Secret Mojo Dumbs It Down for You

August 6, 2006

War comes with more than victory

Filed under: Israel/Lebanon,Politics,war — secretmojo @ 4:16 pm

Curtis tries to cure my peacenik streak over at Empty Rhetoric. But I think, as many people who encounter my view on war, he receives me wrong.

To be clear: I’m not a pacifist. I recognize that war is an unfortunate reality of being human, and must be executed both justly and mercilessly. But I believe we should all start at the base conception that war is a pock upon us and regret it when it happens, so that we’re emphatically compelled to seek other (perhaps ego-bruising) means of solving our problems. Why? Because war generates horrific unintended consequences that go solidly against our own morality and, furthermore, cannot be controlled once the fists start flying.

In the current conflict, which started with the capture of two (or three, depending on perspective) soldiers, negotiations, even of the backdoor or “assasination” kind, were immediately eschewed in favor of a full-blown attack. War might be good for something, but so far it hasn’t been good at getting those two soldiers back (would it truly stop if they were released?), and has been deplorably inept at stopping rocket attacks. It’s also helped the Lebanese government lose what little control it may have had over Hezbollah, which I guess is something, but something unwelcome to me. Been good at funneling Iranian and Syrian weapons into the area, too, and increasing recruitment and support of Hezbollah. I sense it has also turned some American citizens (let alone the Lebanese), if only briefly, against Israel’s policy. If this is what the world wants, then I suppose it is good for something.

War causes problems; it rarely fixes them. Check out the rousing success in Iraq or indeed the history of the current conflict to see how war spreads its beneficence. As Ben said, “There has never been a good war, or a bad peace,” even as he participated in the Revolution. He’s one who always kept his head screwed on tight, and knew what he was getting into. If we begin with peace, we still have difficult, maybe impossible, problems to solve, which may eventually lead to war anyway. But if we begin with war, we create thousands more problems we most certainly can’t control, let alone solve.

Explicitly promoting the continuation of this war by rejecting a ceasefire as harmful admits diplomatic incompetence. I’m still not clear on what “lasting ceasefire” truly means (I am not psychic, you see), which is probably part of my problem understanding the arguments that create a false choice between “lasting” and “immediate.” I’m also not quite sure why “ceasefire” is conceived as an admonition to Israel, not both sides (Tony Blair flubbed as much in the House of Commons). Perhaps both concepts insinuate complete victory and eradication of terrorism as the only chance for peace. I do not know.

What I am sure of, however, is that if Condoleeza called for an immediate ceasefire and then dug deep into hardcore negotiations, I wouldn’t be hearing much from the right about how a ceasefire is idiotic and useless, but how it was brilliant, bold, and proof that this administration was on the verge of solving the Middle East conflict.

And they’d be right to brag, of course. I could deal with that, even though Ms. Rice and the rest of them irk me so.



  1. […] As such, I don’t have time to respond to this post at Secret Mojo about my recent characterization of his viewpoint as pacifism. Guess I messed that one up pretty bad, eh? Luckily, Mojo doesn’t seem angry, and writes what he did mean, and offers up more thoughts on the recent Middle East violence. Go forth and read, ye my blog peeps. […]

    Pingback by empty rhetoric » yet another psa — August 7, 2006 @ 3:59 pm | Reply

  2. I might be more of a pacifist than you, although I believe that self-defense trumps everything… that’s real self-defense by the way, not destroying an entire neigbouring country’s infrastructure and killing its children kind of self-defense.

    It’s rather chilling to observe the obvious stall tactics about ‘ceasefire’ and the US’s pretence as a ‘broker for peace.’ Who do they think they’re kidding?

    Watching CNN today, and this is just one item in evidence of obvious slant, the scrolling news ticker started saying the combined lives lost in the conflict, Israeli and Lebanese, are upwards of 800 or whatever the number was. No mention that the number on the Lebanese side is at least 10 times that of the Israeli…

    Law of Unintended Consequences to the max, like you say.

    Comment by fencer — August 8, 2006 @ 7:28 am | Reply

  3. No doubt.

    The truly scary part about the delayed ceasefire to me was the collection of Americans who embraced it zealously and without thought simply because it was the President’s wish.

    But I believe the internet will continue to erode the effectiveness of propaganda and slant (as you mention with CNN), because no longer will everyone–including reporters–get their news and commentary from the well-corraled sources that are such a staple today. We’re not there yet, but at least people are more likely to call bullshit than, say, 10 years ago.

    Comment by secretmojo — August 8, 2006 @ 8:14 pm | Reply

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