Tuesday, April 26, 2005

war: what is it good for...?

…So I’m listening to The Neal Boortz Show, and a caller throws him an internationalist curve ball. In short, the caller suggested that all war/conflicts should be subjected to a simple majority vote by the illustrious world governing body. Presumably, he imagined that if such a collection of wise-old-owls existed…why, world peace and harmony would be inevitable.

Hmm…ah, yes…it’s been tried. At the end of WWI, The League of Nations was just what the doctor ordered. That is, until WWII, which ceremoniously revealed that the Emperor was “nekid”. Not being dissuaded by abysmal failure, the world’s most powerful states created The United Nations. So, that stroke of brilliance achieved its lofty goals…right? No, there has been nearly continuous armed conflict somewhere on the planet since the inception of the UN Charter.

As the late (great?) Frank Zappa is reputed to have said (I’m paraphrasing): …at the end of the day, all war is about real estate. While this is hugely over simplistic, it’s not too far from the mark. Very rarely are military invasions ordered without a reason…legitimate or otherwise. Is such preventable? It seems to me that the UN is nothing more than an impotent bureaucracy that claims the authority to arbitrate between nation states. But when the former USSR had three votes to US’s and Europe’s one vote (each) and Libya sat on (chaired?) the The UN Commission on Human Rights, that pseudo-government can have little, if any, credibility.

What is really at issue is violent conflict; when/if it is ever justified. By today’s standards, The American Revolution would have violated “international law”. The fact is, our Founders advocated the usurpation of the colonies…by force. There are no doubt some, even now, that would criticize America’s first fight. The Civil War can be said to be quite similar, but with a much different outcome. The victor writes the history…without fail.

Let’s take Sadaam’s Iraq, for example. First, America supported its invasion of Iran in 1980, mainly because of the Iranian Revolution of 1979. However, America opposed Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, which was the catalyst for the 1991 Gulf War. In a cease-fire agreement, harsh sanctions and no-fly zones were imposed. A decade of noncompliance by Sadaam was one of the justifications of the 2003 “decapitation” of the Iraqi dictatorship…which was not approved by the UN Security Council.

Now, what can be said other than: “might makes right”. I know…I know…we’re civilized people who reject such barbarism. Do we, in reality? Coercion is antithetical to the framework of a free society. But I certainly don’t advocate global governance. For one thing, as government increases, individual liberty decreases. Moreover, from time to time, megalomaniacal thugs desire to rule others by force. Sometimes such thugs are dressed in civilian clothing and are duly elected by free people. Therefore, as long as there are human societies, there will be violent struggle. We do well to avoid it when possible, but must win decisively when avoidance is not an option.