"But war, in a good cause, is not the greatest evil which a nation can suffer. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice – a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice – is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other."

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A sense of disproportionality

Recent calls by the international community (and of course Kofi Annan, sounding very serious and concerned as he always does when he realizes just how irrelevant he is) for Israel to respond with "restraint" to Hezbollah and Hamas' aggression make me laugh. On the inside, anyway. Because successful wars are not fought with "proportionate" responses, matching your enemy man-for-man, missile-for-missile; they are won by outgunning, outbombing, and outkilling your opponent. You kill him everywhere you can find him; you destroy his weapons; you destroy his ability to move weapons or troops; you destroy his ability to resupply himself; and in the case of total war, between large industrialized societies, you destroy his ability to make machines of war. Israel has not taken the last step, but they've done everything else, because that's how you win. Tit-for-tat does nothing but maintain the status quo; overwhelming force, on the other hand, is how you win. Those calling for Israel to pull back don't want them to win - they're satisfied with the status quo. The status quo has brought Israel nothing but continued aggression. It's long past time to cease using proportionate responses and become decidedly disproportionate.

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