The 'Good' War

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never fails that when I write an article having to do with Iraq,
the "War on Terror," or any other war, someone (no, make
that some people) will write to me pointing
out that I probably would have stood by during World War II

and let Germany or Japan conquer America. One way or another, the
"good war" is invoked to let me know that I’m a fool for
opposing the war in Iraq or some other current crusade.

All right, let’s look at World War II.

And let’s forget about Franklin
Roosevelt baiting the Japanese
until they attacked Pearl Harbor
– and we’ll ignore the fact that Hitler couldn’t even cross the
English Channel to conquer England, let
alone cross the Atlantic Ocean to conquer America
– and we’ll
overlook the fact that America’s entry into the war didn’t prevent
six million Jews from being executed – and we’ll just pretend that
Roosevelt’s ridiculous ideas of "unconditional surrender"
and cozying up to Joe Stalin didn’t lead to half of Europe and all
of China falling into Communist hands.

So if we leave all that out of the discussion and assume that World
War II was the most noble, justified, glorious, humanitarian war
ever fought in the history of the world, we’re still left with the
question: So what???!!

has World War II to do with Iraq, George Bush, the "War on
Terror," or anything else going on today?

very fact that it’s World War II that’s continually invoked (rather
than the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the invasion of Panama, or
the War of the Roses) is an indication that World War II was unique.
If it really was a "good war," the constant rhetorical
resort to it is proof in and of itself that most wars aren’t
good wars. So we can’t possibly believe that the mere fact that
America entered World War II is a justification for America entering
any other war.

I can imagine that if George Bush decides to invade Canada tomorrow,
and I write an article complaining about it, someone (no, make that
some people) will write to me saying that if I’d had my way
in the 1940s, we’d all be speaking German (or Japanese) today.

11, 2005

Harry Browne [send
him mail
], the author of Why
Government Doesn’t Work

and many other books, was the Libertarian presidential candidate
in 1996 and 2000. See his website.

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