Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Reality of War : War is violence and violence is unpredictable


The Dalai Lama, in an excellent analysis of the Reality of War, clearly states that although he is personally deeply opposed to war, he does not advocate appeasement in front of unjust aggression. 


I want to make it clear, however, that although I am deeply opposed to war, I am not advocating appeasement. It is often necessary to take a strong stand to counter unjust aggression. For instance, it is plain to all of us that the Second World War was entirely justified. It "saved civilization" from the tyranny of Nazi Germany, as Winston Churchill so aptly put it. In my view, the Korean War was also just, since it gave South Korea the chance of gradually developing democracy. But we can only judge whether or not a conflict was vindicated on moral grounds with hindsight. For example, we can now see that during the Cold War, the principle of nuclear deterrence had a certain value. Nevertheless, it is very difficult to assess al such matters with any degree of accuracy. War is violence and violence is unpredictable. Therefore, it is better to avoid it if possible, and never to presume that we know beforehand whether the outcome of a particular war will be beneficial or not.






A similar position is developed by Yagyu Munenori in his Heiho Kandesho : It is sometimes justified to kill a dangerous man to preserve the life of others. 


This kind of position is delicate. What exactly does constitute a threat ? If somebody verbally threatens to kill you, does that threat justify killing him in self defense ? 

If a country threatens to nationalize some of the assets owned by corporations of another country, is it justified to attack them to defend the interests of these corporations ? 

If a group of fanatics in a part of the world uses chemical weapons to kill civilians in the context of a civil war, is it a threat that justifies "punishment" ? 

Would this punishment really punish the guilty ones ? Would this punishment really prevent the recurrence of such an horror, or could it exacerbate it ?

War is violence and violence is unpredictable. Therefore, it is better to avoid it if possible, and never to presume that we know beforehand whether the outcome of a particular war will be beneficial or not.

The only people who gain anything out of any kind of war are the shareholders and employees of corporations of the armament industry and the politicians receiving funds from these corporations.





 

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