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Antiwar thinking: Acknowledge despair, highlight progress on 'moral preemption'

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It is difficult not to feel despair and powerlessness at this awful juncture. Millions in the world fought with all their hearts and minds to avoid violencein Iraq. Inevitably, when bombs fall, there is a deep and emotional void that is opened.

Many will pray. Others will simply reflect. Countless numbers will continue to take to the streets. But all will worry over the extent of destruction to come and the scope of its repercussions.

We have seen dark moments before. Slavery, the holocaust, the Vietnam War - man's inhumanity to man is not to be underestimated.

In the fight against apartheid, we saw times that seemed the world had come to an end. The nation wept in 1993 with the assassination of Chris Hani, the widely popular leader who many thought would succeed Nelson Mandela as head of the African National Congress (ANC). Violence clenched South Africa. The constitutional negotiations between the ANC and the whites-only National Party were broken nearly beyond repair.

This was the lowest point of our struggle. But faith prevailed, as did the moral fortitude of average people to do what is right. With it, apartheid ended.

In today's moment of deep anguish over the war, it is important to recognize the reasons for hope and pride, both in the United States and across the globe.

Never in history has there been such an outpouring of resistance from average people all around the world before a war had even begun. Millions took a stand. This doctrine of moral and popular preemption must be sustained.


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