How Do You Like Your War?

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The
phrasing is deliberate. Nations don't fight wars, people do. You
do. We need to consider what war is, and rethink how readily we
embrace it. Our whimsical wars of the last twenty years led to this
current one — it was the disconnect between government and governed
that led to an interventionist foreign policy. Welcome to "blowback."

Because
we have tolerated a warlike foreign policy and tied ourselves up
in military alliances rather than minding our own business, we have
found ourselves in a very unsettling war, where a vicious enemy
is clinging relentlessly to the initiative. We are taking casualties
and the nature of the war remains ambiguous. We know instinctively
that this can and probably will get much worse. There are no obvious
alternatives to fighting back yet no clear objectives. We won't
know that we have won, if we win, for a long time. How can we tell
there that are no terrorists left, until a lengthy time without
terrorist incidents has passed?

How
is that we find ourselves in such a mess?

In
the early nineteen sixties there was a period one might characterize
as transitional. In many ways it was still the fifties; you could
walk the streets and the rock and roll was much better than now.
The Beatles were still singing love songs and the generations were
not yet in conflict. Vietnam was just smoldering and hadn't captured
our consciousness yet despite the fact that no boy my age would
have guessed that conscription might ever be abolished. We just
accepted the inevitable call up as one of those things.

We
viewed war as a way of life — we had grown up with air raid drills
and it was always just there. Our parents and family had fought
World War II, Korea was recent as well as the Russian tanks in Hungary
and brush fire wars all over the world. We believed ourselves to
be embattled with a fearsome, godless enemy, and there was no mistaking
the fact that the USSR was loaded for bear and clearly a wicked
place. We assumed too much and trusted government too much — we
still believed that government was us but had allowed it to quietly
become a force of its own, a power unto itself. We had stopped trusting
in God and our national cohesion was about to take a nose dive from
which it has yet to recover.

So
we were unable or unwilling to examine each new war on its own merits
— Vietnam appeared to us, initially, as a part of the ongoing saga
of protecting ourselves and others from a monolithic communist threat
from Russia. That there was some merit to that line of thinking
can be seen to this day in vacation spots like Vietnam, Cuba and
North Korea.

So
we almost casually slid into a major war without apprehending a
specific threat to ourselves, merely an abstract one. We lived,
and some died, regretting our inattention to that detail.

During
the sixties, it was in retrospect; as if someone or some thing
had cast a dark shadow over America, and the light has never been
the same again. The road down hill has been a short one. It all
started with that miserable war. We should have known better.

For
it is a fact that war is so horrible that the Bible mentions it
only in the contexts of calamity. War is a punishment upon the people
who fight it — regardless of who wins a lot of families lose. It
is to be avoided at all costs and must be the last resort,
never the first.

War
is only justified when the enemy is physically attacking you because
there is that little precept rattling around in the backs of our
heads, "You shall not murder…" Killing in any cause save
self defense is murder, and that includes aggressive war
such as the US waged in Kosovo. The ways of God are the right ways
— all other paths lead to death. If he says "don't murder",
He means it. It is for our own good and we suffer when we ignore
His will. There is no changing that; some things are immutable.
Despite the secularization of America, God still whispers that to
us and restrains us.

Our
history and fundamental beliefs impose a restraint upon us that
may be part of our problem "In for a penny, in for a pound?"
Not us. We are no longer a God fearing Republic but neither are
we very effective as an empire. Any previous empire would simply
have occupied the Middle East long ago and been done with it. Our
form of empire benefits very few of us. It also means that we are
a house divided against itself since we have not bothered to form
a national consensus on empire, it just sort of happened. There
is no mistaking that with the growth of empire, there has been a
corresponding loss of individual freedom here at home.

Now
we find ourselves in a nasty little war against people who wish
to kill us in large numbers for reasons that are being described
rather childishly as an "attack on freedom itself!" Whatever
the reasons, it is necessary to stop these people by force of arms.
The built in contradictions of two nations occupying the same geographical
area have never been more apparent. The "red zone" and
the "blue zone" are reacting differently as might be expected
but this kind of nonsense cannot but hurt us in time of war.

There
are loud outcries about our planes hitting civilian targets, by
accident or design. If you believe CNN our forces are similar morally
to those of Attila the Hun. But this is not so — I do believe that
the US forces are making it a point to slaughter as few innocents
in this war as possible. If the military were told to, they could
level Kabul easily; that they have not done so says something. I
also believe that in criticizing these civilian "hits"
we are truly missing the message. This is war, this is what
happens in war, it is horrific and we should have thought of that
before getting ourselves into this mess.

Americans
have come to believe that the use of force is justified in the national
interest, much like our supposed cousins, the British. Conventional
morality suggests that to be in error — that war is only justified
in the national defense. There is a significant difference but we
have too often missed that.

Our
current war must be won, although I'm not sure how. I'm just glad
I haven't been called upon to be in charge of target acquisition.
This war probably needs to be revaluated because I fear we are dancing
to the enemy's tune. I do know this, that if people keep sending
us poison pills and pull off even one more World Trade Center like
"stunt," that we are in for some serious social turmoil
here. That too is part of war. We dare not say that we did not know
nor believe that wars should be fought this way — not after Dresden
and Tokyo.

The
enemy will not enjoy what that will bring them either for while
they are calling the shots now, a few more such "stunts"
and the government will feel pressured to unload the whole tamale
and that will be the end of Islam in this world. The terrorists
too are forgetting history if they ignore this possibility. God
only knows where that could lead.

For
now, they have us fighting shadows. We are surprised and annoyed
by their methods. We are alarmed that the enemy is fighting us in
a new way — well hello….

With
our missiles, smart bombs and jet planes it is pointless to fight
America in conventional warfare. Desert Storm was in part, an act
of "gunboat diplomacy" — we let the Fuzzy Wuzzies know
just what we could do to all that second hand Russian rubbish that
filled their armories. They had to cook up a plan that negated our
superior firepower. It appears that they have.

It
looks like it will get worse and there is no "before it gets
better" to round off that statement. Perhaps there is one good
thing coming out of this — political correctness has been shown
to be a silly farce foisted upon us by people who are of no use
to us now that reality has arrived. They are being mocked openly
and shouted down when they start to pontificate. All but the very
silly are aware that we cannot sit back and let people kill us,
never mind the wonders of diversity and multiculturalism. Academe
is revealed in all it's pathetic banality to those few who had missed
what those leftist rascals have been up to. Despite the government
and media prattling about Islam as a religion of peace, no one is
buying it. Illegal aliens can forget amnesty too, at least for now.
Even liberals are arming themselves with big nasty guns — forgetting
for the interim that "violence only begets more violence".
The people do have some power after all, and reality is like a bucket
of cold water in the face.

The
people sadly doe not have the power to turn back the clock
and make this war go away. It is too late for that. We have to live
through this if we can, and then if we are very smart and very determined,
we have to find a better way to do our national business. We have
seen in a very short time that war is far too terrible to embrace
except as a last resort.

Here
are some verities about war, in no particular order:

  • We
    always forget how dreadful it is. There are the horrific
    moments of combat and bombing and shelling; there are the tedious
    hours and days of waiting. The civilian population gradually
    experiences shortages, often direct attack, and ultimately,
    their fortune is in the hands of the soldiers, and their leaders,
    the politicians. That statement should not give you any particular
    comfort. A few years of peace and we've swept it under the rug
    and off we go again.
  • It
    is not good for the economy. How does it help the
    economy that a lot of tanks are built? Can I drive one around?
    They are only useful in war. I suppose it's good for the folks
    down at the Cruise Missile Plant but all in all, war is a negative
    draw on the economy. I concede that we may well need tanks and
    jets, but it is silly to pretend that having them benefits us
    economically. World War II saw some economic plus indicators
    but consider that one of them was the end of unemployment —
    easily accomplished by putting twelve million men in uniform
    at the expense of the taxpayers.
  • War
    is hell on the gene pool. Have you considered that one?
    Who volunteers first to go save the country? Are you aware of
    the casualty tables for infantry and armor in high intensity
    war? Wartime censors cut the pictures of dead Marines floating
    in the tide at Tarawa but the men did not come home and it was
    no mystery what happened to them, our finest. Hitler's soldiers
    in 1939 where the best in the world, by 1945 he was fielding
    "special attack commandos" composed of kids on bicycles
    with anti tank rocket launchers (panzerfaust). Where had all
    the young men gone, eh?
  • It
    will always be much worse than you imagined it would be.
    World War II started off with gallant Polish Cavalry breaking
    their lances on the armored hides of what were actually quite
    primitive German tanks. By the end of it Eastern Europe from
    the Oder to the Urals and on to Siberia was a place of concentration
    camps and weapons factories. Millions were dead, Europe was
    desolate and whole populations were starving. The atomic bomb
    had been used, missile bombardment of major cities had begun
    and it was only a question of time before the war planners put
    two and two together and we began the fifty-year stand off with
    nuclear tipped missiles.
  • War
    almost never improves things. We won the Cold War and now
    it seems that we are being attacked with weapons grade Anthrax
    made by and for the Soviets — whose collapse was heralded rightly
    as a great victory for freedom. The Soviets themselves never
    attacked us with it. World War II ended with millions of Europeans
    under the iron heel of the Communists, including Poland for
    whom the English and French had gone to war in the first place.
    Vietnam ended in a victory for the Left, both in Vietnam and
    America. We are still enjoying the consequences of that little
    row.
  • War
    has long term consequences. Consider the War Between the
    States as example. Slavery, now claimed as the ostensible reason
    for the war, was being abolished world wide so that abolition
    was only a question of time — we could have avoided all the
    civil rights nonsense and racial strife had men saw fit to let
    other men make their own choices. The war was also about tariffs
    and while high taxes are a pain in the neck — losing nearly
    half your young men to death or mutilation is a stone nightmare.
    That is exactly what happened to the South. The North lost more
    but to a larger population — yet still nearly quit from sheer
    exhaustion and horror. Who could have predicted what a tragedy
    it would become for both sides. The only recent war experience
    those folks had experienced was the Mexican War which was not
    exactly a harbinger of things to come. Both sides imagined they
    were fighting for freedom, and both sides have had very damn
    little of it since. To say that war accomplished any
    good requires an agenda I can't subscribe to, typically a statist
    one.

It
is those folks we refer to as "statists" and their friends
the neo-conservatives who imagine that war is merely another of
several policy options. Like their purported opponents on the left,
they tend to start a lot of wars and then somebody else has to finish
them. They imagine war to be good because it increases their power
over us rabble. They believe in the State as a means to an end,
an end that is never clarified.

Many
of us still labor under the illusion that there is some kind of
dichotomy between the Democrats and Republicans when in fact there
is not a dime's worth of difference. I'm not sure anymore what we
should call those who represent the Republic and believe in freedom
but I'm starting to feel dicey about calling myself a conservative.
To many left wing camels poking their noses under that particular
tent these days. I see too many conservatives embracing socialists,
democrats and other creatures of the left, as some kind of "loyal
opposition." Bipartisanship is touted as a good thing but where
does that leave us? Who will speak against the empire? What about
all of us who long for the old American dream of freedom and independence
from all that foreign entanglement nonsense? So for now I believe
I'll just call myself a Johnny Reb and see what happens. Neither
political party likes us Rebels too much and that must count for
something.

Maybe
we should take the language back along with the country.

There
are in America, many lazy people who refuse to acknowledge their
duty as citizens of the Republic. The state controlled media and
public school system have a lot to do with that but serfs will find
their masters and freedom is actually a lot of work anyhow — "let
the masters lead", they say. I suggest that the next time Americans
choose masters for themselves; they select a better breed. This
bunch has given us political correctness, a flawed foreign policy,
mass migration beyond any hope of assimilation, and now war.

The
alternative would be to not have masters, and to govern ourselves
as the founders intended. But like I said, it's a lot of work. War
is a lot of work too, and will ultimately consume us if we don't
find a better way. An America with real men working hard
to build a real republic, with plenty of weapons, high fences, and
free trade is the only way I can see to avoid wars. It is much better
to trade with people than to kill them. It is not our business what
kind of government they have — ultimately, that is their affair
and if we can show them a good example, so much the better. We can
try that or we can go on as we are, blundering into whatever comes
down the pike.

Let
me state that now is the time to remember the words of our worst
president, William Clinton, “When we got organized as a country
… we wrote a fairly radical Constitution with a radical Bill of
Rights, giving a radical amount of individual freedom to Americans…”
He spoke the truth for once, but of course by accident and he was
using the truth to propagate an evil agenda. He was complaining
that we have too much freedom. We should remember his words as a
stern warning of what the politicians really want and act accordingly,
rather than passively. We must always remember those words — our
birthright is a radical amount of individual freedom! Why on
earth would we not cherish that?

October
20, 2001

Mr. Peirce [send him
mail
] fought with the Rhodesian freedom fighters (the Ian Smith
side, of course).

Michael
Peirce Archives

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