James Joyner takes my ideas much further. Read it.
UPDATE: James has comments open here.
I think Mr. Joyner hits the mark with this statement near the end of his article.
“We owe it to the Iraqi people to do everything we can to help avert a civil war and give their fledgling democracy a chance. Saving them from themselves, however, is both beyond our power and responsibility. If they decide civil war is the only way to settle their longstanding disputes, we must stand aside and let them fight it and then try to salvage a relationship with the eventual victors. While that would be a bitter pill, indeed, after coming so close to achieving the incredibly ambitious vision of the neo-cons, it would nonetheless be preferable to the other alternatives. ”
However, I haven’t given up this cause as lost.
Not lost at all. Iraqis don’t want civil war either and seem to be doing everything they can to make that clear.
But like most “good news” it’s not as exciting as the bad. A person has to look for the reports of rallies and joint statements made. They are easy to miss.
Iraq the Model has an interesting post up today.
Stephen Green is entirely wrong as to both the Thirty Years War and as to the cause & effect of martial violence. (Comments at his original post seem to be close; my remarks apply to Mr. Joyner’s interest in war as well.)
Christianity was a violent religion until the Thirty Years War. That war lasted so long, and killed so many people (the population of Germany was reduced by a third), that Christendom lost its bloodlust. Freedom of conscience was born on the battlefields of central Europe.
What Bennet said.
I read your civil wat post from a couple days ago just now and figured I’d post up here. Glad to see that you guys on the right have finally given up the pretense of caring about the well-being of the people of the MidEast. To cavalierly muse about the benefits of an Iraqi or Muslim-Worldwide civil war on the basis of an shabby little analogy that a freshman history major could see was faulty. Putting aside your racist moral obtuseness in writing off the lives of who knows how many innocent people, what the hell makes you think an Iraqi Civil War could do any kind of good for the US. Think about this.
-The instability that has already occured in the Mideast has already shot oil prices up to record highs. You think the turmoil and terrorist spillover an Iraqi civil war would create wouldn’t crash the global economy?
-Terrorists thrive in failed states. By smashing up Iraq Bush has given Al Qaeda an even better training ground than they had in Afghanistan, right in the heart of the Arab world. He’s given Iran and its allies a new sphere of influence. Civil wars in Afghanistan, Sudan, and Iraq didn’t stop Al Qaeda from launching international attacks in bases in those countries.
-Even if one side eventually does prevail, what makes you think they or the Iraqi people would have any inclination to side with the US, the country that let the civil war begin? If anything, it will cause greater radicalism and anti-Americanism.
The jaunty ignorance of the rightwing pundit is a marvel to behold. No wonder your guy’s at 34%
Justin, (and whoever else), this can’t be about what is good for the United States. Lots of people get that wrong.
It has to be about what is best for Iraqis and what is in *their* best interests. It may not be in ours. At least not directly.
We’ve got decades behind us of making decisions for who we think will support our goals and look what it’s got us? Most of our problems can be attributed to this short sightedness. We need to support what is best for people… and that *is* liberty and prosperity. And when they have those they will act in *their* interest and *not* ours, except where those interests freely intersect.
The only way to argue that liberty is not in their interest is to argue that “they can’t handle it”. In effect, they are children, not adults.
This is wrong. Desperately so.
In truth, violence is violence. It comes from violence, and it leads to violence. It settles nothing.
Wow, a truism mixed with a non-sequitur. That’s quite a cocktail. I’m curious: did the violence of World War II “settle nothing”? Is Germany still pushing for liebenstraum, and are we watching the expansion of the Japanese empire?
The real truth is, while wars don’t always settle things, they frequently do. And they settle more disputes than just about any other method. That’s not to advocate war on every pretense, but this particular left-wing reflex is as tiresome as it is asinine.
And then there’s Bennett’s echo:
To cavalierly muse about the benefits of an Iraqi or Muslim-Worldwide civil war on the basis of an shabby little analogy that a freshman history major could see was faulty. Putting aside your racist moral obtuseness in writing off the lives of who knows how many innocent people…
Vodkapundit: guilty of thoughtcrime!
I read this blog fairly often, but this is the first time I felt compelled to comment. It amuses me to see all of you good progressives stopping by to pillory Stephen Green as a “right winger”. He’s not. At least not by any standard that I’ve seen. He sure as hell is not a Republican or a knee-jerk Bush backer. Keep up the good work of demonizing and driving away everyone who is insufficiently pure to join your club.
Oh, and so what if Bush is at 34%. Last time I looked, he’ll be in office till 2008 and then we won’t have to bother worrying about him anymore.
Well said Mr. Bennett. And Mr. Green’s self-delusion aside (do I “insult and inflame?”), I’d like to address Mr. E.Nough (Welsh surname?) and his comment:
did the violence of World War II “settle nothing”? Is Germany still pushing for lebensraum
It always amuses me when the pollo-hawks have to reach back to WWII for positive results from the American application of violence. That this comparison is no more appropriate than the 30 Yrs War is no less expected for being so feeble. And as I recall, we had a socialist in the White House at the time, and he mustered a spirit of cooperation in that particular conflict by encouraging victory gardens, saved balls of twine, tinfoil and silk stockings, tax rates up to 80% on the wealthy, &c, &c, &c. The konservatifs at the time weren’t too fond of the idea, but shucks, how they like to take credit for it now.
But I digress. Perhaps I’m just bitter because my leftist (inflammatory, hurtful, hateful) novels stopped selling in the late 70s. Maybe I’m upset by today’s kind get well card received from my third (and loveliest) ex-wife. Perhaps I’m rambling because I’m half-in-the-bag on a bottle of Brunello even though my doctor has told me to cut back. But back to Mr. Green, who reminds me of one of the Argentine generals (Galiteri) at the onset of the Dirty War who said: “We’ll kill 50,000 — 25,000 leftists, 20,000 sympathizers, and 5,000 mistakes.” They then proceeded to, among other nastiness, torture children to death in front of their parents as punishment for the adults
If your novels stopped selling in the 70′s it’s not because you can’t write.
It always amuses me when the pollo-hawks have to reach back to WWII for positive results from the American application of violence. That this comparison is no more appropriate than the 30 Yrs War is no less expected for being so feeble.
Perhaps if you laid off the Brunello, Mr. Trout, you would not miss my point by quite as many miles.
I wasn’t comparing WWII to the current Iraq war (although there are plenty of reasons the comparisons are valid, not least of them the “progressive” left defending a homicidal dictator in the name of “peace”). I was simply responding to the preposterous notion put forth by Bennett that violence settles nothing. This is absurd on its face; World War II being only the most obvious example.
I rarely look at WWII as an example of successful use of violence by the U.S. — it was really mostly the Russians that took the brunt of the violence. Nor do I see much relevance in the fact that our economy is far more able to absorb a small war in Iraq now than a huge war in Europe in the 1940s (talk about pointless asides!).
But hey, bonus points on the achingly clever “pollo-hawk.” I mean, the originality shines through.
Sorry that people thinking about war in realistic terms bothers you as much as it does. The adult world is tough, and you can’t always hide from it by reading Chekhov. Though I do recommend it on occasion.
With respect to those of my remarks cited by E.Nough, it is true that these sentences pack in a larger point of view. They need unpacking: by “violence is violence”, I meant to focus on features common to all violence whatever the cause. By “violence settles nothinh”, I meant to state the basic notion of pacifism (I am a pacifist), that violence while quelling some issues is the cause of further violence and that violence comes from prior violence. This is not an absurdity: it’s a fundamental political argument.
There has been a tremendous amount of war since WWII that has some of its origins in the geopolitical result of the war.
E.Nough’s literal reading ennables him to avoid this, and it’s notable that no point does he come anywhere close to addressing the main point of my post.
I believe that the mistake we make is when we view violence as some separate thing, always wrong, and other forms of force as always right.
People need to at least understand the concept of war being diplomacy carried on by other means or diplomacy being war carried on by other means. I can never remember which is the proper order but either way the purpose is to *force* the other side to do what you want.
The converse to “war never solves anything” or “violence is always wrong” is that *other* methods are perceived as always viable and always *right*. And they just aren’t.
The same problem comes with “war as a last resort.” If it is wrong, it is wrong, first resort or last. If it is a viable option, then it is an option at any point… the question being if it is the best response to the situation, not if all other options have failed.
Forcing change or forcing our will on another nation does not lose it’s evil cooties just because non-violent means are employed. Yet we toss about “sanctions” like party favors. Honesty would compel the conclusion that “sanctions” only work by creating hardship to the population, a low key war on the poorest, to enact pressure from the people on the government of that country, who we hope will change their policy… all without violence.
Is it without violence?
Do people who abhor war but support sanctions recognize the basic similarities between the two things? They are twin brothers, both in intent and in what makes them work… which is that they cause suffering.
Is that to say that sanctions are wrong? Of course not. But lets be honest about why they work. The *rightness* of them depends on the situation they are applied to. South Africa is a reasonably good example, at least in that it worked. Sanctions are one tool we have for solving problems.
War is also a tool for solving problems. It’s not wrong because it is violent or kills people. Failing to go to war can allow suffering and death and horror. It’s not a choice, generally, between “peace” and “war.” Usually it’s a choice between involvement and standing by to watch. Either has a moral weight of guilt attached to it.
Failing to go to war can allow suffering and death and horror. It’s not a choice, generally, between “peace” and “war.” Usually it’s a choice between involvement and standing by to watch. Either has a moral weight of guilt attached to it.
Excellent point. Using WW2 as an example, Western Europe was relatively unscathed up until 1944 as opposed to the Eastern front. Granted the Western Allies were invading as liberators, however if one merely looks at the destruction inflicted, it was more of our doing in liberating than the Germans did in conquest.
Now taking the pacifist point of view, we could have simply not joined in the war effort and let Western Europe to its fate under Nazi rule. That way one can take the moral high ground that they did not contribute to death and destruction yet that is probably small consolation to those nations who are left to live under oppression.
It goes back to the old saying that all that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.
I know this is a conservative blog, but surely you realize that Bush
Scratch a pacifist, wound a traitor.
You guys aren’t really against war or violence, you’re just on the other side and too cowardly to actually take up arms against us.
‘Progressives’ (spit)…. If you believed in anything more than expensive roccoco crap and a detached sense of irony, you’d be actual suicide bombers instead of metaphorical suicide bombers.
So which is it?
Do you hate your Daddy? Or Jesus so much that you cannot stand to see America prevail?
You can’t all be bomb-throwing Muslims…
So what would make a bunch of effete chardonnay drinking hippies, and their wretched offspring, wish to metaphorically suicide-bomb their own country?
‘Cuz you’re not a rock star? ‘Cuz Daddy dragged you to church? ‘Cuz Jesus roughed you up? ‘Cuz you don’t like Jews? or Walmart?
C’mon, share with us.
I don’t want to hear anymore ‘save the troops’ crap from you liberals–you would shoot at the troops yourselves if you weren’t yellow.
I guess America truly is blessed that our disaffected revolutionary 5th column consists of cowardly rich old atheist hippies.
We’ll win the war against the anti-progressive forces and preserve your freedoms in spite of your socialist rhetoric, you pussies.
Jeez, Evan. Is that helpful?
And Debbie, I’m not going to write anyone and tell them to pull out of Iraq on the belief that our men and women are valuable and Iraqi men and women are disposable.
I’d be embarassed and ashamed to think such a thing.
I’ve made the argument that “bring our troops home now” is nothing more than saying “let them kill each other” and you’ve just said as much. That civil war that’s not your fight? That blood is on your hands, too. You can’t avoid it by getting the people you care about out of the way of the slaughter of the people you don’t care about.
And I’d suggest not bringing up Christ and using him to bolster your argument. He *died* for those poor people that you want to abandon.
Julie’s first post is a string of assertions but comprises no proof of anything.
Yes, it is true that there are immoral non-violent ways of acting, but that does not make “violence” and “non-violence” morally equal aor that “non-violence”, as in non-violence disobedience to unjust force or authority, is just as immoral as violence.
If Julie had ever read anythikng about pacifism, she would have been disabused of the notion that pacifism means “standing by to weatch.” Non-biolent resistance is an active work requiring vast courage.
For the records, I do generally oppose sanctions as tool, so I guess I’m consistent. They are largely ineffective.
It is stated that non-violence “does nothing” to combat evil and is therefore wrong. But the whole theory of pacifism involves the substitution of non-violent tools agaimst injustice for violent ones. For myself, I do believe that it has been shown that non-violent resistance will bring down tyranny as well as violent resistance, with less loss of life and with fewer undesirable consequence.
To state the war is diplomacy by other means is just to assert one theory of war. It’s not a proof that there is any just war. That has to be argued, from both sides, through the philosophical questions posed by pacifist writings and writings in the just-war tradition.
Julie’s position is a purely instrumental one. If, believingh as she does that thed end justifies the means, one really starts to think about how and to what extent, then one is thinking through just-war vs. pacifism. In my work on this, the pacifist view always seems the most solid.
For Bill Fish, again I say that pacifism is not doing nothing. It is a strong, effective, active resistance.
Pacifism, of course, having little or nothing to do with the peace movement.
There is one thing that pacifism as a method of change requires, and that’s for the enemy to have a sense of shame about killing people who aren’t fighting them. It’s why Ghandi worked, and why M.L.King was effective.
Not only do Islamist extremists not care if they kill you, that’s their whole plan. Convert or die.
Julie, I am speaking for myself, not for the current peace movement. I thought you were responding tok what I wrote, but I guess I was wrong.
However, why do say the peace movement has “nothing” to do w. pacifism? Most of the ppl I know in ot are philosophical pacifists. But I suppose a lot are not. On the other hand, I believe their motives are better than those of the people who led this country into war.
As for Islamicists, those who hold the view describe would be defeated by the non-violent resistance, albeit at the cost of deaths, of those in our society and of the vast numbers in their society who oppose them. There ared always are fanatics with a similarly high opinion of their perfect rectitude, in every politics; but they always are few unless many others are made hopeless by oppression and poverty. Without those, Al Qaeda is utterly alone.
Yes, Julie, Yes. The truth is always helpful.
Cowardly old atheist hippies preaching Godlike pacifism…. Barf.
Bennet and his philosophical hubris, his incredible ethical narcissism.
He and those like him would see every American and every American freedom killed before they would give up the simple-minded Peace and Love posings of their misspent youth.
See here you old leftists:
Not every war is Vietnam. Not every president is Nixon. Not every dictator is kind Uncle Ho. Not every decade is the ’30s. Not every black man is a slave.
I know the 60s were fun and you don’t want to get old, but live in the now, man….
America, just as it is, is well worth defending with violence.
The battle joined us. You ethical narcissists cannot expect an entire nation to roll over and capitulate just so that you can feel good about yourself?
Every time you Ghandi Poseurs think that America should die rather than use violence, just think of the children.
What about our little burkha-free children?
Why should the nation capitulate to the Muslim fanatics so that you can feel good about your non-violence?
Bennet, you believe that don’t you.
That if not for poverty and oppression that people just wouldn’t *be* violently agressive. But if that were true peace would be the default state. And it’s not. People don’t need a reason to be violently agressive. It’s our natural state.
Nor does having the best motivation matter if what you do has some other result. “Her heart was in the right place,” means nothing, in the long run.
I know that progressives don’t like to do this, but we can *assume* good motivations for nearly if not *everyone*. Who doesn’t want a better world? The Taliban was formed by men who wanted order and safety in a place dominated by chaos and criminals. They wanted to protect women, not harm them. But what does their motivation matter when the result was half a population living, locked up in small apartments, and often so desperate to escape that they’d jump out the windows of their tiny cells and die?
When motivation is what you’re looking for you get a political party based on “we care more than they do”, as if that matters. And they can’t admit that the other side doesn’t hate poor people or women or minorities or gays, because it’s not about what *works* it’s about motivation… it’s about who cares the most.
But *everyone* cares… even someone like Bin Laden has a vision on how to make the world better. It includes killing you, but it’s *about* reaching a good end. Heck, even Fred Phelps is motivated by love.
I didn’t say there’d be no violence, or aggression w/o war. I believe its scale would be less w/o war.
I never said that poverty & oppression are the sole causes of war. I said war is much less likely w/o them and that war does not help these conditions.
Arguing from motives is always tricky, so my remark on the motives of passivists is not very important. But it’s important to realize that the reasons given for war often are lies.
Argument ad hominem is always useless, but Evan went straight there. He has no idea if I’m old or an atheist or rich. He talks that way because it’s easier than thinking.
>>Argument ad hominem is always useless, but Evan went straight there. He has no idea if I’m old or an atheist or rich. He talks that way because it’s easier than thinking.>>Argument ad hominem is always useless, but Evan went straight there. He has no idea if I’m old or an atheist or rich. He talks that way because it’s easier than thinking.>>Argument ad hominem is always useless, but Evan went straight there. He has no idea if I’m old or an atheist or rich. He talks that way because it’s easier than thinking.>>Argument ad hominem is always useless, but Evan went straight there. He has no idea if I’m old or an atheist or rich. He talks that way because it’s easier than thinking.>>Argument ad hominem is always useless, but Evan went straight there. He has no idea if I’m old or an atheist or rich. He talks that way because it’s easier than thinking.>>Argument ad hominem is always useless, but Evan went straight there. He has no idea if I’m old or an atheist or rich. He talks that way because it’s easier than thinking.>>Argument ad hominem is always useless, but Evan went straight there. He has no idea if I’m old or an atheist or rich. He talks that way because it’s easier than thinking.>>Argument ad hominem is always useless, but Evan went straight there. He has no idea if I’m old or an atheist or rich. He talks that way because it’s easier than thinking.<
Arguing ad hominem is not always useless just as war is not always useless.
I argue ad hom because you libs project your own wounded little psyches onto every event in the world.
Your Politics, and your loathing for this nation and its citizens is a very personal thing–born of some personal conflict.
How then can I address your views without addressing your weird personal predilections?
That’s what I’ve come to learn about you barking moonbats:
Your personal problems ARE your politics. There is no thinking involved, only feeling–and you don’t feel so good, so America must be bad.
As far as my characterization of you as a weird old chardonnay-drinking cowardly atheist hippy, It looks as though I was dead-on.
I’m done with trying to argue any kind of sense with whackos. All I get from them is insults and name-calling….
Except, I’m better at it ‘cuz I know what’s in your damaged, cowardly little hearts.
Evan, you’re right: the ad hominem argument is just as useful and just as useless as war itself. There’s a lot of similarity between attacking someone with insults and attacking him with a gun.
Although you know what “ad hom” is, you seem to have overlooked the fact that it is a fallacy in logic.
How to address my views w/o ad hom? Easy.
But since you now are retiring from the field, perha[s you could use your extra time to volunteer to fight that war of blood and flesh that you so angrily fight with words.
>>perha[s you could use your extra time to volunteer to fight that war of blood and flesh that you so angrily fight with words.>>perha[s you could use your extra time to volunteer to fight that war of blood and flesh that you so angrily fight with words.<
I was waiting for that!
I have just over 13 years in the Army. Military Intelligence, Infantry and, um, other stuff.
So you can bite my Black and Gold US Army ass you wine-swilling cowardly ol’ hippy.
Ad hom is not a fallacious argument if the actual problem is the pathological world view of the hom based a personality disorder.
Remember, war never solved anything except:
o creating our Constitutional Republic,
o ending slavery,
o preventing the Turks from snuffing the renaissance,
o Defeating Nazism,
o Defeating Bolshivism (except in your case) Ba’athism and terrorism.
People only live in freedom on this planet because they have won a war against those who would oppress them.
It is ultimately guns and the threat of war that preserves human rights and freedom, not good feelings.
Put that in your bong and smoke it.
By “violence settles nothinh”, I meant to state the basic notion of pacifism (I am a pacifist), that violence while quelling some issues is the cause of further violence and that violence comes from prior violence.
Well, you can state it that way, but it’s still part tautology and part baloney.
The tautology is that violence doesn’t settle all conflicts for all time. True — it also doesn’t cure baldness or make good apple cider. Frankly, nothing will bring permanent peace to humanity — it’s just not in our nature.
The “baloney” is that violence begets more violence. Violence is not a thing in and of itself, and it does not “come from” anything except one set of people choosing to visit violence on another set of people. The motivations for this can vary widely — we’ve seen recently that drawing some pictures can move a whole lot of people to violent rage.
An a priori commitment to non-violence is nothing more than preemptive surrender, which guarantees nothing more than a victory by those more willing to engage in violence than the “peace” camp — which will often result in yet more violence, in the form of mass slaughter. (“Active, nonviolent resistance” is very easily counteracted by active, violent gunning down of the resistors. This is why you don’t see much of it in places like North Korea. Don’t mistake Western unwillingness to slaughter peaceniks wholesale, for some kind of strength on your side. You are merely using our magnanimity to your political advantage.)
This is not an absurdity: it’s a fundamental political argument.
I find it to be little more than vacuous drivel. In order to hold a position like yours, you first have to equate all violence — a pretty monstrous moral equivalence. You then have to dispense with the notion that there are some people you actually care about more than others, and merely view the whole thing as a mathematical expression, where all that matters is the amount of “violence” on the bottom line. Finally, you subordinate all other goals — freedom of thought, say — to the goal of never ever hurting anyone. In other words, nothing is worth fighting for. Well, no thanks — I’m not a sheep, and I care more about how I and the people I care about get to live, than the total number of violent incidents on this earth.
The real bottom line is that pacifists can only spout their drivel when protected by those who are unafraid to kill on their behalf, and then get criticized for their trouble by the very people they just fought to protect. Which is why I hold pacifism and pacifists in such contempt.
Nazism is actually a good example. Had France and Britain been willing to visit a little violence on Germany circa 1935, millions lot of (very violent) deaths could have been prevented. Chastised by WWI, they chose to take the non-violent path of appeasement, with well-known results. This is a classic case of non-violence begetting horrific violence on a global scale. And yes, pacifists and “progressives” were very influential in that decision.
Careful on the “Bolshevism” claim — violence certainly helped contain it (as in Vietnam and MAD), but Communism ultimately defeated itself. Of course, the nonviolent path led to literally hundreds of millions of people being subjugated to Communist rule, and millions being executed and worked to death in labor camps. Not that there was much choice, but here again, we have nonviolence resulting in violence on a global scale.
Not that we can expect pacifists to appreciate this. After all, they weren’t directly involved, so they can just look the other way and continue with the sanctimony.
This will be my last post here on this. I liked exploring this by writing about here, but time is limited. Plus one of our correspondents, Evan, has stopped making sense.
E.Nough says some things worth considering, though he’s not what one would call a rigorous thinker. So here are a few points:
1. It should have been clear to anyone that by “violence” I have meant, throughout, “martial violence.”
2. In summarizing his view of the trend of pacifist reasoning, he says:
“…merely view the whole thing as a mathematical expression, where all that matters is the amount of ‘violence’ on the bottom line.”
But isn’t this the calculus that both pacifists & non-pacifists make? In advocating a just war, one says: the violence or harm we do now to stop that evil will be less than the violence or harm that evil will do if unchecked.” The anti-war party denies this; & the pacifist says: non-violent resistance will result in death and harm but will check the evil as successfully as violence with less loss to all sides. You may agree or disagree, but both sides make at least a part of their on this basis. The same goes for other vales mentioned by E.Nough, such as freedom of thought, that are at stake in these struggles.
3. The activity of non-violent resistance requires courage and struggle and is no sense “sitting it out.” Any glimpse at the history of non-violent resistance w/i WWII as well as in other events will show this.
4. I do not claim that violence itself is the sole source of all violence. And I agree that aggression, conquest, and predation are part of our wiring. But violence is one cause that sharpens all other causes and tends to ennable peoples or just their leaders to avoid addressing the other causes. If a person is sick with several illnesses, do we not treatg one because we cannot treat them all?
5. Finally, does anyone at all want to comment on the false analogy of the Thirty Years War w/ civil war in Iraq?
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