Intellectual impotence

Ralph Peters:

THE greatest lie intellectuals tell us is that "the pen is mightier than the sword." That's what cowards claim when they want to preen as heroes.

Billions of words have been hurled at Sudan's government. The misery in Darfur not only continues but deepens. While intellectuals wrestled with compound sentences, Darfur degenerated from selective oppression to savage anarchy.

Legions of columnists and commentators have deplored Robert Mugabe's monstrous rule in Zimbabwe. But none of the hand-wringing by American, European or even African intellectuals restrained one fist or stopped one club in midair. Guess who "won" that election.

Regiments of professors and pundits have bemoaned China's gobbling of Tibet for half a century. The result? Beijing cracked down even harder.

"Brave" columnists wrote countless columns bemoaning the suffering of the Kurds and the Shia under Saddam Hussein. Their earnest paragraphs didn't save a single life.

Only when better men acted did the surviving victims of one of the world's worst dictatorships glimpse freedom - an imperfect freedom but better than a mass grave.

Nothing positive is going to happen in Sudan or Zimbabwe (or Tibet) until rule-of-law states take action. As outraged activists scribble on, Beijing blithely continues supporting these and other rogue regimes (and our president crawls to the Olympics - it's as if FDR had rushed to the games in Berlin).

There was a good reason the assassins of 9/11 attacked the targets they did, rather than steering those planes into Columbia University or Harvard Yard: They knew that the potency of the intellectual is illusory, that it dissolves at the first shot.

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Does anyone really believe that there's anything we can write or say that will persuade al Qaeda to make nice? It's on the strategic defensive today but only because our soldiers and Marines thumped the hell out of its cadres in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The point isn't that military solutions are always the best solutions - any problem that can be resolved without bloodshed should be handled peaceably. But we've got to stop playing pretend: In this hate-plagued, often merciless world, events sometimes demand action, not just talk.

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... In over 5,000 years of more or less recorded history, how many tyrannies have been overthrown by noble sentiments? How many genocides have been averted by reasonable discussions? How many wars have been prevented by Quakers?

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Somethings can only be achieved by the use of force and that makes the intellectual impotent angry. This intellectual impotence has led to the suffering and killing of thousands in Africa while they wait for the "multilateral consensus" to "save them."

What is wrong with the multilateral approach is that the guy willing to do the least controls the agenda. That is why China can thwart effective action in Darfur or Zimbabwe. It is why an incompetent like Mbeki can pretend there is no crisis when a black African leader is beating killing his own people.

The results of this intellectual impotence is a passive aggressive multilateral genocide.

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