More Good MSM News

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Thursday night, I blogged a surprisingly good article about the Battle of Lebanon. Today, at RealClear Politics, I have encountered another.

Michael Goodwin of the New York Daily News writes a good pro-war article called, "Give war a chance". In this article, Goodwin makes more points that have been, until recently, sorely in need of being made more explicit in the public debate about the war.

Like a schoolyard bully who deserves a thorough butt-kicking, Hezbollah needs to be taught a lesson. It can either learn to live in peace, or it can die. But it cannot win by playing the terror card and it cannot be allowed to think it's going to. [bold added]
Goodwin then goes on to argue against a premature end to hostilities, explicitly addressing three points. First, although he does not use the term "discrimination" he essentially argues against this unjust requirement of Just War Theory: "That about 300 are dead and thousands of others are displaced is tragic, but the blame belongs mostly to Hezbollah, which hides fighters and weapons in civilian areas precisely to deter attack." Second, he argues against another demand of Just War Theory, "proportionality": "[E]xpecting Israel to limit itself to a tit-for-tat board-game response delegitimizes Israeli suffering, as though its individuals should not grieve for their dead or fear for their safety because Israel possesses more military punch." Third (and best of all), Goodwin makes the following point, which sounds quite a bit like a column by John Lewis I've been referring to quite a bit lately:
From European capitals to American living rooms, one of the great debates today is whether we can talk to Islamic terrorists. Is there something we can say or do that will entice them to rejoin the human race?

Personally, I don't think so.

The only hope I see is that they must first be defeated and, like murderous Germany and Japan after World War II, they will then adopt civilized norms of behavior.
None of these arguments is exactly a perfect answer to the Just War theorists, whose strength -- an unearned ability to claim the moral high ground -- remains unchallenged in the MSM. However, perhaps because we are "lucky" enough to have enemies barbarous enough to demonstrate the follies of pacifism (and its close cousin, Just War Theory), or because pro-war arguments being made by so many Objectivist intellectuals are being heard (or both); it looks hopeful that a consensus towards a more decisive response in this war could build despite the bungling and indecision of President Bush.

Having said that, it is noteworthy that Goodwin stops short of blaming Islam or even (as Edward Alexander recently did) the common culture of the Middle East for its complicity with terrrorism. Granted, the terrorists are indeed using civilians as shields, but they also have great support from many civilians. We will not wage this war as fiercely as needed until there is no longer a stigma against frankly discussing the causative role of Islam and Arab culture in this conflict. (Inter alia, it is not as if the terrorists themselves never finger their own religion: Why should the rest of us not feel free to consider the merits of their claims openly?)

It is not just the terrorists who will have to learn what the Germans and Japanese did after World War II: It is their supporters, moral and material, who form a large portion, if not the majority, of the Islamic world. It is they who must learn to renounce their theology of domination -- or die. This will not happen without the West achieving a reasonable degree of moral certainty beforehand, but I am becoming slightly more optimistic that we are headed that way.

-- CAV

No comments: