Does peace represent the absence of all conflict in the world? Does peace mean no major wars anywhere in the world? Does peace mean that the country I live in is currently not engaging in a prolonged military conflict? The first is of course impossible – criminals, extremists and psychopaths will always cause some dissent. The third already happens – Germany has been at peace by that definition since 1945 and will remain so until we can breed some backbone back into her people. The second definition is the peace that I believe Will is referring to, and that I believe is attainable.
The peace that the Democrats are looking for is utterly unattainable. Humans are a belligerent species and some conflict is inevitable. Talking will not bring peace, nor will negotiations or sanctions. There’s just too many bad people running around out there. But that does not mean that peace is unattainable. Liberty – good old fashioned Bill of Rights style liberty – is a powerful thing. Once you’ve tasted it, you don’t want to let it go. Thousands of Iraqis are grabbing on to that very concept – slowly, but they are grabbing on.
But Lady Liberty is not enough, sadly, because of those very bad guys that I mentioned before. There are thousands of Iraqis that can’t seem to get their hands around the concept, and so they are killing one another wholesale. This is where Will’s unconditional surrender comes into play. You can force people to be peaceful. It might not be pretty, and you might have to violate their precious human rights at first, but if force can keep a man down in the gutter for decades a la the Ba’ath Party, then force can lift a man up and keep him there.
Peace is attainable because the concept of Liberty is sound. But to gain that peace you have to fight for it. You have to fight to bring it to people and fight to keep it with those people. And once you have it, you have to fight to defend it, because inevitably there will be some bad man that lets his ego take over and he will think his way will be better than the peaceful way, and he will bribe and cajole his way until he is in position to threaten your peace, and then once again, fighting will be required to maintain the peace.
What is infinitely more important than peace, however, is the liberty that I base my peace on. For 60 years, there was peace in the Soviet Union. But can anyone honestly argue that this was a good thing? Enforcing peace is as simple as a totalitarian regime that stamps out all resistance before it has a chance to form. That is an evil peace, because a life that isn’t free is not a life at all. Peace without liberty is no peace at all, because eventually, good men will rise to overcome the tyranny.
Sadly, bringing about true peace on this planet might yet mean many years of war, but it’s worth it in the end.
This is the sort of logic insane people use. If kids are fighting on the playground you don’t throw up your hands, say it’s just human nature, and wait to see who wins. No, the teacher goes out there and tells them that this behavior isn’t acceptable and teaches them how to get along. You’re trying to give the U.S. license to use force whenever necessary which is just propogating war. And it looks like it’s working. The Iraqis haven’t learned to grab onto freedom. They’ve learned exactly what we’ve taught them – if something isn’t going your way blow the other guy up. That’s going on every single day in Iraq. Some peace.
This is where Will’s unconditional surrender comes into play. You can force people to be peaceful. It might not be pretty, and you might have to violate their precious human rights at first, but if force can keep a man down in the gutter for decades a la the Ba’ath Party, then force can lift a man up and keep him there.
I think this statement is somewhat misguided. I have noticed that in this thread WWII is cited numerous times as the end all example of how ‘unconditional surrender’ brings peace. Comparing WWII to today’s conflicts is a mistake. First off, allied troops during WWII spent very little time inside Germany during the conflict. There were bombings raids for sure, but actual ground troops weren’t there for very long. My point being, there wasn’t massive German or Japanese resentment towards the US due to a minimal invasion periods. Iraq is an example of an invasion that has lasted far longer than any invasion of Germany. Secondly, the peace spoken of after WWII isn’t a direct result of war but rather excellent foreign policy after the war i.e. reconstruction. Sanctions placed on Germany and Japan limited the military build-up post WWII and economical policies allowed a free market and further industrialization of both nations. So those who have cried, talking and sanctions don’t bring about allies or peace missed the ramifications of WWII. War was only used to arrive at those peace talks.
Which brings us to today’s conflicts. News posts and articles on Omninerd have previously addressed the ramifications of state-less opponents such as Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda. Guerilla warfare and suburban insurgencies make victory that much more difficult and raise the death toll of innocent civilians. The longer an invading force is in a country involved in armed conflict, the greater the animosity and resentment will grow towards them. This in turn makes lasting peace that much more hard. The problem with today’s conflicts is that they have been fought extremely poorly. Let’s call it the Schwarzkopf effect. The Gulf War gave many the impression that technology was the answer and that the air force was all you needed to win a war. Bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb, bomb, ba-bomb. Well, that worked great against an army, but isn’t as effective when dealing with an insurgency or group like Hezbollah. All it does is make a big mess and kill a lot of civilians with a lesser number of enemy combatants. Israel’s reaction to Hezbollah is an excellent example of how you can get it wrong. Hezbollah is the clear winner of the conflict, no matter how you slice it. They were state-less before, are state-less now, but have even more support amongst other Arab nations. They are even leading the way in reconstruction, and that will bode well for them. Had Israel merely stormed the borders and sought a quicker resolution, perhaps things would be different.
I’m sure my point got lost somewhere along the way, but while wars may be inevitable, it is not to say that they are the cause for peace or that they must be had. Many wars are merely the result of decades of poor foreign policy. As cultures become more progressive and obtain more contact with outside cultures, things will begin to change. One of the best ways to do that is to seek ways to integrate countries by using social-economic policies to influence foreign governments and peoples. I’m not talking about carrots and sticks, but meaningful investiment in the economies of other nations. The real question of this thread should be… does RECONSTRUCTION of a nation only have to be the product of a war? I don’t think so. If the US had been perhaps more even handed in distributing aid to middle eastern countries back in the 60’s and 70’s and 80’s perhaps we would see less hostility towards us. Had we sought to not merely exploit national resources from these countries in decades past, but rather invested more in the reconstruction of these countries maybe we would have both peace and cheaper gas prices. And that wouldn’t have involved any wars. It seems to me though, foreign policy is mostly driven by what will benifit our country or economy immediately, in the now, rather than what will benefit us in the decades to come. It’s greed at it’s worst, a greed that brings short sightedness. The situation is similar when dealing with environmental issues as well. One should argue what wars could have been avoided through better policies.
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