Ben Shapiro 2005: Why war in Iraq is right for America

Ben Shapiro writes Aug. 10, 2005: Americans are impatient isolationists at heart. We don’t want to be the world’s policemen. Gaining Iraqis their freedom, as good as it sounds, isn’t enough of a justification for war. China is a dictatorship. North Korea is a dictatorship. Saudi Arabia, Libya, Syria, Pakistan and Egypt are all dictatorships. We can’t overthrow all of those regimes simply to free their citizens. We have to focus on those regimes that endanger American security. World War II wasn’t about liberating Europe, but about protecting America. Vietnam, meanwhile, is a controversial war precisely because the direct threat to America posed by the Viet Cong is questionable…

Empires either decline or they grow. If America is to survive and flourish, Americans must realize that empire isn’t a choice: It’s a duty.

Some, like arch-isolationist Pat Buchanan, wish to ignore this simple point. In his tome “A Republic, Not An Empire,” Buchanan protests that isolationism should remain America’s policy. Buchanan points to British involvement in World War I as the cause of the empire’s destruction. No doubt he is partially correct. But it was British indecisiveness that allowed Germany’s escalating militarism in the pre-World War I era. And after World War I, Britain remained the world’s most powerful empire. The British Empire did not truly collapse until after World War I, when through appeasement and dereliction, it allowed Germany to rearm. It was World War II that signaled the death knell for the British Empire. For an empire, inaction and isolation allow the cancer of rebellion to grow and spread.

That is why impatient isolationism serves us ill in Iraq. Did Iraq pose an immediate threat to our nation? Perhaps not. But toppling Saddam Hussein and democratizing Iraq prevent his future ascendance and end his material support for future threats globally. The same principle holds true for Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Pakistan and others: Pre-emption is the chief weapon of a global empire.

No one said empire was easy, but it is right and good, both for Americans and for the world. Forwarding freedom is always important, but it is especially important where doing so ensures America’s future security — as in Iraq. Maintaining American empire will require Americans to recognize the dangers of impatient isolationism.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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