Lecture At U. Massachusetts Advocates Giving War A Chance

This story was written by Sarah Belanger, Massachusetts Daily Collegian
The University of Massachusetts Republican Club hosted guest speaker Jonah Goldberg in a lecture titled "All I'm Saying is Give War a Chance" on Wednesday.

Republican Club president Brad DeFlumeri began the night with a disclaimer stating that the lecture was not intended to advocate or promote war but that Goldberg was invited to speak about recent successes in Iraq.

Goldberg, editor of National Review Online, tried his luck at persuading an audience in the Student Union Ballroom to start thinking positively about the war in Iraq.

Goldberg broke the ice which tends to form around Republican issues in a liberal setting.

"If I knew there was going to be a podium, I wouldn't have worn pants," he said to lighten the partisan atmosphere.

Goldberg tried to debunk leftist notions about the war by referencing a recent New York Times article. According to Goldberg, the story was about special forces in Afghanistan trying to win back areas that had been taken over by the Taliban.

"The villagers bring out their kids," he said. "Some are blind, their skin infected, yellow eyes, cataracts and there are no vaccines. The medics do what they can. They can't help all of these people and the main reason is because there is only one doctor in the region who is only allowed to work on the Taliban. People are living in total poverty. The soldiers bring mittens, coats and blankets to these people but the Taliban comes the next day to burn it all."

This article, according to Goldberg, is a perfect example of why we need to be in Iraq.

"Before the success in the surge in Iraq, terrorists were butchering people," he said. "They would carve up individuals who got in their way, raping and destroying and denying women the most basic human freedoms. You might say, so what? We made these people, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't do something about the monsters we created."

Although this was an event hosted by the Republican Club, Goldberg's lecture didn't contain purely conservative ideals.

He focused on the issue of human rights in Iraq and the arguments from both sides of the political spectrum.

In an article printed in the Los Angeles Times, Goldberg wrote: "Saying we need a political solution is as helpful as saying 'give peace a chance.' Peace requires more than such pie-eyed verbiage. In the real world, peace has no chance until the people who want to give death squads another shot have been dispatched from the scene."

"We're in Iraq, we broke it we bought it, we have a moral obligation to fix it," he said Wednesday night. "To honor our commitments, help our allies, push for freedom when we can and wherever we can. The moral thing to push for is freedom and democracy."

Goldberg also expressed his confusion as to why democrats and liberal groups who advocate for human rights have a problem with that concept.

"How can one be for going into Darfur and at the same time demand that we get out of Iraq? It's baffling morally and politically," Goldberg asked the audience.

During a question and answer session, junior Joaquin Walker asked Goldberg about his thoughts on the state of politics today.

"I know a lot of people decided not to come tonight because of the fliers," he said. "People see the word Democrat or Republican on something and it turns them off."

This type of advertising, Walker said, is self-defeating.

"Democracy is about disagreements and the idea that politicians didn't argue like this in the past isn't true," Goldberg said in response. "People should concentrate more on the arguments and if they are persuasive."

Goldberg, a self-proclaimed War on Terror skeptic, believes that thewar was a mistake and one that we wouldn't have made if we knew then what we do today. Goldberg advocated, however, that we must give war a chance.

"Before war, people are giving peace a chance and when that doesn't work they give war a chance," he said. "If you believe that terror is caused by poverty, by lack of democracy, civil rights or rule of law, if you believe in any of those than you should support the projects in Afghanistan and Iraq."
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