April 30, 2006

The word "war" doesn't mean what it used to mean.

One of the sins of Donald Rumsfeld, in the eyes of many, was the canceling of the Crusader artillery system. Crusader is what we are not doing. What's more interesting is what we are doing. Jason van Steenwyck writes:

The artillery is getting a new weapon: The Excalibur features a precision-guided warhead as small as 50 pounds, with a near vertical drop to the target. It's about time.

The Army has depended on Air Force CAS for far too long, while the Air Force has steadfastly resisted creating and fielding munitions that are suitable for close-in urban combat...

...Our M109 Self Propelled Howitzers are largely gathering dust. It's a fine system - but the enemy rarely chooses to engage or allow himself to be engaged in open areas where our artillery and Close Air Support can be effective. Many of our cannoncockers have been relegated to quasi-infantry and quasi-police tasks on the ground in Iraq.....

An artillery shell that weighs 50 lbs! (23kg). I could lift it with one hand.

Think about that.

And those big dogs not barking in the night.

Think about them.

And there are lots of related things I've blogged over the last few years, about us not using the destructive force we have. Bombs filled with concrete instead of explosives. The incredulity of people in Kabul when we dropped bombs into housefulls of Talibs, without harming the neighbors. Or the attack of our Israeli brothers on Jenin, which, despite the filthy leftist campaign of lies about it, was an act of extraordinary humanity. The Israelis could have flattened that neighborhood with impunity, but instead sent soldiers to fight (and die) house-to-house to avoid unnecessary civilian casualties.

The same is true of most of our actions in Iraq. In 2004 I blogged this: "....He informed us that a large number of the residents of Fallujah, before fleeing the battle, left blankets and bedding for the Marines and Soldiers along with notes thanking the Americans for liberating their city from the terrorists, as well as invitations to the Marines and Soldiers to sleep in their houses...."

The image in most of our minds when we hear the word "war" is some pointless mass slaughter, some Belleau Wood, with poor fellows being mowed down in their thousands by machine guns. But war is not like that any more.

War is no longer All Quiet on the Western Front. It's like this. And this, It's, well, like Seven Samurai.

  • War is hope for the poor and oppressed.
  • War is the best of the young men and women of the Anglosphere and Israel risking their lives to shield the weak from savages.
  • War is anti-war! The worst blood-lettings of our time are the internal wars of failed nations and regions. Our wars aim at ending cruel slaughters and genocide. Our wars save far more lives than they cost, as has clearly happened in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • War is building and teaching. Our soldiers turn to doctoring or school-mastering or election monitoring with ease.
  • Our wars are just wars. They do not aim at conquest or enrichment or glory.
  • War now is not what we learned in the 20th Century.
  • Nor is it the 30 Years War, or the Peloponessian War. (But it is stunningly similar to THIS.)
  • War is not sending conscripts to pointless slaughter.
  • War is not leveling cities, and leaving the survivors huddled in bombed-out basements.
  • War is not sending millions of refugees trudging to distant camps. (Unless the UN is involved.) Our wars are opportunities for refugees and exiles to return home and help their homelands.

War is a Christian duty in this time.

Cradle
(This photo was taken by Michael Yon. I blogged it here.)

War as Christian Duty. This article by Darrell Cole explains it well.
....This strikes a discordant note among many. How, we are asked, can an act of force be loving? The short answer is that force becomes an act of love when it seeks to resemble God’s use of force. In practice this means, among other things, that acts of force must never involve intrinsic evil (such as intentionally killing innocent people, for instance).

The most noteworthy aspect of the moral approach to warfare in Aquinas and Calvin is that it teaches—contrary to today’s prevailing views—that a failure to engage in a just war is a failure of virtue, a failure to act well. An odd corollary of this conclusion is that it is a greater evil for Christians to fail to wage a just war than it is for unbelievers. When an unbeliever fails to go to war, the cause may be a lack of courage, prudence, or justice. He may be a coward or simply indifferent to evil. These are failures of natural moral virtue. When Christians (at least in the tradition of Aquinas and Calvin) fail to engage in just war, it may involve all of these natural failures as well, but it will also, and more significantly, involve a failure of charity. The Christian who fails to use force to aid his neighbor when prudence dictates that force is the best way to render that aid is an uncharitable Christian. Hence, Christians who willingly and knowingly refuse to engage in a just war do a vicious thing: they fail to show love toward their neighbor as well as toward God.
Posted by John Weidner at April 30, 2006 9:41 AM
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