Sunday, January 04, 2004

Without Blinkers Part 2

A Canadian reader responds to Without Blinkers in this way:

"Is it not also true to say:

The object of war is victory
The object of saving is accumulation
The object of fighting is domination

If the object of war was peace, there would never be another war. If all saving was spent there would never be capital accumulation, and if all fighting was to stop fighting how would bullies ever get the idea that fighting was a winning strategy? So it seems you’re arguing that the Guardian should discard the notion that, America in general and Bush in particular, wants to be seen as a nation of peace, and rather should be seen as a nation of victory. This, I think, tracks a little closer to the truth of American foreign and domestic policy. To paraphrase (Huntingdon’s?) famous quote: ‘America often forgets that its economic dominance is possible because of its use of organized violence, the rest of the world never does.’"

The sole purpose of war is victory. The sacrifice of Canadians at Dieppe and Pegasus Bridge was bearable only because they achieved it. How strange that the Canada of 1945 should be condemned as a "nation of victory" for helping defeat Hitler while modern Canadian Generals like Romeo Dallaire should be praised for letting letting 800,000 Rwandans die in the pursuit of peace. General Dallaire was awarded the Aegis prize for his command of the UN Peacekeeping force during the Rwanda genocide, and his citation reads in part:

"General Romeo Dallaire did everything he could, pleading for 2000 more peacekeepers to be added to his insufficiently equipped 3000 man force. If they had answered Gen. Dallaire's pleas, the U.N. could have stopped the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Rwandans. Instead, following the deaths of 10 Belgian Peacekeepers assigned to protect the President, his forces were cut down from 3000 to a mere 500 men, who had to watch as one of the most horrible genocides in human history took place before their very eyes. Gen. Romeo Dallaire, frustrated, and disheartened by the U.N.'s passive attitude, nonetheless stood for his beliefs, repeatedly confronting his superiors who did nothing to prevent the horrific events from unfolding."

The Guardian is not being asked to "discard the notion that ... America .. wants to be seen as a nation of peace" rather than a nation of victory. It is only being asked to imagine a connection between the two, or face the day, which may have already come, when the vision of bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover is replaced by applause for buzzards circling over the United Nations peace zones.

When Samuel Huntington remarked in his book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order that "the West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion (to which few members of other civilizations were converted) but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do", he was warning that the penchant for foisting politically correct solutions on the rest of the world ironically came at a time when its power is in ebb relative to that of other civilizations; and that others -- Osama Bin Laden in particular -- understood that the effete emissaries of the West had come forth from an empty city, in the context of a clash of civilizations that had never truly ended. And now the eye of the enemy is moving, with none but the scorned in his way. "A day may come when the courage of men fail, when we forsake all our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day." This day we fight, and with the permission of our Canadian reader, hope to win.