Naive pacifists deny war’s necessity

How many times over the past few months have you heard that violence is not the answer? How many times have you seen signs protesting American action in Afghanistan, or Israeli action against Palestine? It seems that pop-protester culture has once again blindly latched onto another cause to rage against-war.

When I sit back and watch these protests I often wonder what the protesters would have done instead. Perhaps they would have sent a dove and fig branch over to al-Qaeda as a sign of peace and tried to sit down and get past all the anger and hatred. What these neo-pacifists fail to realize is these supposed global misanthropes would simply eat the dove with fig seasoning and hold them as hostages to fund their next attack. These are fundamentally violent people, and violence is most definitely an appropriate response for dealing with them.

Treating international conflicts as one would treat a schoolyard fight is a doomed approach. There is no higher policing power to take the role of the principal on the global stage. At best there is the UN, which acts more like that whiney mutual friend who just doesn’t want the hassle of cleaning up the fallout. What’s more, when peaceful mediation is attempted with terrorist groups, it is usually used as a means to gain more time in preparation for future attacks.

What every pacifist must eventually come to realize is that violence is the fundamental rule in almost every relationship in nature where there is competition, be it for mating territory or oil rights. Though it may not stand up to philosophical dissection, in the pragmatic scope in which the real world exist and operates, might is right. The law is determined by whoever has the strength to enforce it, and right now the Americans have the strength to enforce whatever they feel is just.

War is the most powerful tool available to a government. Though not always the most humane, it is usually the quickest, simplest and by far the most decisive. War is the clearest way to establish foreign policy, and in this case the clearest way to communicate the strength of the American nation. Where did pacifism and appeasement get us at the outset of the Second World War?

What’s worse is hearing protesters claim that racism is behind American and Israeli action. It would make precious little difference if Nigeria, China or Mexico had launched the attacks of September 11, the Americans would have still retaliated. As for Israel, they aren’t targeting some Palestinian minority; they’re responding to a hostile force whose expressed goal is the annihilation of the state of Israel. One can only guess how enthused the PLO would be if Israel adopted a pacifist attitude towards them; it’s just as bad as hunting domesticated deer on some farmer’s paddock.

None of this is to say that we should jump to arms every chance we get. War wastes precious resources and manpower, and often weakens a nation in the future. But there is definitely a time and a place for violence, and both bin Laden and Arafat are long overdue for a good spanking.



Feedback on this article can be sent to opinions@gauntlet.ucalgary.ca.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.