Meaningful Distinction:

Patrick S. Lasswell Look outward for something to accomplish, not inward for something to despise.
pslblog at gmail dot com
Sunday, September 28, 2003
Freedom from the Oppression of Pacifist Thought

I have studied war from my childhood to this day, to the chagrin of my pacifist father. Much of the study of war is the study of what causes oppression and how oppression survives. Many people who oppose war discard the study of war because it is unpleasant. War is more dramatic, but there are more unpleasant events in this world.

I have visited dictatorships in my life, Franco's Spain, Tito's Yugoslavia, Pinochet's Chile, and Musharraf's Egypt. To be absolutely honest, these were very mild and extremely open dictatorships. From a distance I have seen Kim's North Korea, Catro's Cuba, Saudi Arabia, and Islamist Iran. These are some extremely vile dictatorships, and I am glad to have never had to experience that fear up close.

Wars rarely last more than a few decades, and lately they have not lasted very long at all. It is worth noting that the casualty numbers for war in the last century pale in comparison to the casualty numbers for dictatorships. Unopposed dictatorships can last for generations, and inflict fear, desperation, cruelty, privation, torture, and death from a position of advantage unavailable in armed conflict. Dictatorship's veneer of legitimacy has caused a century of intellects to abandon their integrity and point at war as the only unconscionable behavior of nations.

In the last two years, we have brought freedom to two oppressed nations. There is no good reason to believe that we could not have driven through Baathist Syria to the Mediterranean. Although it will take some time to stabilize Iraq with the exceptionally light casualties we are currently taking, there are very good indications that stabilization is progressing apace. Within two years, we could readily free Iran, North Korea, or anywhere the leadership acts like them.

The dictators of the world are petrified because of the way we went to war. That we no longer allow diplomatic manipulation to solely determine our foreign policies is the doom of regimes that exist on a diet of death and lies. We have shown that we will bring life and truth, and that such things can thrive. Saddam and his cousins no longer bind our hands, our minds are free. We proclaim ourselves unchained from the ties of absolute pacifism that allows armed oppression to rule. We can study war and end oppression.
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