The debate that has taken place in America over the legitimacy of the war in Iraq has exemplified liberals’ lackluster attempts to understand conservative beliefs. Liberal anti-war protesters have demonstrated their ignorance of why conservatives think the way they do. They have clearly not taken the time to respectfully listen to their fellow citizens and leaders with conservative ideas.

Some of the anti-war protesters’ favorite arguments against war included, “No blood for oil,” “Bush is a warmonger” and other unfounded claims about racism and imperialism. Anybody who believes that conservatives support this war because of oil or any of the other ridiculous claims is absolutely wrong.

No ifs, ands or buts about it.

And if any of the anti-war protesters sat down and had an intelligent discussion about this war with a conservative they would find this out. Yet the protesters prefer to automatically resort to insulting, offensive and false judgments about people supporting the war without first making a serious effort to try and learn why people support it.

This is troubling because I thought one thing liberals prided themselves on was not making false judgments about other groups in society.

Can these people honestly believe that someone could conduct or support something as serious as war for monetary reasons?

Here’s a lesson in conservatism. Support for war comes from the belief in the morality of self-defense and defending those who cannot defend themselves. Iraq’s neighbors cannot defend themselves on their own, as the first Gulf War demonstrated. Moreover, conservatives see little reason why Hussein would not be willing or able to give a weapon of mass destruction to a terrorist group, given the history of his behavior and that he has been able to get away with several hostile acts in the past. We also understand that Hussein has been able to secretly hide and build chemical and biological weapons, has sought nuclear weapons, and has done this over the last 12 years despite U.N. inspections.

Conservatives see Hussein as a threat to the lives of millions of innocent people. Thus, conservatives believe that as a matter of defending innocent people it is necessary to conduct a war against Iraq.

I understand that many people cannot reconcile war with morality because war requires killing other humans. Conservatives can reconcile the taking of life in war because those being killed are trying to kill other innocent humans themselves. Yes, innocent civilians do die in war and that is tragic, but if the war were not conducted at all for this reason, then someone like Hussein would be allowed to kill millions of innocent people himself. Taking a life to save your life or the life of another is seen as moral by religions and by the law, which is why conservatives can support war. I know that some religious leaders are opposed to this war, but they do believe that war can be justifiable if it is a matter of defense, and these religious leaders are not privy to the same information on the threat Hussein poses that the Bush administration is.

To know that someone is going to attempt to kill innocent people and do nothing is immoral. If someone with a knife were running to attack an innocent person and you were standing there with a gun, would you stand there and watch, or try to save an innocent life? And what would you want done if you were the one being attacked and the other person had the gun?

These are the underlying principles of the support for this war. Conservatives believe a greater amount of innocent lives will be saved because of the decision to go to war. Liberals, of course, can disagree with this, but they should argue against these specific points I’ve made instead of making ignorant judgments that are baseless. Politics in this country will be much less antagonistic if we all just understand each other better.

Todd Roberson is a sophomore political science major.