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What will the leftists say when millions of Iraqis turn out to vote in the region's first free elections? That it doesn't matter? That the murderous peace under Saddam was more humane? That those who risk their lives to vote are fools?

New York Post



GO see the film "Hotel Rwanda." Don't wait for the DVD. See it in a theater, where you'll get the maximum impact.

Telling the story of one brave man who found unexpected resources within himself, the movie captures the bewilderment and terror of those awaiting death at the hands of their neighbors — as the world looked on and did nothing. It's as close as most of us ever will come to learning the cost of Clinton-era hypocrisy and cowardice.

For two hours, you get a look at the savagery that haunts the struggling world beyond our shores. Of course, you won't have to smell the gutted bowels or swollen-to-bursting corpses. And you won't see the worst of the atrocities that took a million lives in Rwanda. But you'll see enough.

And you won't be let off the hook with cold statistics. This piercing film shows us the impact of great events on little lives. You'll see what awaits the innocent when the whole world looks away, when the deadly bigots are given the run of the house.

Not only in Rwanda. But in Sudan's Darfur region. Or in Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Only one thing troubles me about "Hotel Rwanda": Those on the left will see this film, shake their heads . . . and conclude they've done their duty by spending a couple of bucks at the multiplex. The one thing the left won't take from the film is a sense of its moral bankruptcy.

The left is blind to the suffering it condones. But every ranking member of the Clinton administration should live in shame not only at Clinton's reluctance to intervene in Rwanda, but at his outright obstruction of efforts to address the problem in the U.N. Security Council (you know you've hit a moral bottom when the United Nations looks more virtuous).

Our president feared another Somalia — and the world got something far worse. Clinton worried about his domestic popularity while a million Africans died. So much for our "first black president."

The Bush administration certainly has its flaws. But it's exasperating to hear the same leftists who'll leave the theater with tears in their eyes (vowing "Never again!" as they always do) complain about our efforts in Iraq. If I could have my wish, "Hotel Rwanda" would be mandatory viewing for all the never-served-and-never-will protesters who hope to spoil Inauguration Day. Maybe one or two would draw a parallel.

Through internal oppression and wars of aggression, Saddam killed far more people than did the Rwandan genocide. The left would have let the killing continue. Now those who opposed the war would like to halt our efforts at building peace.

What do those protesters think would happen if our president agreed to their demand to "bring the troops home"? Do they think Atlantis would rise from the Tigris River, bringing with it a golden reign of peace? Do they want the Baathist thugs to return to power? Would they really like the terrorists to win?

Where were those self-righteous protesters when Saddam was butchering the Kurds, or Iraq's Shi'a Muslims? Where were the environmentalists when Saddam drained the vast marshes in southern Iraq to punish the population?

What will the leftists say when millions of Iraqis turn out to vote in the region's first free elections? That it doesn't matter? That the murderous peace under Saddam was more humane? That those who risk their lives to vote are fools?

It's a wonderful thing to be an idealist, but to be one successfully requires embracing practical means, not slogans. The leftist catechism that military intervention is always bad (less bad, though, when initiated by a Democrat) means turning away from the pleas of those marked for death.

The left had a grand time with the abuses in Abu Ghraib prison. But I didn't meet a single anti-war activist in Iraq last year, when I toured a network of torture chambers Saddam's regime had used to butcher the Kurds.

Leftists are always happy to weep over corpses, but they find it an inconvenience to save the living.

My own slight involvement in our tardy military deployment to Rwanda ended on a runway apron in Italy. I had hoped to go to Kigali with my friend Col. Jim McDonough and his paratroopers, but, at the last minute, I was yanked back for a mission to Bolivia.

I heard from Jim, though. A veteran of infantry combat in Vietnam, he described his night-time arrival in Rwanda as "a scene from Hell." He had never seen anything as infernal as the streets of Kigali. And Jim landed after the Tutsi rebellion had stopped the Hutu-sponsored massacres.

The United States can't intervene everywhere. We can't do everything. We're stretched thin in Iraq — which the Europeans take as an excuse to do nothing in Darfur. But there are times when the world's barbarities grow too enormous to ignore. And if we do not lead, no one else will.

We failed in Rwanda. But, for all our tribulations, the United States did the right thing in Iraq.

When you see Inauguration Day coverage of those anti-war protesters in downtown Washington, ask yourself how many innocent people they would be willing to sacrifice for their political vanity. And ask how they'd feel if the killers came for them.

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Created by keza
Last modified 2005-01-21 09:33 AM

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