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« The Scourge of the Earth | Main | The science of killology »

May 15, 2007

I’ll Have What He’s Drinking

Actually, I have. Still, Daniel Larison's take on the Ralph Peters column I posted on yesterday is worth quoting.

Winning is everything. Fighting ruthlessly may not please the safe-at-home moralists, but it’s losing that’s immoral. ~Ralph Peters

But if winning were everything, we could  . . . [simply] bomb the place into oblivion.  Since winning isn’t everything, we don’t do that, because we are, thank God, not quite the hideous monsters Ralph Peters would like us to be. There’s a reason why it is exceedingly difficult to try to dominate another country by force in a just way: in the end, either you cease to be just, or you cease to dominate. This is why highly civilised empires and great powers cannot retain their dependencies and colonies and satellites when the native people decide that they must go; attempts to retain the colonies or satellites by force always degenerate into brutality and then often fail anyway . . . 

Peters’ line only makes sense in the context of a just war, since loss in a just war would also be a defeat for the effort to remedy some great wrong committed against you. Failure to see a just cause through to a successful end would indeed be immoral (this does not mean that unconditional surrender is therefore somehow a moral demand to make). But we’re not talking about a just cause. We’re talking about the occupation and domination of Iraq.

What he said.

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No doubt feeding people into tree chippers feet first, and the torture chambers of Iraq were so much more just than removing that hideous dictator who really was working with Al Qaeda, and really did have biological and chemical weapons, and really was trying to make atomic bombs, just like the British and Russian intelligence services told us.

Somehow, I can't see Thomas Aquinas in agreement. Though perhaps Cardinal Mahoney would be. . .

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