But if we can’t call anyone evil, we can’t call anyone good, and we certainly know that there are good people. If there are good people, there have to be not good, evil people.
Anyone who remains unable to morally judge people who slit the throats of innocent people, who place bombs in the middle of markets, and who murder anyone attempting to help women achieve basic human rights is a moral imbecile.
As for the Bush administration being equally evil, this, too, reveals the responder’s values. It is one thing to believe the war was a mistake; it is quite another to regard it as a function of the administration’s desire to enrich Halliburton or expand the “American empire,” or because Jewish neo-conservatives pushed docile Gentiles — Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld — into waging it “for Israel.” Such views are held by people who are so angry and so brainwashed about conservatives that they have lost the elementary ability to identify real evil, which is what Islamic and Baathist terrorists and “insurgents” are.
Finally, the people fighting us in Iraq hate freedom, hate women’s rights, hate non-Muslims, and do all they can to murder innocent Iraqis and others in order to undermine the march toward freedom in Iraq. They are not fighting foreign invaders; they are fighting foreign liberators and domestic democrats.
It is worth again noting that none of those responses directly answers the question: Do you believe we are fighting evil people in Iraq?
It is one thing to oppose the war in Iraq; it is quite another to deny the evil of those we fight there. That is what the Left in America routinely does. And that is why the culture war in America is as important as the military war in Iraq.