Sunday, January 22, 2006

Why We Fight

What Do You Think?

I happened to see this article on AOL. I don't know anything about this guy, but the following responses struck a chord with my thoughts.

Moviefone: Do you consider yourself a pacifist?

Eugene Jarecki: Wouldn't everybody consider themselves (pacifists)? Wouldn't everybody prefer peaceful resolutions of problems to violent resolutions of problems?

MF: But if everyone considered themselves pacifists then maybe we wouldn't be engaged in war in Iraq.

EJ:I don't know that that's true. I think that puts blame at the foot of people who probably think they're doing the best they can. Many of the people we talked to up and down the chain of command, they don't think, "I kill people for a living." They think, "I wield force because without that wielding of force worse things will happen." Now whether they're right or wrong may be a subject of debate, and whether they were right or wrong to think that the Iraq War was a worthwhile gamble, or that kind of thinking, is worthy of debate. But that's what their inner thinking is telling them. They're not going through life thinking "I like war." They're actually going through life thinking, "If I drop two bombs on a Monday it might prevent other bombs from blowing up on a Tuesday." And there have been times in history where that was probably a defensible way of thinking. I would say obviously all of those people, in a world where it's possible to be so, would be pacifists. The problem is that the world we're living in is very much through the looking glass. We are past the point of no return on a lot of ways that the world is run, and it is increasingly run by a smaller and smaller handful of figures and elite corporations who are making those decisions about when it's necessary to use force without democratic consensus and without a democratic process.
I know enough of real people to know the "everybody" in his first response cannot really be "everybody", but, instead, "most folks". There is a small proportion of folks who enjoy making others suffer: that is why we must have very strict controls on the use of force by interrogators in wartime situations or some will end up doing more harm than good as they have in Iraq. Even my hero, Robert E. Lee, said:
“It is well that war is so terrible, or we should get too fond of it."

But he also said:

“I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself."

When I read the blogs of those, who at least in regards to the "war on terrorism," are on the radical right, I suspect they largely think themselves realistic "pacifists" forced by terrible circumstances to drop those preventive bombs. Put them at the sites of those bombs, many of these same people would be risking their own lives to save the bystanding babies and even grown babies maimed by their bombs. They are not evil people, just scared and mistaken people.

The evil is in those who manipulate the fear and who look on terrorist attacks, war, and recession as a "trifecta" for their political interests.

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