One of the highlights of the pro-war rally sponsored by the Yale College Students for Democracy yesterday was the speech of star faculty member David Gelernter. We don’t have a link to Professor Gelernter’s speech, but we have obtained the text. Here it is…a Power Line special.
“Among supporters of the war in Iraq I doubt there’s a single one who’s ‘pro-war.’ No one wants war, no one likes war; but now is the time to recall that no one likes the word ‘duty’ very much either, or ‘obligation,’ or ‘responsibility.’
“But I think we’re here today to talk about our obligations and our duties: our duties as Americans to protect this country and support our troops; our duties as human beings, and especially as Americans, to listen when suffering people cry out; to hear them and not turn away.
“We know how easy it is to turn away. We know that when a bestial dictator systematically tortures and dismembers, and rapes women and hacks men to pieces and murders thousands on whim — we know that most natural thing in the world is to turn away. And we know also: it’s our duty not to.
“We know we have a duty to protect our country; we know that September 10th, 2001 would have been a better day to start worrying about terrorist mass attacks than September 12th turned out to be. We know that today is a better day to worry about nuclear- or poison gas- or smallpox-armed terrorists than the day after they strike.
“When we look at Saddam Hussein we see a man who’s proved he loves to fight, proved he loves to kill, proved he loves weapons of mass murder, proved he hates America; a man who’s spent a whole lifetime creating misery.
“The UN’s long search for weapons of mass destruction was always a joke, because the number one weapon of mass destruction is enthroned in Baghdad, or was; Saddam Hussein IS a weapon of mass destruction, a poison gas who’s spread suffering and death as far as he can reach.
“But our goals in Iraq go beyond protecting our country; and if self-defense were our only goal, we could have blown the regime apart far more easily than by waging the kind of war we’re waging today. We have another goal: to save the Iraqi people from misery and murder.
“We know it’s a strange, radical idea, because the world keeps telling us so. What an honor to be told by France and by Germany — the symbolism, the historical resonance is so perfect, it’s almost unbelievable — what an honor to have France and Germany tell us: drop it, forget it, it’s not your problem! Torture and mayhem and murder visited by a brutal dictator on a helpless population…it’s not your affair.
“After all, these things happen. Sophisticated nations shrug it off. Where do you Americans get the arrogance to believe that no man is an island entire of itself? Who ever gave you the crazy idea that each man murdered, each man tortured, each woman raped diminishes you because you are involved in mankind? Who ever told you that crazy arrogant stuff?
“It IS a radical doctrine and always has been. But America is a radical nation, and has always tried, sometimes successfully and sometimes not — but always TRIED to see what’s right and do it. To do the right as God gives us to see the right.
“I’ve often been proud of this country in my lifetime, but I’ve never been prouder of it than I am today. It’s never been such an honor and such a privilege to be part of it. Thank you, thanks for coming, and God bless America.”
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