Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.

Freedom's Fidelity

Monday, November 17, 2003

War, Anti-War and some real differences.

At times I have found myself annoyed by the anti-war movement's often compartmentalized characterization of those that supported war in Iraq. As bothersome as it has been the charge that this is a war for oil, or to kill Muslims is so devoid of substance that I'm really good at ignoring, and in some cases, laughing at the absurdity of it all. Porhpyrogenitus though has an excellent piece on exposing the flaw of these stereotypes as well as taking on the absurd belief that being anti-war, or "for peace" is inherently a more enlightened position. Here are some excerpts , but you really need to read it all.
couldn't stop thinking about the lads in their trench. I couldn't stop thinking about the men and women who are not only fighting, but dying or suffering horrible wounds in a war I supported and continue to support. About people in hospital beds with their faces or limbs blown off. About people who, even if they are not injured in this fight, will see things - see things they do to others - that are difficult to live with. This is of course only appropriate.

My belief is that it is the pro-war people, not the anti-war people, who tend to have a deeper understanding of exactly these things. Frankly I hope this belief is correct because it must be correct, because it is a responsibility we bear and must accept when we favor such a course of action. In some moral sense, those who oppose the war do not have to have it to the same degree, because they aren't asking people to face this. In other ways, I think it would be better if they did have a greater knowledge of both war and the alternatives to war than I think many of them do, because they bear a different moral responsibility, one that is no less grave, as a result of their opposition. And the consequences are really not as dissimilar as they seem to assume.
and there's this:
War is simply not the only font of human suffering, and there are worse alternatives to our fighting. Those alternatives can and frequently do include having more people see others blown apart by bombs. Lose their face or limbs to explosives. Witness and have to live with things so terrible that no one should have to live with them. Or sit by smugly, at a distance, while they happen to others, and condescend about how non-violent solutions should be preferred, and lecture the victims or those of us who would propose to fight on their behalf about responding to violence with violence. There are those who would rest pacifically, and assert to those of us to say there are some things worth fighting for that the fact they are not prepared to fight for anything is the best evidence of their superior enlightenment.

In '90 I suppose we could have stood by and not gone to war when Saddam invaded Kuwait. It would be interesting to see someone, especially those who ended up opposing sanctions throughout the '90s because of the suffering sanctions (or Saddam's manipulation of them) imposed on the Iraqi people, come up with a scenario for how everything would have been better in the world if we hadn't. Similarly in the Balkans: sending the UN Peacekeepers to watch and observe while murderous marauders slaughtered defenseless people in what were called "Safe Zones" does not seem to have been a less bloody alternative to bombing the aggressors till they accepted terms.

This is one of the more thoughtful pieces on the issue I have ever read, there is much more that you don't want to miss. Thumbs way up to Porphyrogenitus!


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