Monday, July 11, 2005

Winning with Peace

A recent article by Don Boudreaux has caused some amount of debate about the war on terror. Reading through the track backs, Don Watkins and many others have started accusing Don Boudreaux and various libertarians and peace advocates as supporting "surrender". Of course, they are wrong and Don Boudreaux is right. But I am not even interested in parsing though the arguments.

One of the reasons that objectivists and other assorted "right thinking patriots" can make hard hitting arguments is that there is no real vision of winning or even morality. The common thought is described as "we can't win". Of course that is wrong. We can and will win. However, if "we can't win" is interpreted as "there will probably be more surprise terrorist attacks that we really can't prevent", well that is true. But that is not the point.

Anti-war people need to explain what it means to win. To win means outliving the terrorists. It means not sucombing to the terrorists. To win means that we will find the terrorists and either take them into custody or kill them. It is that simple. It is to fight against terorist organizations and individuals until they are no more. This is a viable win. It may cost some casualties, but it is the best outcome possible. There is more to unpack here. This expressly includes refusing to let our way of life, our system, and our government a reflection of their own brutality.

There is a somewhat different way to determine "winning". Perhaps that would be more congenial to the pro-war people. This vision is the anhilation of vast portions of the middle east. If there is a society that we feel is promoting terror, we must destroy it. My contention is that this won't work, and we will have a never ending cycle of violence, war, and terror. Every time we kill one generation of Islamicists, we will only be creating another.

In any case, my point is that anti-war folks need to present the how and the why of victory over terrorism, as well as why brute force will never achieve that. Otherwise, we can make all of the important rational points we want regarding the inanity of the pro-war folks and why they are wrong, with little avail. We need to keep the big picture in full view.


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