The Price Of War.

Another Comment:

There are some good debates going on FreeSpeech. If you are interested in honest debates, you ought to visit FreeSpeech. Del's site is unusual in how many thoughtful people it attracts from all sides of the spectrum. This one is called "The Price of War." Will B., an anti-warrior, has this to say:

It seems to me that there is little room to walk away with any other conclusion than lives are being lost so we can protect the American way of life the general grew up with. That is fine, but are Iraqis paying that price with the cost of their lives as well? I think so! Then if so, don't they deserve more sympathy from our administration? After all, what do words cost?

Some will say the cost of Iraqi lives are paid for by the lives that will be saved with Saddam removed from power, therefore, no apology required (not that I ever heard the administration make that argument). Well, o.k., fine. But doesn't that seem like hollow sympathy to you? It certainly doesn’t seem to me like the heart of the country I thought I lived in. Then again, perhaps I am one of those "crazies" who feel our country could do better if we make the effort.

To which I reply:
Brother Will,

What would you have said by the powerful? I am honestly curious. The price of war is high, yes; but it has to be compared with the price of not having war.

I am willing to agree that a calculation of lives saved v. lives lost is a poor way to judge the worthiness of war. But there has to be some way to do it. If we aren't going to make utilitarian calculations, then we are left with principles.

And what principle is it that does not justify this war? It is not merely the principle that we should care for the weak, or look out for those who might suffer from war. We have looked out for them, by war. It is war alone that shattered the iron bands that guarded them by day and by night. It was our war that did.

It is not the principle that we should love our neighbor, for we have loved him. At the cost of the blood of our own, we have scattered an army of oppression, collared the Mukhabarat, and begun to empty the graves they were so long in filling. As we turn over to the families skeletons of long dead beloved, we avenge neighbors scorned by the cruel.

It is not the principle that we should do no evil. That principle is answered by the Doctrine of Double Effect, which you and I have discussed before. We have been justified in the evil we have done, which was accidental and unwanted, but was only a much-resisted side effect of destroying foes that were at once ours and the peoples' of Iraq.

It is not the principle that we ought to avoid entangling alliances. The entangling alliances sought to prevent our action, and to allow tyranny to continue.

It is not the principle that we should uphold human freedom. Never, in that, have we done prouder than now.

What would you have me apologize for doing? Alas, alas! for every dead innocent. In a society where public prayer has been all but banned, though, that sentiment can not be expressed by a public official.

We have done all we can do to preserve the innocent. What guilt remains, when all human efforts fail, can only exist between ourselves and God--and that prayer can not be said by the President of a secular nation. We may well prostrate ourselves alone, and sob, and pray, when we look upon the evil face of war.

But having sobbed, and having prayed, at last we must be Men and stand to our duty. We have been; we have done. May God forgive us. Will you have more said after that?

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