My friend Justin forwarded me an email recently about a German who lived through WWII and witnessed that country's move to Nazism from the inside, and how it relates to radical Islamists. I did some poking around and I think the essay originated here:
Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don’t speak up, because like my friend from Germany, they will awake one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun. Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Bosnians, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others, have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late. As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts; the fanatics who threaten our way of life.This reminds me of an op-ed that Onkar Ghate wrote for ARI back in 2002: Innocents in War?. He says that once it has been established that a nation's government is a tyrannical aggressor, and must be beaten by force, there are basically three types of civilians: Active supporters, passive supporters, and the active opposition (the truly innocent).
Many civilians in the Mid-East, for example, hate us and actively support, materially and/or spiritually, those plotting our deaths. Can one seriously maintain, for instance, that the individuals in the Mid-East who celebrated by dancing in the streets on September 11 are innocent?
Other civilians in enemy states are passive, unthinking followers. Their work and economic production, however meager, supports their terrorist governments and so they are in part responsible for the continued power of our enemies. They too are not innocent-and their deaths may be unavoidable in order for America to defend itself. (Remember too that today's civilian is tomorrow's soldier.)
The civilians in enemy territory who actually oppose their dictatorial, terrorist governments are usually their governments' first innocent victims. All such individuals who remain alive and outside of prison camps should try to flee their country or fight with us (as some did in Afghanistan).
War is terrible but sometimes necessary. To win the war on terrorism, we must not let a mistaken concern with "innocents" deter us. As a free nation, we have the moral right to defend ourselves, even if this requires mass civilian casualties in terrorist countries.How does this principle apply to the student protesters in Iran? Should we not act to support the REAL Green Revolution since there are so many innocents actively resisting oppression?