Thursday, March 13, 2003

oderint dum metuant

With all due respect to all my American readers, I think this entire situation with Iraq has gone beyond absurd.

War must be avoided, other options must be exhausted, and bullying tactics must never be legitimized. The authority of the United Nations must be upheld, the decisions of its Security Council followed. Otherwise, the entire organization represents nothing but sham politics where the strong always get their way no matter what.

If the US makes war with its "coalition of the willing" then it perpetuates the error of artbitrarily linking terrorism and Iraq, sowing more terror and confusion.

This is simply not the way.

Assuming all "goes well" (and that is a preposterous assumption because nothing in war goes well, especially for the victims of war), what is next? Shall the sabre-rattling target North Korea next? Shall we watch the self-proclaimed defender of God-given democracy take on a more terrifying aspect? After all, there are any number of nations it can target next. Whatever respectability or goodwill the US has achieved in its years of diplomacy by example is being tossed out the door.

Must we watch in mute shock?

Career diplomat John Brady Kiesling, in his letter of resignation from the Foreign Service of the United States, asks: "Has oderint dum metuant (Latin for "Let them hate so long as they fear" - thought to be a favorite saying of Caligula) really become our motto?"


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