War. What Is it Good for?

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-04-25 23:05

Yesterday's Anzac Day commemorations here in New Zealand and Australia brought many reflections on the nature of war. Here very briefly, is mine.

War is immensely brutal, intensely destructive, utterly brutal and heart-breakingly tragic for all involved. War is horrific. Wars very rarely have winners, only those who have lost the least. War, as The Age said yesterday, "is a dangerous and terrible thing, which should only ever be seen as a last resort."

In short, war is the second-worst thing on earth. But wars are not acts of nature. They are not acts of God. Wars are acts of man, and in that they are the second-worst thing that human beings can inflict on one another. Second-worst only because the very worst is tyranny, an act of war by governments against those they are supposed to protect. It is tyrannical governments and movements intent on inflicting tyranny and oppression against others that begin wars of conquest and campaigns of terror. It is the existence of such entities that make wars of self-defence necessary.

When such tyrannies exist and are allowed to exist, then peace without justice is not true peace. Peace without justice rewards the tyrranical and is an injustice to those they enslave and kill. As long as some human beings choose to deal with other human beings with the whip, the chain and the gun -- with stonings, fatwahs and holocausts -- with the torture chamber, the dungeon and the gulag -- as long as some men continue to enslave and attempt to enslave others, then wars will continue to happen, and we will continue to need to be ready to defend ourselves.

If we have things worth living for, which we do, then for that much at least we all have things worth defending. As Thomas Jefferson observed over two-hundred years ago, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Two-hundred years later, nothing has changed.

LINKS: Lest we forget, Anzac day is for those who know what war is - The Age
The news is out: Governments kill - Not PC (Nov, 2005)

TAGS: War, History, History-Twentieth_Century, Socialism, Politics-World


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Rick, I got a question for you

JoeM's picture

Why haven't you gone to cockroack corner yet? Seems more your style.

Adults are trying to talk,

Peter Cresswell's picture

Adults are trying to talk, Rick. Find a playpen elsewhere for your nonsense.

Phew

Rick Giles's picture

a dangerous and terrible thing, which should only ever be seen as a last resort."

Refreshing sentiment to see around here. Some people make me think they'd love nothing better that a bit of war to go with their breakfast.

Better ask questions before you shoot, Joe Maurone.

It was instructive to hear

Ross Elliot's picture

It was instructive to hear the coded messages in many ANZAC Day speeches, especially from the political classes. It's now par to say that men like my father fought for peace, when in fact they fought for *freedom*. They knew that something ominous was afoot in the world and that it needed to be stopped; not just placated for the sake of peaceful relations but destroyed, physically, so it could do no more harm.

TJ's eternal vigilance remark goes well with another of his that "the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants". He knew that it's not good enough to just pay lip-service to the proper ideals, but, "from time to time", to kick ass in their defence.

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