Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Is War the Answer?

That depends on the question. When it was a question of stopping Hitler, war was the answer. The Nazis were not stopped by appeasement, or rational persuasion, but by a massive application of brute force. Later on, when it was question of putting the Soviet empire out of its misery, it was largely the resoluteness of Reagan and Thatcher, together with an arms build-up, that did the job. The threat of war prevented war. If I remember my Latin, Si vis pacem, bellum paratum: if you want peace be prepared for war.

It is pacifist silliness to think that genuine peace can be had by appeasement, or weakness, or capitulation. But not only is pacifism silly, it is immoral. For by failing to oppose evildoers, appeasers promote the spread of evil. Pacifists love to say that violence only begets more violence. But the constant repetition of a falsehood does not transform it into a truth. It is simply false that violence begets more violence. The violence directed against Saddam Hussein and his notorious sons Uday and Qusay has ended the violence of their regime once and for all. An even clearer example is the horrific violence wreaked upon Nazi Germany by the Allies. With the exception of a few ineffectual neo-Nazis, the Nazi scourge has been eliminated from the face of the earth -- not by appeasement, but by violence.

Sometimes we need to give war a chance.