enlightened and pragmatic

The Israeli author Amos Oz explains why "many decent people of enlightened and pragmatic views oppose an invasion against Iraq."

And I do object to an Iraq invasion — because I feel that extremist Islam can be stopped only by moderate Islam, and extremist Arab nationalism can be curbed only by moderate Arab nationalism. America, Europe and the moderate Arab states must work to weaken Saddam Hussein's despicable regime — but they should do so by helping those who would topple it from within.

An American war against Iraq, even if it ended in victory, is liable to heighten the sense of affront, humiliation, hatred and desire for vengeance that much of the world feels toward the United States. It threatens to arouse a wave of fanaticism with the power to undermine the very existence of moderate governments in the Middle East and beyond. This pending war is already splitting the alliance of democratic states and cracking the ramshackle edifice of the United Nations and its institutions. Ultimately, this will benefit only the violent and fanatical forces menacing the peace of the world.

Allow me to digress a bit. While he doesn't say it himself here, there is of course no way to avoid including the Bush administration as among the most deadly of those forces.

Think about it. When has one man been able to threaten the peace and security of the entire planet on his own? No, Osama Bin Laden doesn't cut it, even Hitler couldn't stride the geography our very own madman does, and Napoleon's brief European hegemony, Mr. Blair, at least brought many of the blessings of the French Revolution permanently to parts of Europe still suffering a plodding medieval system.

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Published on February 19, 2003 12:22 PM.

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