Tuesday, April 19, 2005


The Gandhi Method

Courtesy of Instapundit, an interesting link:
Martin Luther King Jr. once said of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the martyred World War II pastor, “if your opponent has a conscience, then follow Gandhi. But if you enemy has no conscience, like Hitler, then follow Bonhoeffer.”
It's a crucial difference. As Richard Land points out, Gandhi opposed British colonial rule... and knew quite well that he could count on a British conscience to advance his cause. Bonhoeffer, on the other hand, opposed Hitler... who had no qualms about smashing anything in his way. So Bonhoeffer abandoned his pacifism and fought the Nazis, tooth and nail. He was also personally involved in a plot to assassinate Hitler directly.

Apparently, too many still look at Saddam's Iraq and see colonial Britain, not Nazi Germany. Or perhaps they view Britain's troubled colonial rule over India, vs. the Nazi brutal military conquest of most of Europe, and see no important differences. (Ironically, such differences were pretty easy to see at the time... whereas the modern equivalents are even more stark. The United States has no colonies, nor has it gone in search of any. No foreign countries are required to pay taxes of any sort to the United States, the way all the European colonial powers insisted on milking their colonies. What we're left with is comparing Saddam's brutal invasions of Iran and Kuwait with the proliferation of McDonald's... and inventing a ridiculous "war for oil" that requires conspiracy theories to have any basis at all.)

A reader replied to Instapundit with the comment that, while Gandhi's model of disciplined peaceful resistance would never have worked in Iraq, it ironically could have worked quite nicely for the Palestinians in their resistance against Israel. Reader Howard Greene commented: "If the Palestinians had followed Gandhi I think they would have had their state in 1970." I agree completely. And if a Palestinian Gandhi arose today -- and managed to avoid assassination by his own people -- I think he'd go far and fast.

The Palestinians clearly believe -- in spite of all evidence to the contrary -- that they are fighting a ruthless Israeli dictatorship, not a democracy with a conscience; so they follow Bonhoeffer, not Gandhi. (Alternatively, perhaps they -- or their self-declared leadership -- truly have no interest in living alongside Israel in peace, and have not changed their push for Israel's total destruction. Which alternative seems more likely to you? Think about it.)

And, as Land asks about anti-war activists:
Is [your] opponent President Bush, or Saddam Hussein?
The Professor didn't say it, but I will. Read the whole thing.


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