War Archives

Rendition is Still an Option

Ed Morrissey notes that…

For the last seven years, the Left has screeched hysterically over the CIA practice of rendition, in which agents turn detainees over to authorities in their home country for interrogation.  Never mind that the practice started in the Clinton administration, and never mind that the other options were Guantanamo Bay, release, or two caps in the back of the head; they pilloried Bush over renditions as if he’d thought them up himself.  Hollywood even made a movie about how awful the process is, apparently matched in awfulness only by the film’s box office.

Obama has signed an executive order to remedy some things he finds wrong with the Bush administration policy, but some things remain as they are.

The CIA’s secret prisons are being shuttered. Harsh interrogation techniques are off-limits. And Guantanamo Bay will eventually go back to being a wind-swept naval base on the southeastern corner of Cuba.

But even while dismantling these programs, President Obama left intact an equally controversial counter-terrorism tool.

Under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.

Current and former U.S. intelligence officials said that the rendition program might be poised to play an expanded role going forward because it was the main remaining mechanism — aside from Predator missile strikes — for taking suspected terrorists off the street.

The anti-war Left is surprisingly silent.

The decision to preserve the program did not draw major protests, even among human rights groups. Leaders of such organizations attribute that to a sense that nations need certain tools to combat terrorism.

"Under limited circumstances, there is a legitimate place" for renditions, said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. "What I heard loud and clear from the president’s order was that they want to design a system that doesn’t result in people being sent to foreign dungeons to be tortured — but that designing that system is going to take some time."

But as Moe Lane notes, Human Rights Watch was playing quite a different tune up until a Democrat made it to the Oval Office.  Their web site says, in an article from April 7, 2008:

The US government should:

·Repudiate the use of rendition to torture as a counterterrorism tactic and permanently discontinue the CIA’s rendition program;

That was then.  This is now.  Now, it has "a legitimate place".  Funny how some Bush policies look oh-so-different through the Obama prism.

Justice Delayed

President Obama has suspended war crime trials for the Gitmo detainees.  Is this his start to his phase of the War on Terror (or, as Scott Ott hilariously suggests, "The Case Against Terror")?  He’s already peeved family members of 9/11 victims with this first step in the closing of Gitmo, and he has no actual "exit strategy" for the detainees themselves.

How about the European Union, that bloc of countries so against Gitmo?

Across Europe, President Barack Obama’s decision to shut the Guantanamo Bay prison has raised an awkward question: Which EU states that railed against the camp will offer new lives to released prisoners?

The U.S. Defense Department says about 50 of the 245 prisoners awaiting freedom cannot go home again on security or political grounds, raising the need to find an alternative place to send them. But European Union members long critical of Guantanamo shied away on Friday from any firm commitments to help.

Ireland has joined Portugal, France, Germany and Switzerland in saying it probably would participate in an EU-organized plan that might take shape at a summit of foreign ministers starting Monday in Brussels.

But it already appears likely that Europe will leave some of Guantanamo’s inmates in limbo behind a policy of: No terrorists please.

Lots of talk, but little action from those who protested the loudest.  Classic.

And letting them go free is fraught with its own dangers.

A Saudi national released from U.S. detention at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in September 2007 is believed to be a key leader in al Qaeda’s operations in Yemen, according to a U.S. counterterrorism official.

The Defense Department recently estimated that more than 60 terrorists released from Guantanamo may have returned to the battlefield.

According to the counterterrorism official, freed detainee Ali al-Shiri traveled to Yemen after being released to Saudi Arabia and may have been involved in recent al Qaeda attacks in Yemen, including a car bombing outside the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa last year that killed nearly a dozen people.

"He is one of a handful of al Qaeda deputies in Yemen," the official said. "He is one of the top terrorists."

No, they’re not being railroaded through tribunals.  If anything, we’re apparently giving them quite a lot of benefit of the doubt. 

Not the way to start an administration.

The Outgoing President Bush: Not As Wrong As First Thought

At least according to the incoming President Obama.  Charles Krauthammer explains, but I just have the bullet points here to get you to "Read the Whole Thing"(tm).  All lines below are quotes from the article.

  • Vindication is being expressed not in words but in deeds — the tacit endorsement conveyed by the Obama continuity-we-can-believe-in transition.
  • It is the repeated pledge to conduct a withdrawal from Iraq that does not destabilize its new democracy and that, as Vice President-elect Joe Biden said just this week in Baghdad, adheres to the Bush-negotiated status-of-forces agreement that envisions a U.S. withdrawal over three years, not the 16-month timetable on which Obama campaigned.
  • It is the great care Obama is taking in not preemptively abandoning the anti-terror infrastructure that the Bush administration leaves behind.
  • [On interrogation techniques]  Obama still disagrees with Cheney’s view of the acceptability of some of these techniques. But citing as sage the advice offered by "the most dangerous vice president we’ve had probably in American history" (according to Joe Biden) — advice paraphrased by Obama as "we shouldn’t be making judgments on the basis of incomplete information or campaign rhetoric" — is a startlingly early sign of a newly respectful consideration of the Bush-Cheney legacy.

The upshot?

Which is why Obama is consciously creating a gulf between what he now dismissively calls "campaign rhetoric" and the policy choices he must make as president. Accordingly, Newsweek — Obama acolyte and scourge of everything Bush/Cheney — has on the eve of the Democratic restoration miraculously discovered the arguments for warrantless wiretaps, enhanced interrogation and detention without trial. Indeed, Newsweek’s neck-snapping cover declares, "Why Obama May Soon Find Virtue in Cheney’s Vision of Power."

Another "Now They Tell Us" moment in the mainstream media.  All the anger and disdain thrown at Bush, figuratively here and by a certain Iraqi reporter there, is over ideas and policies that the incoming administration has show it’ll be slow to dismantle.  Those policies have indeed kept up safe for the 7 years since 9/11. 

No, the ends do not at all justify the means.  But for some of us, these were just wars.  For others, neither Afghanistan nor Iraq were just, and the reflexively anti-war crowd will continue to push Obama, as they did Bush, to just do whatever our enemies want so they won’t get angry with us.  Or perhaps isolate them, which "worked" so well for the 70+ years of aggressive communism in the Soviet Union.  That even failed miserably with Hussein’s Iraq, with our own "allies" funneling aid to them through the back door. 

No, George W. Bush kept us safe, and, despite the rancor and alarmism, without shredding the Constitution or civil liberties.  Obama played on the fears of his supporters long enough to get elected President, but the time has come for action, and before you judge the actions of his predecessor, see what his actions are.  That will speak louder to the success or failure of George W. Bush than any pundit’s pen can write.


With all the promises of change that Barack Obama got his supporters to believe, we’re now finding out that "promises" are more like "goals".  Or perhaps "hopes".

Close Gitmo on the first day in office?  First week?  First 100 days?  Well, technically, he may only issue an order to do it soon, but it’s "a challenge" to even close it within the first 100 days.  The ACLU wants a timetable.  Good luck with that.

"That’s a challenge," Obama said on ABC’s "This Week." "I think it’s going to take some time and our legal teams are working in consultation with our national security apparatus as we speak to help design exactly what we need to do."

It’s not as easy as some on the Left expected it would be.  The "Reality-based community" finds that facing reality isn’t what they thought it would be.

Iraq withdrawal within 16 months?  Well, Biden has said that they’re going to follow the Bush plan instead.  Additional take on this and all the Iraq issues at RedState.

Universal Health Care is being back-burnered.  Indeed, the economic crisis should be one of the top priorities, but I thought this whole scheme was supposed to save us all money.  If it’s such a win-win for the economy and health care, why delay?  Hmmm.  (Perhaps it has something to do with how poorly UHC is working in places like Massachusetts?)

No lobbyists serving in policy areas they have worked to influence in the past year.  So then, September 2008 is technically last year.

Interrogation techniques that Obama campaigned against may actually get a new lease on life.  Newsweek tells us:

Dick Cheney, who will step down as vice president on Jan. 20, has been widely portrayed as a creature of the dark side, a monstrous figure who trampled on the Constitution to wage war against all foes, real and imagined. Barack Obama was elected partly to cleanse the temple of the Bush-Cheney stain, and in his campaign speeches he promised to reverse Cheney’s efforts to seize power for the White House in the war on terror.

It may not be so simple

This could be another entry in my "New They Tell Us" category.  This was so simple during the campaign, but now they tell us it’s complex.  Nuance, anyone?

All this added to Obama’s waffling on tax cuts, windfall profits taxes on Big Oil, and FISA.  Now, I have no illusion that Obama has become some sort of bedrock conservative (though he’s been seen in the company of some), and we’re still likely to see many a liberal policy enacted.  However, underneath all this complaining by the Left that the new boss seems the same as the old boss is one thought; maybe the old boss got some things right.

The Gaza War and the "Anti-War" Left

"There have been approximately 7,200 rockets (Grads, Qassams) and mortars launched at Israel since 2005", according to IDFSpokesperson.com.  There are more stats at the link, but let that one sink in for a moment (especially after reading this headline).

Now consider that when Israel finally defends itself, and launches a counter-attack, with the goal, not of revenge, not of tit-for-tat, but to stop the attacks aimed at it’s civilians by targeting Hamas’ military, then and only then does the "anti-war" Left spring into action.  I really must put "anti-war" in scare quotes because, as much as their rhetoric is anti-all-war, they only get their dander up when their particular political ox is being gored.  They dredge up their celebrities, who have been chirping with the crickets for years regarding Hamas’ continual barrage, and get them to feign outrage for the media.

Israel made the extremely difficult decision to evict its own people out of their homes to make Gaza available to the Palestinians.  But with respect to international relations, the only thing that did was give Hamas a closer base of operations to fire rockets into southern Israel.  And as this short video production notes, distance is only a matter of time.  Unless Hamas’ ability to launch is severely curtailed or stopped, major population centers are on their list. 

But nary a word from the "anti-war" Left, hardly a bare nod to what Hamas terrorists have been inflicting on Israel for years.  There’s a word for this: Disingenuous. 

I’d like to re-link something that Mark O. noted before.  This post at Chicago Boyz notes that terrorism, historically, cannot be negotiated with.  Any concessions simply bolster their cause for more terrorism.  Israel, after decades of pressure, gave up land for peace.  They did the former, but they never got the latter.  And if all they do is make concessions, they never will.  (Remember this when discussing "root causes" of 9/11, by the way.)

I’ll leave you with this post from Yourish.com; 15 New Commandments for gradual self-destruction.  See what the liberal mindset hath wrought.  (And bookmark "yourish.com".  Their analysis of the media coverage of the Gaza war has been fantastic.)

What was that about “Peace on Earth”?

President-elect Obama, the One, is less than a month to his inauguration and he’s already getting tested.

From CNN, At least 155 killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza.

Israeli Maj. Avital Leibovich told CNN the military began the attacks “in order to preserve the security situation in Israel.”

“We are prepared for any type of scenario right now. We have our own operation and assessments as we go along, and we are ready to continue this operation as long as it takes,” Leibovich said by phone from Tel Aviv.

The campaign is over, Barack.

Pray for Barack Obama, and his cabinet.

Keeping a Promise In Spite Of Himself

Barack Obama may be able to get the troops out of Iraq in 16 months mostly because George W. Bush’s surge did so well.  Via Instapundit:

"THE WAR IS OVER AND WE WON:" Michael Yon just phoned from Baghdad, and reports that things are much better than he had expected, and he had expected things to be good. "There’s nothing going on. I’m with the 10th Mountain Division, and about half of the guys I’m with haven’t fired their weapons on this tour and they’ve been here eight months. And the place we’re at, South Baghdad, used to be one of the worst places in Iraq. And now there’s nothing going on. I’ve been walking my feet off and haven’t seen anything. I’ve been asking Iraqis, ‘do you think the violence will kick up again,’ but even the Iraqi journalists are sounding optimistic now and they’re usually dour." There’s a little bit of violence here and there, but nothing that’s a threat to the general situation. Plus, not only the Iraqi Army, but even the National Police are well thought of by the populace. Training from U.S. toops [sic] has paid off, he says, in building a rapport.

If Obama had had his way, this wouldn’t have happened.  But if & when he has the troops home on or before April 2010, it will be because Dubya laid the foundation for it.

Thoughts for Election Day

Work and family have kept me from posting much lately, and today is the last shot before Election Day.  So here are my thoughts about the main issues for this election and why I think John McCain stands on the correct side of each of them.


Barack Obama’s answer to Rick Warren, that the question of when life begins was "above my pay grade", should disqualify him from consideration by anyone who is concerned about "the least of these".  Babies in the womb are arguably the least of the least of these, and while Obama claims he wouldn’t want to pick a point where life begins, it certainly doesn’t keep him from deciding where it ends.  It didn’t stop him from co-sponsoring the Freedom of Choice Act that would invalidate abortion laws nationwide, saying it would be "the first thing that I’d do".  In addition, the next President will likely be able to chose 1 or 2 Supreme Court justices, who may hear a case involving the FCA or other life and death matters.

Thus, if abortion matters to you, the only choice is John McCain.  And if you’re a Christian and abortion doesn’t matter to you, it should.

The Economy

Obama’s "spreading the wealth around" ideology, while not technically pure socialism, is certainly a shift in that direction.  As much as he insisted that he wasn’t penalizing someone for making it in America, he is.  If it was just for paying for the government we need, that would indeed be one thing, but wealth redistribution is not what the tax system was intended to do, and it is incredibly inefficient when shoehorned into doing it. 

As a Christian, I still don’t believe that when Jesus says that as individuals we should give to the poor, that didn’t mean that we should use the force of government to take from some to give directly to others.  I find that highly immoral.  I believe giving to the poor is a very good thing, something we are each individually commanded to do, but in no way do the ends justify the governmental, confiscatory means.

Right now, the economy is in a sad state, partly due to greed, partly due to a Democratic party that refused to see the signs.  The government has jumped in to help, with what could be argued as a "socialistic" means.  However, unlike other countries (Venezuela, anyone?), this is intended only as a stop-gap measure to get us past the current crisis.  Spreading the wealth around, and more and bigger government programs, are not the way to come out of it.  Creating more wealth and more opportunities are the way to bring ourselves out of this, and to ease poverty, and a vote for John McCain will help do that.  One main way to do this is…


…lower taxes.  Both candidates say they want to lower taxes.  However, the income threshold where Obama would like to lower taxes itself keeps getting lower.  It started at $250,000, then $200,000, then Joe Biden talked about lower taxes for the middle class making less than $150,000.  So we don’t really know where the line is drawn.  And further, if a President Obama gets a filibuster-proof Congress, he’s not likely to veto whatever they come up with, and they’re not bound by his campaign promises.  Raising taxes in a down economy is deadly.

John McCain realizes this, and wants to lower taxes for everybody, including those who are rich enough to start small businesses and who create the lion’s share of the jobs in this country.  Class warfare rhetoric may sound good (and when all’s said and done, "spread the wealth" is class warfare), but if you penalize those who create jobs, you won’t get as many new jobs.  Simple.  In a down economy, the last people you want to penalize are the job-creators.  John McCain’s tax policy will get us out of this down economy sooner.

The War

The war on terror has multiple fronts, and one was Iraq.  It still could return to being one if we do what we did in Vietnam and leave too early.  Iraq is out of the news, and not because the election has pushed it off the front page; if there was bad news coming from there, the media would most certainly highlight it.  No, Iraq isn’t news because it’s going so well and Al Qaeda is losing.  In addition, contrary to most predictions 7 years ago, there has not been another successful terrorist attack in this country.

This is because we confronted evil where it was.  We took the fight to them; we didn’t wait for them to drop another building or kill thousands others.  Saddam Hussein was ignoring the conditions of the cease-fire without consequences, and was supporting terrorism both actively (e.g. subsidizing the families of Palestinian terrorists) and passively (turning a blind eye to terrorist training camps within his borders). 

The war was right, and we’re winning it.  Criticize the prosecution of it, especially early on, and I’ll agree with you, but overall it’s getting rid of the bad guys and keeping them away from us.  John McCain has been on the right side of each of these decisions and Barack Obama has been on the wrong side. 


Having been a community organizer, and being a Senator for 140 days before running for President is not the amount of experience required for the notional leader of the free world.  Especially when that community organization is filled with experiences like helping a 60s radical terrorist run an "educational" program that doesn’t appreciably increase education, but makes sure kids buck every authority in their path.  Barack Obama is as green as they come.  Supporting him precisely because of his brand of experience is to be incredibly naive. 

John McCain has a long history of working with both parties; something Democrats used to say that they valued.  But when a Republican who values bipartisanship campaigns for President, suddenly that doesn’t seem as important to them.  This week.  I don’t support every position that McCain has taken while making overtures to the Democrats, but I respect the fact that he makes that effort.  If you support bipartisanship, you should support John McCain.


Obama’s plan, while giving lip-service to choice, markets and keeping your current plan, will make it financially untenable for employers to keep whatever their current plan is and toss people into the government-run one.  He fakes to the right in the campaign, but he’ll cut to the left without you even noticing.  And once we socialize a little of the healthcare system, it’s nigh impossible to reign it back in once the cost overruns and ultimate lack of choices become apparent.  The entitlement mentality will expand and sink its claws into this area as well.  It’ll be a case of tweaking this and modifying that until…well, until Canadians don’t have any place to go to get the healthcare they need.

McCain’s plan keeps the market in place and doesn’t undermine it.  That’s true choice; giving you new ones without destroying the current ones.  If you’re pro-choice (in healthcare), vote for John McCain.

Sarah Palin

OK. she’s not technically an issue in the campaign, but I had to bring her up.  Democrats have laughed at her credentials — actual executive experience, true to her principles both in her public and personal lives, and the way she worked her way up herself in the world — even though they claim to value those principles, especially in a woman.  Turns out it’s all lip service.  Someone who exhibits the best in politics, and someone who lives up to so many ideals that people wish more politicians would have, was dismissed or demonized by the Left.  Seems they only value these characteristics in other Democrats.

While this attitude striped the veneer off many Democrats’ real motives, it highlighted what good choices John McCain will make as President.  If you truly value those ideals in any candidate for any office, John McCain is your man.  (And Sarah Palin is most definitely your woman.)


It’s almost Election Day, but before you vote, please consider the issues that really matter to you.  Not the sound bites or the slogans; the substance.  On many of the big issues of the day, and especially for Christians, I believe John McCain is the best choice for President.

See you on the other side.

A Change in Foreign Policy?

Jesse Jackson, not a spokesman for Obama but one who certainly believes he knows what’s coming, spoke about key foreign policy changes he sees in an Obama administration.

He promised "fundamental changes" in US foreign policy – saying America must "heal wounds" it has caused to other nations, revive its alliances and apologize for the "arrogance of the Bush administration."

The most important change would occur in the Middle East, where "decades of putting Israel’s interests first" would end.

Jackson believes that, although "Zionists who have controlled American policy for decades" remain strong, they’ll lose a great deal of their clout when Barack Obama enters the White House.

First, let’s talk about "first", as in the US "putting Israel’s interests first".  First in front of whom, ours?  Hasn’t been that was so far.  First in front of the myriad countries in the Middle East who have been attacking, or supporting attacks on, Israel?  Well sure, but our alliance with a well-functioning democracy — the best in the region — against aggressor nations and gangs is, I would think, a good thing. 

I guess the main question would be; which country or countries would get boosted?  The Palestinians?  The folks who vote in terrorist organizations to run their government and lob rockets virtually daily into civilian Israeli towns?  The ones who, while living in Israel, get the right to vote and all?  The ones who, when given land for peace, use that land for launching attacks?  Yeah, apparently them.

Jackson is especially critical of President Bush’s approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

"Bush was so afraid of a snafu and of upsetting Israel that he gave the whole thing a miss," Jackson says. "Barack will change that," because, as long as the Palestinians haven’t seen justice, the Middle East will "remain a source of danger to us all."

If we’d just wipe Israel off the map, like Hamas wants, we’d all be much safer.  Yeah, right.

Second, about those alliances allegedly needing reviving.  I think Jackson has believed the media reports that we went into Iraq "unilaterally".  A browsing of Wikipedia will dispel that misnomer.  Granted, the US has had the vast majority of troops there, but we had more to contribute.  Much like the widow’s mite, it’s not so much the absolute amount contributed as it is the sort of sacrifice it may be.  You’ll find listed a number of countries freed from Soviet domination when we won the Cold War.  You’ll find quite a diverse collection of nationalities, all in support of the US and its policy in Iraq. 

You won’t find France on there.  That’s because they decided to work with Iraq, under the table and subverting the sanctions, for their own economic gain.  When the shooting started, however, they slinked away and waited it out.  Yeah, that’s the kind of country I want in my alliance.  Revive us today, indeed, Obama.

So our foreign policy may indeed look quite different than it does today, but that’s not necessarily a better thing.  Since the Iraq war, many countries (including, just last night, Canada and, interestingly, France) have shifted to the right politically.  Zaptero’s Spain tried appeasing terrorism by pulling out of Iraq after a change in administrations, but the Madrid bombings happened anyway.  The world has nudged slightly toward the right, and where it hasn’t, in hopes of avoiding confrontation, it’s been hounded by the bad guys anyway. 

The world is beginning to see what George W. Bush saw, but unfortunately the United States apparently doesn’t.

Some Friday Links, 9/26

Counterterrorism Blog: Where We’ve Come since 9/11,

At the time of the Sept. 11 attacks, al Qaeda was a centralized, hierarchical organization that directed international terrorist operations from its base in Afghanistan. By 2004, al Qaeda appeared to be in disarray, with its capabilities dramatically diminished. That picture has changed substantially over the past few years, as al Qaeda’s center has grown stronger once again, with its new safe haven in the tribal areas of Pakistan, where it can train and recruit operatives, and direct its global propaganda efforts.

Does the fact there has been no successful attack on the U.S., since 9/11, mean that we haven’t been attacked? Read No Aattack in the US since 9-11?, also at Counterterrorism Blog.


Obama continues to play politics as usual run a campaign of change by attempting to convince the Iraqis to postpone drawing up troop withdrawal agreements until after he’s elected.


China has perfected time travel (HT: Ron’s Bloviating).

A news story describing a successful launch of China’s long-awaited space mission and including detailed dialogue between astronauts launched on the Internet Thursday, hours before the rocket had even left the ground. (emphasis added)

Add this to the Chinese successfully time transporting child gymnasts into the future.

Terrorism Fears Continue To Decline

From CNN:

Concerns about an impending terrorist strike are at the lowest point on record since the attacks on September 11, 2001, and only about one in ten Americans say that terrorism is the most important issue in deciding their vote for president, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll.

Seven years after the attacks of September 11, just 30 percent of Americans said they thought an attack on American soil is likely sometime over the next several weeks — a number that’s down 11 points since last year at that time and down 30 points since the first anniversary of 9/11. Only 14 percent of Americans say an impending terrorist attack is likely in their community.

To quote the Anchoress:  I blame Bush.

Death Toll Rises

in Chicago.

An estimated 123 people were shot and killed over the summer. That’s nearly double the number of soldiers killed in Iraq over the same time period.

Waiting for Obama to call for the troops police to pull out.  It’s lost, right?

The New York Times’ Predictive Prowess

I’ll lead off with that oxymoron for a post title and just point you to Eric Posner’s collection of quotes from the Times’ editorial staff on how the surge had failed, was failing, and would continue to fail, followed by the Times’ headline noting victory in Anbar province.  These huge milestones don’t just happen overnight.

Oh, By The Way, Iraq Keeps Getting Better

Amid Labor Day festivities and (if you read the blogs) Palin kerfuffles, something dramatic happened on the Iraqi front.

The U.S. military has handed over security control of the western province of Anbar to Iraqi forces.

The province was once a hotbed of the Sunni Arab insurgency, and the scene of some of the bloodiest battles of the Iraq war.

The handover marks a major milestone in America’s strategy of turning security over to the Iraqis so U.S. troops can eventually go home.

In the ceremony Monday in the provincial capital of Ramadi, the top American commander in Anbar, Marine Maj. Gen. John Kelly, said Al Qaeda has not been entirely defeated in Anbar. But he said, “their end is near.”

As Glenn Reynolds notes, a book he just got in the mail, “Losing Hurts Twice as Bad: The Four Stages to Moving Beyond Iraq”, was probably pitched before the surge.  Now it’s just an embarrassment. 

Right and Aggression

In the wake of the Georgia/Russia/South Ossetian kerfuffle I’d like to consider the implications of expansion as policy for a country. The invasion and counter-invasion (which was mostly missed by me due to my disconnect with the Internet and news sources over the last two weeks), is something I’m not qualified yet to comment. I’m still reading up about, one source here.

However, in the abstract, especially in the wake of recent military adventures and the as well the Kosovo and Ossetian moves toward independence, one might consider when and if national expansion is justifiable. Certain elements of the left as well as the pacifistic supporters are of the opinion that attacking or anything but “defensive” wars are inexcusable in all circumstances. This belies the fact that every nation that exists, owes its very existance to a past non-defensive war. The motions of peoples in the antiquity, clans settling and moving were all accompanied by violence. If only defensive wars are justified, how are those wars justifiable if indeed the place being defended was initially acquired in a way which is a priori unjust, that is if aggressive conflict is assumed unjust.

Now, I’m well aware the “everyone does it” isn’t a moral justification. In ethics, there is rarely a cut and dried simplistic path to the good. There are instead tensions, or a weighting that must be done. One must evaluate the good and other less salutary aspects to find a solution which maximizes the good. Similarly in political conflict there are times when war (even wars of aggression) are viewed by those evaulating the possibilities as the best possibility. For a people the option of expressing their independence can be seen as one which justifies much. Manifest destiny drove expansion of the US states from a small colony on the East coast across the continent to the other sea. Expansion did not always occur peacefully (and it is naive to expect that an expanding industrializing civilization can abide peacefully in contact with a nomadic tribal one).

Roman expansion in part was driven by economic goals and gains as well as a notion that Roman civilizing influences were in the best interest of the conquered nation. Glen Cook, in a fantasy novel which I read in my (mispent?) youth, had a character remark to another that “no villain sees himself as evil”. That is the villain of the piece is acting for and on the behalf of what he perceives as good. And that fact is something which is wise to recall.

Mr Putin as well as almost all or leaders are honestly doing what they feel is “right” and in the best interests of their people. While is easier to assume your personal take on the world is “righteous” and those with whom you disagree are in the wrong, most of the time the “other” guy, even those with a wildly different idea of what is right to do, has performed the same sort of reasoning, but with a different set of starting assumptions and “weighting” of values and also things he’s right and doing good. That makes the world a little more complicated, but at the same time is a more realistic view of the way things are.

 Page 5 of 7  « First  ... « 3  4  5  6  7 »