July 31, 2004

Immoral unless pointless...

Wretchard puts this well

...Even Bill Clinton was prepared to retaliate against Osama Bin Laden for the USS Cole attack by firing hundreds of cruise missiles at his training camps. But George Bush tried to defeat him and for this stood condemned. It is this precise striving for victory, not any single act of retaliation that has made George Bush so illegitimate in the liberal mind. For liberals retaliation is soley used to "send a message"; it always an invitation to negotiation, like the ones Johnson sent Ho Chi Minh without reply; it is never part of the solution itself. In this curious mental universe, force is immoral unless it is also pointless...
We see this often, though, like so many leftish things, it is never explicit. It's expressed in code words, such as talk of "exit strategies." (And the absence, in itself a message in code, of any mention of victory.) And implicit in approval of only those military interventions, such as Bosnia or Liberia, that don't actually protect the US.

And I think it is implicit in the frustration a warblogger like me has in trying to debate with left-leaning types about Iraq. I've got 8 or 10 good reasons for invading Iraq, but they will only debate the small prudentiary ones, such as whether Saddam was chummy with Osama bin Laden.

The bigger points, which involve winning the entire Global War on Terror, they won't argue about. You can't ever pin them down to even admit those as topics of debate.

And that's what was missing from Kerry's speech, and made it seem so slippery that people are writing millions of words debating what it meant. What was missing was not only victory as the only acceptable goal, but also that victory is the most moral and humane outcome.

Pause a moment and remember that General Sherman loved the South. His happiest years were spent in Louisiana. He probably had more friends in the Confederate army than most Confederate generals. The March To The Sea, and his Carolina campaigns, were acts of mercy, explicitly designed to save Southern lives, both by avoiding the bloody battles of the Civil War (those campaigns killed almost no one), and by ending the war decisively, so the South would abandon all dreams of succession and future wars.

Posted by John Weidner at July 31, 2004 9:39 AM
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