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The Philosophy of War

 

With all the striving for peace by those who want to avoid war there is a fundamental oversight that needs to be identified.  War is the result of the choices people make and choices cannot be hamstrung by wishes of peace.  No matter how fervent the wish, no matter how desperate the wish, and no matter what sacrifice required, there is still the choice for some to defend their values from those who would choose to violate them.  The surrender of values at the price of peace is simply death in the form of slavery.  Living without any chance to obtain and defend values ( i.e. by productive effort ) is to deny the nature of one’s self.  It is the subjugation of that which makes choices, i.e. one’s mind, for the wishes of those who hold the sword of intimidation.  This was the result of the Taliban, all dictators, and all who aspire to enforce beliefs.  These are the initiators of that state where fellow humans are placed in a state below their potential.  These barbarians exercise their choice to deny choices to others.  They cannot be won over by diplomacy.  They have rejected reason as a venue of agreement and by doing so have started the engine of war.  Peace lovers at all cost will perish under this scenario, for by rejecting the response to force with force, they in effect surrender to the rule of force. They are the sheep that look to the conquerers for mercy and eventually experience a “holocaust” where the peace they sought is a chamber of torture and death – and all because they did not want to prioritize their life and their rational choices above a dream of nebulous “peace” that ignores the bad choices power seekers inflict on the apathetic.

Retaliation is not a word that can be dismissed when dealing with a perpetrator of forceful repression.  If a criminal is not retaliated against for performing a criminal act, he continues his ways unobstructed.  If an invading (or threatening) army is not retaliated against, the victory of their values is assured whether it be repression, conquest , pillage, or total submission.  Those who cry for diplomacy in the face of treachery, enemy assistance, and threats of annihilation can only appeal to those who ignore human nature and fantasize that it can be changed.  Remember, this was the hope of the Soviet Union and observe the results of that hope.

War is not pleasant, but neither is fixing a clogged drain under a small sink, yet it is a necessary chore. When faced with war or surrender and submission to dictates by fanatics, the choice is clear and must not be compromised by the mobs chanting, demonstrating, and opposing.  What the mobs are saying is: we want to be able to demonstrate, but we don’t want to go to war to defend that desire.  After seeing what happened to demonstrators in Soviet Russia and a multitude of other repressive regimes, just what are they counting on to ensure the ability to demonstrate?  Demonstrations show desires en masse but they do not necessarily demonstrate a proper policy.  They do often reflect opposition, which is exactly what war is all about.  War, though, is designed to accomplish a final solution of a conflict between the oppressor and the invaded.  This design is often forgotten in today’s age of fighting stalemates without victory or resolution.  Man needs war to retaliate against aggressors who attack without provocation to enforce their brand of ideology, conquer and pillage.  But retaliation via war serves no purpose without total victory and unconditional surrender of the invading enemy.  A half-war as the one with Israel and Hezbollah only left the initiators of that war (Hezbollah) with the will to try again.  A war that does not have a victor and a surrender is merely an ongoing conflict, unresolved, fermenting, and waiting for rekindling.  The Middle East conflict is a perfect example of this half-war policy.  Diplomacy has not worked, but it is still the hope of the impractical and the foolish.  The Six Day War established Israel as a formidable opponent, but it did not instill in the enemies of Israel the respect required to leave them in peace.  The Six Day War was a sound defeat for Israel’s enemies, but subsequent skirmishes have emboldened her enemies to reconsider instituting attacks. The enemy must admit they do not want to consider conquest for a war to be successful.  Of course, as new generations arise and new invaders are born, the lessons of the past may be forgotten – often having long term effects, as the victory of America over Japan and Germany demonstrates.

To summarize the philosophy of war we need to consider the branches of philosophy and how they apply to war.  In the metaphysics of war is the reality of war.  War is necessary, due to the choices of man – which may drift into the irrational desire to rule by force and which requires retaliation and defense of rational values.  In the field of epistemology there are the alternatives of faith and reason.  Here faith must yield to reason if war is to be avoided and by the nature of faith this is often not recognized.  It follows that retaliation must utilize reason to overcome the dictates of the adherents to faith intent on conquering in the name of the “true’ faith”.  The beliefs in superiority have launched a thousand wars.  Reason to survive must reject all such notions and be prepared militarily to defend her stature.

In the ethics department war is not about civilized conduct that requires the sacrifice of ones military to “look good in the eyes of the world”.  It is not ethical to send soldiers into door to door searches only to face disguised killers posing as innocents.  A building of suspects in war is expendable.  An American soldier’s life is not. It is not ethical to fight a halfway war.  Ethical war behavior requires demolishing the enemy and obtaining nothing less than total and unconditional surrender of the enemy.  This does not mean favoring one pack of killers over another.  If a country is invaded because it is a threat, that threat must be removed whether it is a leader or a complete population of zealots fighting to the last person.  War by its nature requires ruthlessness.  The cruelty of placing our armed forces in harm’s way to be picked off by snipers and suicide bombers is inexcusable and ethically reprehensible.

Finally, the politics of war boils down to restricting civilian oversight to setting the objective of victory.  The conduct of war is a military activity and must be delegated to the military to accomplish the goal of victory.  This is a function of the commander-in-chief in our form of government where the executive branch oversees the military with approval by Congress under a declaration of war. Once declared, it is a military operation and second guesses by political candidates about the conduct of the war is only appropriate if the war is not progressing toward outright victory.  War must not be politicized if the cause is just – i.e the defense of the nation is required.

War cannot be dismissed as something that can ever be abolished.  There will always be the irrational who seek conquest just as there will always be criminals who will attempt to live off the efforts of those who produce and trade.  Those who would say we need to disarm to avoid wars also ascribe to disarming citizens for criminals to loot and kill as they please without fear of retaliation.  The saying goes that “War is Hell’ but a far worse Hell would be the inability to wage war against a vicious invading foe.  Just as crime can be diminished by proper enforcement policies so too war can be minimized by a philosophy of war that results in victory and a reputation of competence in the conduct of war. It is in the interest of a nation and its citizens to insist on a proper war policy if that nation and the citizens are to survive and prosper.  An eclectic pragmatic policy of appeasement and stalemates as we are witnessing is leading us into a perpetual morass of conflict without resolution.  This, I submit, is un-American.

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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by iPatriot.com.

Dale Netherton

Author of four published books, former Marine, forester, former plant services manager,former KT facilitator, former campgound builder and manager, handyman now retired to writing , chess , golf and fishing. ISU graduate, M.B.A. from Nova University and longtime supporter of ARI. http://www.amazon.com/Dale-L.-Netherton/e/B00G1T6A26/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

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