July 31st, 2007

War is the Health of the State


photo credit: Defensor Fortis

Randolph Bourne once noted that war is the health of the State. Murray Rothbard wisely commented on this quote as follows:

It is in war that the State really comes into its own: swelling in power, in number, in pride, in absolute dominion over the economy and the society. Society becomes a herd, seeking to kill its alleged enemies, rooting out and suppressing all dissent from the official war effort, happily betraying truth for the supposed public interest. Society becomes an armed camp, with the values and the morale — as Albert Jay Nock once phrased it — of an “army on the march.”

Indeed, governments throughout history have used war as a pretext for domestic tyranny. Our own recent wars have created a fearful populace who bleat like sheep for security and throw away their liberties in an effort to obtain it. The Patriot Act (parts one and two), Military Commissions Act, and a whole slew of executive orders have resulted from foreign intervention and the inflating of threats, whether real or pretended.

With few exceptions (the American Revolution being one of them), war is manufactured by government to protect and promote itself, hoard and assume additional power, and increase control in every sphere of life possible. In fact, war is used primarily to defend the State and diminish personal liberty, rather than defending the individuals enlisted in its service. Rothbard explains:

The root myth that enables the State to wax fat off war is the canard that war is a defense by the State of its subjects. The facts, of course, are precisely the reverse. For if war is the health of the State, it is also its greatest danger. A State can only “die” by defeat in war or by revolution. In war, therefore, the State frantically mobilizes the people to fight for it against another State, under the pretext that it is fighting for them.

A basic philosophical analysis of war demonstrates that the state entities involved must usually engender a collectivist, nationalist mentality in order to rally support for the operation. When support is low, the State mandates conscription to fill its ranks and fight for its survival.

The business of war is not new. Thomas Paine commented on it over two centuries ago, Leo Tolstoy a century later, and with today’s ever expanding military-industrial complex we see the same perpetuated atrocity affecting our foreign policy and military adventurism.

It was this repetition throughout history of governments waging wars that led Alexander Solzhenitsyn to comment that “a state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny”. Why is this so? It is because tyranny and its less ominous precursor of government infiltration into one’s personal life are the blood of government. The State has power only over people—not programs, organizations, or objects. The State only has control over the lives of its subjects, and thus finds war to be beneficial to government growth and more assumed power.

For this reason, the fight for liberty is a continual struggle wherein true patriots will speak out and oppose any morsel that adds to the health and strength of the State.

20 Responses to “War is the Health of the State”

  1. July 31, 2007 at 4:08 pm #

    When you talk of the Business of War, you must make mention of the classic piece by Major General Smedley Darlington Butler entitled, “War is a Racket.” It’s a classic from the early 20th century. Check it out at:

    http://www.lexrex.com/enlightened/articles/warisaracket.htm

    Very good post, Connor.

  2. Kelly Winterton
    July 31, 2007 at 11:00 pm #

    Excellent post! Africa and a love-life haven’t dulled your keen sense of our current political situation!

    I would add that America’s wars are always a result of some false-flag operation which serves as a pretext to get the public to support it. (The Afghanistan and Iraq Wars are no exception!)

  3. Dan
    August 1, 2007 at 7:25 am #

    Kelly,

    The war in Afghanistan was not a “false-flag” operation, or I should say, it started off as not being a false flag operation. Now it is a lamentable mess.

  4. Kelly Winterton
    August 1, 2007 at 11:36 am #

    Dan, I assume that you accept the government’s theory that some guy in a cave in Afghanistan gave boxcutters to 19 hijackers who couldn’t fly and they evaded the highest security in the world and boarded planes without even getting their names on the passenger manifests?

  5. Dan
    August 1, 2007 at 12:25 pm #

    Kelly,

    There are a number of fallacies in your comment. First of all, it isn’t the government’s theory. Secondly, yes, indeed some guy in Afghanistan planned this out, including the use of boxcutters, because he knew passengers could carry boxcutters in their carryons. Thirdly, the United States does not today, and most certainly did not then have the highest security in the world. I recall before 9/11 how I could go across the border into Canada without having to show my passport, for example.

    Now, whether or not the government took advantage of the crisis and embellished some facts, well, I don’t disagree with you there.

  6. Paradox
    August 1, 2007 at 12:57 pm #

    As much as people read, I wonder if they actually know a thing.

    “To every thing there is a aseason, and a time to every purpose under the heaven… A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” Ecclesiastes 3: 1 & 8

    I must urge you all to read your history books. Call me a rabid Republican, but I must insist that war is sometimes necessary. You want examples? Because I have them.

    US involvement in World War II. The initial invasion of Europe had more US troops than any other. Without our support of the liberation, think of what Nazi Germany would have become, what it already was because nobody wanted to stand up and fight! World War II is the classic example of how diplomacy isn’t the answer to everything. Go see the Holocaust museum in DC if you don’t believe it.

    Another example from our history? The Korean War. I highly recommend that anyone who ever stood against war read about the Korean occupation by Japan from 1910-1940’s. The Japanese literally took everything that was Korean and made it illegal. The Korean flag, the state trees, Korean names, Korean business owners, and even Korean hairstyles were outlawed, and replaced with japanese equivalents. They took weapons and metals so that the Korean people could not fight back. Dissent would punishable by brutal beatings, public humiliation, and death. The Korean people were literally thrown onto their backs and held at gunpoint in every aspect of their lives. US involvment in Korea was absolutely necessary to give people back their dignity!

    And you may think that your argument applies, then, to the Japanese who imposed war on the Koreans. But the Japanese deserve just as much empathy from us because their empire was in a shambles that envied Germany post World War I. All they wanted was security, which you can mock if you’d like, but don’t pretend that we don’t all want the same thing at the end of the day.

    I’m a martial artist, and just about everyone I’ve ever trained with has joined the military. I’ve personally heard about what goes on over there, not the half-baked versions that the media force feeds us to promote a liberal agenda. The soldiers need us to support them, and we cannot support them, but not their mission! Maybe if we did more of that, instead of quoting Tolstoy to each other about something that will NEVER CHANGE, then maybe morale would be higher, and our troops would be making out better. War, like a church, is a reflection of the people fighting it, not the people declaring it.

    You want to know about war? Don’t ask your politicians or your beloved scholars that have never seen a day of combat! Go talk to a soldier.

  7. Dan
    August 1, 2007 at 1:10 pm #

    Paradox,

    The initial invasion of Europe had more US troops than any other. Without our support of the liberation, think of what Nazi Germany would have become, what it already was because nobody wanted to stand up and fight!

    Huh, and here I thought that Germany declared war on us, and as such we had to defend ourselves. But apparently according to Republican revisionist history, it was WE who were the aggressors!

    In regards to the Korean War, I think you probably need to go back and reread your history book, because it sure looks like you are stating that the United States was involved in Korea during the Japanese invasion and occupation of Korea. Look at your history book carefully please.

    But the Japanese deserve just as much empathy from us because their empire was in a shambles that envied Germany post World War I.

    So wait a second, you’re saying that the United States should have been supportive of the Japanese and their expansion of power in the late 30s? I thought we were against that kind of action.

    All they wanted was security, which you can mock if you’d like, but don’t pretend that we don’t all want the same thing at the end of the day.

    Um…no.

    You want to know about war? Don’t ask your politicians or your beloved scholars that have never seen a day of combat! Go talk to a soldier.

    To this point you have justified our actions by comparing our war in Iraq to the Japanese invasion of Korea. You think that we should have the same rights of “security” as the Japanese “deserved”.

    wow….I’m rather speechless.

  8. Connor
    August 1, 2007 at 1:15 pm #

    Paradox,

    There is far more to analyze in the examples you provide than the outcomes and soundbytes that people tend to throw around to justify their favorite flavor of foreign intervention. For example, it would be beneficial to understand how Hitler rose to power, who funded him, what policies led to his dictatorship, where the German citizens failed in preventing it, etc.

    War, while sometimes necessary, is nothing that anybody should look forward to. Thus, the onus is on each of us to understand what we can do to prevent it at all costs.

    We can’t go on thinking that war is justified because of foreign dictators that subject their citizens to poverty, murder, and all manners of despotism. We’re not the world’s policemen. We don’t have the moral authority, the money, or the resources. We’ll drain ourselves dry (if we haven’t already…) by pretending to save the world by going abroad in search of monsters to destroy.

    The fact is that there have been dictatorships and situations throughout our two centuries of existence that have fallen on deaf ears and were permitted to continue, free of American intervention. Why, then, do we persist in believing the lie that the only (or main) reason we are in these wars is to help the people? Were that the case, I’m sure we could come up with far better situations and locations for the use of military might.

    The soldiers need us to support them, and we cannot support them, but not their mission!

    I support the troops. But the best way to support them is to bring them home and let them be with their families here on our homeland. Support a bad policy does not equate to supporting the troops. Of course we can oppose a mission founded on poor policy and still support the troops themselves! How? By working actively to secure their return to the lonely arms of their loved ones.

    America’s defense is become weaker every day, as we send more and more troops abroad. Have we not learned our lesson from the Roman Republic turned Empire that spread itself too thin and then collapsed? Just a few weeks ago we sent our 150 best Border Patrol agents to Iraq. Depleting our resources, emptying our already empty coffers, and sending our sons and daughters to fight in a no-win, undeclared war without any benchmarks or end in sight is not supporting the troops.

    …something that will NEVER CHANGE, then maybe morale would be higher…

    So since war will always be on this earth, we should accept it for what it is? Shall we not fight for liberty? Was not the War in Heaven—continued in our day—fought on the principle of personal liberty and free agency? Did appeasement and acceptance work for our brothers and sisters on the other side of the veil?

    Albert Einstein once said that “a country cannot simultaneously prepare for and prevent war.” Why is that? It is because in a time of war, the State spreads itself thin, empties its treasury, sends its sons to die, and infringes upon personal liberty. These are not things that easily engender liberty and peace.

    War, like a church, is a reflection of the people fighting it, not the people declaring it.

    I disagree. War is often a reflection of the State and the mentality it has drummed up through use of propaganda and nationalism. It’s been that in many wars, where the government depicts a foreign enemy as a tyrant or bloodthirsty savage in order to elicit the support of its citizens. Were this not the case, wouldn’t be have already withdrawn from Iraq since the majority of Americans want to do so? One can see, then, that the war is a reflection of our current neo-conservative establishment, not We the People…

    You want to know about war? Don’t ask your politicians or your beloved scholars that have never seen a day of combat! Go talk to a soldier.

    Odd, then, that Ron Paul (who stands for liberty, peace, and friendship with nations through commerce and trade) was the one to receive the most donations in the last quarter from members of our military…

  9. Kelly Winterton
    August 1, 2007 at 2:52 pm #

    War has always been caused by, and is a tool of Satan. He started the war in heaven. Ever since being expelled from the Garden of Eden, he declared that war would be the way he would bring blood and horror to the earth. War is never good, and is only justified by the Lord if the enemy attacks twice and there is a need for defense. In fact even the Constitution says it can only be declared by Congress.

    The Afghanistan and Iraq Wars are not only illegal, they are of Satan.

  10. Paradox
    August 1, 2007 at 6:15 pm #

    Connor,

    “Were this not the case, wouldn’t be have already withdrawn from Iraq since the majority of Americans want to do so?”

    Since when does the majority of America get to tell the military how to do its job? I’m just wondering at what point the general public decided it was our place to direct the soldiers that are out defending our national security, especially when those soldiers are the ones that are repeatedly ignored. I’ve heard the stories from Marines I’ve trained with that repeatedly sign on for more tours in Iraq because there is still so much left there to do. My instructors and their friends have nearly died on numerous occassions for this war. And yet they still keep going back. If “the best thing” is for them to come home, why do they all keep re-enlisting of their own will?! Because they have a mission, and they’re the only ones that seem to understand that.

    Kelly,

    “The Afghanistan and Iraq Wars are not only illegal, they are of Satan.”

    So are our soldiers fighting day and night to further a mission of Satan then? Sorry, but you’ll never get me to believe that.

    Dan,

    “it sure looks like you are stating that the United States was involved in Korea during the Japanese invasion and occupation of Korea.”

    We were involved in the Korean War because the weakened nation, as a result of the Japanese occupation, was a breeding ground for the results: a war between democracy and communism. And the United States was involved in the liberation of Korea, as well as the Korean war itself later.

    “So wait a second, you’re saying that the United States should have been supportive of the Japanese and their expansion of power in the late 30s?”

    If you would read what I said, you’ll see that I suggested EMPATHY for the Japanese circumstances, not support. The two things are exclusive. My point is that we can condemn other nations in the past for their foreign policy, or we can get a clue and realize that even the most agregious actions in foreign policy are rooted in fear. The Koreans, the Japanese, and all of humanity, when they succumb to war, it is out of a need for security that, for one reason or another, is not being met.

    So, Dan, while your trite response (“Um…no.”) about the need for that security is SO convincing, perhaps you’d care to consider the state of Japan at the end of the feudal era. As Western technology was introduced to the Japanese empire, the societal hierarchy was in serious jeopardy. Daimos and samurai either found their place in the new world order, as driven by Western influence, or perish. The common people suffered as machines replaced their work, and revolutionized their lifestyle. The dichotomy that existed in Japan at that time between primitive peaceful life and a technologically advanced and power hungry empire created the instability that led to Japan’s questionable foreign policy for the following half century. Sounds like EVERY nation after the Industrial Revolution, no?

    “To this point you have justified our actions by comparing our war in Iraq to the Japanese invasion of Korea. You think that we should have the same rights of “security” as the Japanese “deserved”.”

    No, YOU compared our war in Iraq to the Japanese invasion in Korea. I was simply pointing out the Japanese of yesterday and our soldiers of today are all people! Are YOU suggesting that the Japanese soldiers who fought valiantly for their country, and died, don’t deserve a historian’s sympathy, that we might understand their plight so we don’t repeat their mistakes?

    Wow. I’M speechless!

    And as a matter of fact, I believe that every person is entitled to the security that, sometimes, you have to fight for. I’ve been taught from the soldiers who’ve actually fought in a war that those who believe in peace train for war. Such is the result of being an imperfect human being living in an imperfect world.

    And it’s going to take a lot more than Tolstoy to fix that.

  11. Dan
    August 1, 2007 at 8:05 pm #

    The logic of the Republican base gets worse and worse as they stretch further and further to attempt to justify aggressive action. This is really the first time that I’ve heard someone try to justify our actions in Iraq by the Japanese invasion of Korea. Has anyone else ever heard of this comparison?

    And as a matter of fact, I believe that every person is entitled to the security that, sometimes, you have to fight for.

    Tell that to the people of Ammonihah as a prophet of the Lord sat back and watched them burn to death at the hands of evil men.

  12. Paradox
    August 2, 2007 at 9:31 pm #

    Dan: While you twist my argument through the distorted lens of selfish cowardice, I’ll be writing a letter to Luis, a good friend of my family who is being sent to Iraq.

    You seem to be puzzled about why I am so considerate to the Japanese plight of the early 20th century. Why? Because I know that no matter what nationality a soldier takes, he is still someone’s son, father, uncle and brother. And if you can’t look at a soldier, no matter where he’s from, and realize what is lost when he suffers, then you are the keeper of the ignorance that allows war to continue. Not me. You stack your cards against your own argument. Not mine.

    And to any of you that really hate this war so much because its cruel, I ask you: How do you define cruelty? Is it rape? Is it murder? Is it torture? Or would it be standing around watching the leader of a nation inflicting these crimes, and worse upon his own people?

    Saddam Hussein is a tyrannical nutcase that needed to be stopped. Want proof? Read about what his sons would do to the people of his father’s country!

    I’ll admit, even I question the President of the United States sometimes. But at least I don’t have to worry about his sons prowling the streets and raping 12 year olds, or the women in the mosques getting married! None of us do! Do we even realize how blessed we are in this country? That the biggest problem we have is “muckraking” on the Bloggernacle is a gift from God! That some would have us all cower in a corner with our fingers in our ears as women in another land suffer…. my Brothers and Sisters, I ask you, where are your hearts? Have you learned NOTHING from our Savior? How can you know that there are families suffering over in the Middle East, and not want to help?

    And sometimes, in order to help, you have to fight. The Lord knows that and so should you! Ecclesiastes 3: 8 states, “There is a time for war.” If there wasn’t, explain Captain Moroni and his title of liberty! Ot the story about two women from Judges, Deborah and Jael. Deborah understood the necessity of the war Barak and his men were to fight, which was to further the work of the Lord.

    “[Deborah] sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedesh-naphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun?
    And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand.” Judges 4: 6 & 7

    Hm… if war is a tool of the Devil, then why is the Lord not only allowing for the war to take place, but delivering the leader of the other side into a woman’s hands? And it gets better! He goes into battle with them!

    “Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this is the day in which the LORD hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the LORD gone out before thee? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him.” Judges 4: 14

    And how does the Lord deliver the enemy into a woman’s hand? With Jael, who kills him by putting a nail through his head:

    “As Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said unto him, Come, and I will shew thee the man whom thou seekest. And when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the nail was in his temples.
    So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel.” Judges 4: 22 & 23

    We may not like war very much, but it’s 1. in our inherent natures as imperfect human beings, and 2. obviously has its place if the Lord allows them to take place, and even has His hand in the events and actions of the soldiers. Because I know this, and I’ve seen it, I support the soldiers AND their mission. I know that the Lord will protect those involved who need protecting, and will embrace those that sadly exit this life, because they too are His children. The Lord will protect His children, even if it comes to war.

    If the Lord can embrace war for what it is, then shouldn’t we? If there was even a war in Heaven before we came here, it would makes sense that more battles are to take place. It seems to me that the Lord would have us prepare for the battles we will no doubt face; be exposed to war so that we will be ready.

    The rest of you can sit around and quote literature at each other. It may just be a little more prudent to prepare, and say, “Here am I Lord, send me.”

  13. Brandon
    August 2, 2007 at 9:56 pm #

    Paradox,
    I think you are confusing voluntary service in the defense of others with a state sponsored war. You infer that those who oppose the war in Iraq are cowards because they would allow other people in the world to suffer. Yet, what you propose is exactly what lucifer proposed. He said he would use force to compel all mankind to submit to righteous principles. I think it is horrible that there is despotism in this world. I think all people have an obligation to fight for its destruction. However, I don’t believe that it is the role of our federal government to go around the world and enforce our value system on other nations. I believe that we have an obligation to defend our families. You yourself said as much. Then you proceeded to talk about how bad Saddam Hussein was and why we needed to invade a foreign country and impose our will upon them. This seems illogical to me. If war is only justifiable in self defense, then how do you justify invading a foreign nation. Rescuing the Iraqis was not an act of self defense on our part. Besides ignoring the fact that we did not go to war to free the iraqis as everyone now says, but rather to get ride of weapons that never existed. I find it funny that people that argue for the war are willing to foget that little inconvienient fact.

  14. Paradox
    August 3, 2007 at 12:01 am #

    “I believe that we have an obligation to defend our families. You yourself said as much. Then you proceeded to talk about how bad Saddam Hussein was and why we needed to invade a foreign country and impose our will upon them. This seems illogical to me. If war is only justifiable in self defense, then how do you justify invading a foreign nation.”

    I justify leaving this world a better place than when we inherited it. You ask me why I justify “invading” another country, “imposing” our ideals upon the people. I can’t think of a way to respond that isn’t caustic: because there were people, children of God, suffering at the hands of a man with solid gold toilets, yet his nation was in poverty. I can’t justify putting the lives of anyone in hands so evil. I can’t justify standing by as the nations of the world watch a dictator’s sons rape 12 year old girls, girls that are the same age as my sister! I can’t sit here and convince myself that we, as a powerful nation, do not have the responsibility to act when others suffer. And if you can, then we will have to differ on that essential point.

    I’m a martial artist. I wake up every morning, and I think of two things: how can I inspire people to defend themselves; then the harder task; how can I get them to defend others who CAN’T defend themselves. Why? Because I don’t believe in saying, “It’s someone else’s job to be compassionate for that person because they’re not my problem.”

    “Besides ignoring the fact that we did not go to war to free the iraqis as everyone now says, but rather to get ride of weapons that never existed. I find it funny that people that argue for the war are willing to foget that little inconvienient fact.”
    You’re talking to someone who first started going to Church for the free doughnuts. I have no problem saying that either, because I know that priorities change. What I find “funny” is how WMD’s are what it took to convince this country what should have been obvious all along: Hussein was a nutcase, and we needed to do something about it. Our soldiers know that, and that’s why they repeatedly go back to “the Sandbox” despite the danger.

    And I really don’t care that there were no WMDs. All the better for our troops! They can do their job, achieve the mission that has just been waiting for someone brave enough to take up, without the added threat of being melted, on top of being shot at and blown up. I, for one, am unbelievably proud of the soldiers and Marines that I’ve met that have contributed to that effort. But I know from talking to them that they need our support! They need us to support them AND their mission! They need to know that there are folks back home rooting for their success, not their surrender!

    If they could have depended on that support all along, I’m willing to believe that things would be different now. But there is no sense in thinking in those terms, because it doesn’t solve anything!

    What we really ought to be doing is thinking about how to serve those who are there NOW.

  15. Connor
    August 3, 2007 at 10:07 am #

    Paradox,

    Since when does the majority of America get to tell the military how to do its job?

    You yourself said:

    War, like a church, is a reflection of the people fighting it, not the people declaring it.

    If, then, this current war in Iraq is a reflection of the people fighting it, why did Ron Paul (who wants us to withdraw immediately) get the most donations from military members last week? No doubt there are those in the military that support our foreign intervention, but I can cite many examples of those who are fed up with this war and want us to come home.

    I’m just wondering at what point the general public decided it was our place to direct the soldiers that are out defending our national security, especially when those soldiers are the ones that are repeatedly ignored.

    I find this a bit laughable, since President Bush and his cronies have repeatedly ignored the advice of the generals, many of whom have now up and quit since they were fed up at not being listened to. Also, I find it hard to believe that we are in Iraq to defend “our national security”, as you say. Especially since, as Brandon noted, our declared reasons for our presence there have changed a few times since we first entered. We might be defending our “interests” (oil), but you’d have a hard time coming up with a concrete argument explaining how we’re defending our national security by sending all of our soldiers off into distant lands. Remember, the Romans tried that in their Empire too, and left the homeland free to be attacked. So much for national security!

    I’ve heard the stories from Marines I’ve trained with that repeatedly sign on for more tours in Iraq because there is still so much left there to do.

    Who cares if there is “so much left there to do”?! That’s not why we fight wars! There is plenty to do in myriad other nations, yet we’re not committing our resources and military might to fixing their problems… You may know people that sign on for more tours, but I know those who try to refuse yet are cajoled and barred from doing so. The government makes leaving difficult. Still, many are quitting at an increasing rate as they realize that our current war does not truly defend our national security.

    If “the best thing” is for them to come home, why do they all keep re-enlisting of their own will?! Because they have a mission, and they’re the only ones that seem to understand that.

    So you’re unwilling to let “the majority of America” decide where and when we should send our military, but you’re willing to let the military itself decide? I don’t care at all what the “mission” is — it’s the policy that we must analyze. Their mission is based on our foreign policy, and if the policy is bad, the mission is equally bad. A corrupt tree does not bear good fruit.

    So are our soldiers fighting day and night to further a mission of Satan then? Sorry, but you’ll never get me to believe that.

    This was directed at Kelly, but I’ll answer. What is Satan’s purpose? How does he go about it? If you’re endowed, you’ll have additional insight into his methods. Hint: war, conflict, tyranny, and oppression. Now, I know you and others are liable to believe Bush and his fellow neocons when they say that we are “liberating” the people of Iraq, the truth of the matter is that we are occupying their country. And they’re fed up with it. Does a liberating force establish more than a dozen bases? Don’t think so…

    And as a matter of fact, I believe that every person is entitled to the security that, sometimes, you have to fight for. I’ve been taught from the soldiers who’ve actually fought in a war that those who believe in peace train for war. Such is the result of being an imperfect human being living in an imperfect world.

    I’ve discussed this issue here. Sure, we are all entitled to security. Government is instituted for that very reason alone: the defense of individual liberty and personal property. But when your government foments anti-Americanism by invading other countries and imposing their will on them, but doesn’t exactly create a warm and fuzzy state of security, now does it? Lead by example, not by force.

    And it’s going to take a lot more than Tolstoy to fix that.

    You know, I’ve been somewhat intrigued by your few comments on this thread attacking the use of philosophical reasoning in matters of war. It holds true, I believe, that we can only fight something when we understand it thoroughly. Thus, an effort to prevent war and promote peace can only be effective when we understand how best to approach the task. Why do you think the Founding Fathers did such an excellent job in creating a Constitutional Republic that safeguarded individual liberty and free enterprise? They were well read! They based their legislation and foreign policy and the annals of history, learning from others’ mistakes, and incorporating thoughts and ideas of other men, including Locke, Hume, Cicero, and Montesquieu! So, your repeated attempts at discrediting intellectual thought and philosophical arguments relating to war and foreign policy seem a bit hollow to me.

    Dan: While you twist my argument through the distorted lens of selfish cowardice, I’ll be writing a letter to Luis, a good friend of my family who is being sent to Iraq.

    Ah, this echoes repeated attempts by the current administration to justify their foreign policy in the name of those suffering from it. Instead of analyzing and debating policy, they conjure up images of nationalism and heroic effort through the example of one individual. They were using Pat Tillman for the same purpose, an excellent recruiting tool, until he died (most likely by friendly fire, accidental or not) and the government lied about the cause of death. Gotta love a government that lies whenever it is politically convenient, right? Now there’s a paradox…

    And to any of you that really hate this war so much because its cruel, I ask you: How do you define cruelty? Is it rape? Is it murder? Is it torture? Or would it be standing around watching the leader of a nation inflicting these crimes, and worse upon his own people?

    Using an example, I might define cruelty as bombing and imposing sanctions on Iraq for 10 years, or how about causing the deaths of 650,000 people in the name of “spreading democracy” (changed from “searching for WMD”, of course).

    Saddam Hussein is a tyrannical nutcase that needed to be stopped. Want proof? Read about what his sons would do to the people of his father’s country!

    So, you are justifying foreign intervention when it’s our desire to remove a “nutcase”? Who defines nutcase? Do we leave once said nutcase has been removed? (Apparently not, since we’re still in Iraq). Which nutcases do we go after? How about Mugabe in Zimbabwe? Ahmadinejad in Iran? Sung in North Korea? What about Darfur? China? If you desire to police the world, you better either make the case for policing the entire world (good luck!) or offering a concrete reason why we go into Iraq but not other countries. Hint: it’s a three letter word that starts with an “o” and ends with “il”. As Hugh Nibley once said, the Middle East is the cockpit of the world. The world’s powers have been fighting there for centuries. Why? Control of the world’s most precious resource: oil.

    I’ll admit, even I question the President of the United States sometimes.

    Glad to hear it. Jefferson would be proud.

    But at least I don’t have to worry about his sons prowling the streets and raping 12 year olds, or the women in the mosques getting married! None of us do! Do we even realize how blessed we are in this country? That the biggest problem we have is “muckraking” on the Bloggernacle is a gift from God!

    Indeed, we should count our blessings. I certainly do, each day in prayer. But when does being blessed entail using force to invade other nations, cause numerous deaths of innocent civilians, destroy an entire country’s infrastructure, and occupy their nation?

    That some would have us all cower in a corner with our fingers in our ears as women in another land suffer…. my Brothers and Sisters, I ask you, where are your hearts? Have you learned NOTHING from our Savior? How can you know that there are families suffering over in the Middle East, and not want to help?

    Do you think that we’ve improved things in Iraq? We’ve caused even more suffering! Better to be alive than dead, I say…

    Additionally, how can you know that there are families suffering in every other nation of the world and yet have the desire to use force to “make things better”? Have you learned nothing from our Savior? He led by example, not by force. He promoted peace, not war. He said there would always be poor among us. He urged us (not our governments) to help others. Are we doing our part? Or are we focusing on the few at the expense of the masses? Of course we want to help! But using our military to occupy a foreign nation is not helping!

    And sometimes, in order to help, you have to fight.

    Here comes more analyzation: who are we fighting? Why? What are our benchmarks? Why are we there? When will we leave? What is the result of our fighting? What is our declared intent?

    Answer the previous questions and I hope you’ll come to a realization that our fighting is not helping promote peace. We’re fomenting strife and breeding discontent. Quite the opposite…

    Ecclesiastes 3: 8 states, “There is a time for war.” If there wasn’t, explain Captain Moroni and his title of liberty!

    Indeed there is a time for war. The American Revolution was one. It was fought to shake the chains of tyranny and defend individual liberty. Captain Moroni’s quest was the same:

    defense

    , not pre-emptive war! A true defense consists of a border, a strong defense, and righteous morality of its citizens. There indeed is a time for war—when we are defending ourselves!

    We see that war is incompatible with Christ’s teachings. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the gospel of peace. War is its antithesis and produces hate. It is vain to attempt to reconcile war with true Christianity. There are, however, two conditions which may justify a truly Christian man to enter, mind you, I say enter, not begin, a war: (1) an attempt to dominate and to deprive another of his free agency, and (2) loyalty to his country. Possibly there is a third, viz., defense of a weak nation that is being unjustly crushed by a strong ruthless one. (David O. McKayvia Quoty)

    …and before you use this quote for your defense, please note that President McKay said that when one nation is crushing another, not when one man or regime is crushing its own people. There is a difference that should be noted.

    Because I know this, and I’ve seen it, I support the soldiers AND their mission. I know that the Lord will protect those involved who need protecting, and will embrace those that sadly exit this life, because they too are His children. The Lord will protect His children, even if it comes to war.

    You contradict yourself in this point. You state that the Lord will protect those involved who need protecting. Why, then, do our soldiers die? Why, then, have around 650,000 Iraqis died? Surely they needed protecting! The Lord lets warmongering men have their agency, and this is why we have always had murder present in our society. The Lord intervenes and protects those whom He sees fit, but let’s not kid ourselves and say that he protects everybody that needs protecting. If He did that, our agency would be rendered void. Then, you go one to say that He will embrace those that sadly exit this life, thus indicating that some of those that needed protection were not protected. Evil men wage wars as they have throughout the history of this world, and the Lord permits it to happen, intervening when He sees fit to save the life of this or that person. But this does not justify the war or the “mission” whatsoever.

    If the Lord can embrace war for what it is, then shouldn’t we?

    WHAT….?! Did you just say that the Lord embraces war? Wow. Now I’m speechless.

    If there was even a war in Heaven before we came here, it would makes sense that more battles are to take place.

    Of course. President Hinckley said in 2001 “Now we are at war. The conflict we see today is but another expression of the conflict that began with the War in Heaven.”

    The rest of you can sit around and quote literature at each other. It may just be a little more prudent to prepare, and say, “Here am I Lord, send me.”

    I say this to the Lord, not to George Bush.

    I justify leaving this world a better place than when we inherited it.

    What of the rule of law, paradox? What of our Constitution? Where is authority granted to our President and our military to go around the world “leaving [it] a better place than when we inherited it”? Please listen to these words of Ezra Taft Benson:

    There is one and only one legitimate goal of United Stats foreign policy. It is a narrow goal, a nationalistic goal: the preservation of our national independence. Nothing in the Constitution grants that the president shall have the privilege of offering himself as a world leader. He is our executive; he is on our payroll; he is supposed to put our best interests in front of those of other nations. Nothing in the Constitution nor in logic grants to the president of the United States or Congress the power to influence the political life of other countries, to ‘uplift’ their cultures, to bolster their economies, to feed their people, or even defend them against their enemies. (via Quoty)

    This point is argued even further when facts demonstrate that things are not better in Iraq. Force cannot make a person moral.

    You ask me why I justify “invading” another country, “imposing” our ideals upon the people. I can’t think of a way to respond that isn’t caustic: because there were people, children of God, suffering at the hands of a man with solid gold toilets, yet his nation was in poverty. I can’t justify putting the lives of anyone in hands so evil. I can’t justify standing by as the nations of the world watch a dictator’s sons rape 12 year old girls, girls that are the same age as my sister! I can’t sit here and convince myself that we, as a powerful nation, do not have the responsibility to act when others suffer. And if you can, then we will have to differ on that essential point.

    Again, as I said a few paragraphs above, with your reasoning we would have to invade pretty much every nation in the world where corrupt individuals and warmongering men are oppressing their people and restricting individual liberty. What gives us the right to do so? Where do we receive authority for this adventure? Who is to fund it?

    You’re talking to someone who first started going to Church for the free doughnuts. I have no problem saying that either, because I know that priorities change. What I find “funny” is how WMD’s are what it took to convince this country what should have been obvious all along: Hussein was a nutcase, and we needed to do something about it. Our soldiers know that, and that’s why they repeatedly go back to “the Sandbox” despite the danger.

    So the end justifies the means? Donuts and WMDs are apples and oranges. One involves personal religious liberty and the other involves committing vast amounts of money, resources, and human lives to be flushed down the toilet. Deception and lies by the government are okay, so long as it “convinces this country” that we should go intervene in the internal affairs of other antions?

    What we really ought to be doing is thinking about how to serve those who are there NOW.

    What we really ought to be doing is thinking about how we can truly support the troops and bring them home!

  16. August 3, 2007 at 12:05 pm #

    Paradox,

    I appreciate your passionate support of our military (being an Army wife), I really do. But seriously, if you have the soldiers’ best interest in mind, why do you want them to go around policing the whole entire world? It would never end! Is that what God had in mind when he helped found this great nation of America? A nation to solve the problems of every other nation through our military might? It’s certainly not in the constitution and the CONSTITUTION is where the military owe their primary loyalty (according to the oath they take).

    We really do have to be careful of being deceived by Satan’s tactic of “forcing” everyone to be better, even if it is in their best interest. How many ways can Americans help the people of the world outside of our government or military? Plenty! And Connor is a great example of that. Please reconsider your position that one must always support the mission in order to support the troops. Our president is not granted the moral authority to interfere with other countries’ political systems, no matter how much we think it might help them.

  17. August 3, 2007 at 12:37 pm #

    Paradox,

    I am a member of the Army and have proudly served for 14 years. The first of the Army values is Loyalty and I believe with my whole heart that you are fiercely loyal to our troops. Therefore I would first like to extend my personal thanks to you for your unquestionable support of the U.S. military. It means a lot to those who serve.

    I would also like to describe the typical serviceman. We servicemen are a proud bunch; we don’t want others doing for us what we can do for ourselves. It is for the love of our freedom, family, and God that we choose to serve in the military. For us it isn’t enough to sit around and let somebody else take care of us or our families; we want to actively ensure our families safety. We proclaim our convictions with our actions; seldom with words. As a young soldier I joined the Army for schooling benefits, but very quickly grew in love for my country and my countrymen; I found that selfless service and sacrifice through the military was but a small price to pay to uphold the principles of freedom that are a crucial part of our initiate God-given heritage.

    And yet they still keep going back. If “the best thing” is for them to come home, why do they all keep re-enlisting of their own will?! Because they have a mission, and they’re the only ones that seem to understand that.

    I hope my thoughts will be helpful and not offensive. As I read your post I felt obliged to resolve both yours and Conner’s opinions on this subject. I don’t like war, nobody does. Those who re-enlist and become involved in repeated tours of duty will confirm the fact that war is hell. So I ask you, why would anyone re-enlist? In my experience some do it because it is their career, but most do it for the honor of serving the U.S.A. Yes they have a mission, but the mission and their wants are most emphatically two different things. They promote the war because they have been told that it is the right thing to do and that if they don’t promote the war then they are anti-American. This cuts a serviceman to pieces because of their love of God Family and Country. We serve for the betterment of our country, not against it. Often time’s servicemen simply accept what is being told them and “drive on” with the mission without really understanding the complexity of Washington DC’s tainted politics.

    People in the military follow current events. But if you were to ask them anything about the constitution you would find very few soldiers who have even read it and much less who understood it. This is ironic if you consider the oath of office.

    Here is the oath that I took:

    I, _____ (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.” (DA Form 71, 1 August 1959, for officers.)

    Clearly part of a service members implied responsibilities is the understanding of the constitution of the United States of America. By understanding the constitution we can recognize the things that attack it (either foreign or domestic) and then make appropriate decisions to help support and protect it as well as protecting our country.

    Sometimes war is expedient. The founding fathers made provisions to protect this great country from foreign threat. They placed these provisions in the constitution. Article i, Section 8 states among other things that “The congress shall have the power……To declare war,…” Not the executive branch; not the judicial branch; no one but the legislative branch (i.e. congress).

    In such cases as WWII where the congress has declared war (signed declaration of war), war is legal and binding. In such cases as Korea, Afghanistan and Iraq congress has not authorized war and therefore the actions of the U.S. are illegal by our constitutional standards. If war is expedient then let it come to a vote, in congress, followed by a declaration of war. I believe this is what Conner is trying to say when he says:

    I support the troops. But the best way to support them is to bring them home and let them be with their families here on our homeland.

    Let war be first necessary then legal before we commit ourselves.

    I also, however, believe that your comment about the “mission” is correct. As I understand you it relates to the fact that once we (soldiers) get to an area of operation (whether legal or not legal) we are restricted and not allowed to accomplish the mission. These restrictions come from political filibuster and rhetoric that clouds and numbs the mind in nausea. We are given restrictions and mandates to follow which incredibly and more often than not contradict. Essentially we are told how to fight (ie you are allowed to return suppressive fire if….insert laundry list here……). It is this crazy policy of allowing, as you said, the “Politicians that have never seen a day of combat!’ tell the soldiers how to conduct themselves in a war environment. Clearly there is a difference between how the war is directed by the government, and how our brothers in arm need to conduct themselves in a very difficult situation. On one hand our brothers fight with honor, bleeding their lives away for a belief, on the other hand our government slowly destroys our constitution and the rights of our American people by allowing the constitution to be distorted and manipulated illegally for political advancement. Those wicked politicians say great things such as professing safety, health care for everyone and endless happiness. But when the ballot is cast, the polls counted, where will the promised protection come from, or the endless supply of care or the joy? Not from the politician. It is born upon the backs of the people, us Americans! Sons die, taxes raise, and those of us left to serve are laden heavy with moral dilemmas and difficult circumstances. I believe Conner is correct in his assessment of the war situation. I do believe, if I have understood you, that you are correct concerning allowing them to do their job once they have been given the task.

    Make no mistake when I say that I love the servicemen and women dedicated to our country. My love, however, does not make me blind to the short comings of some of our politicians. More often than I would like to admit, politicians fail to understand the constitution and their obligation to it. The founding fathers never justified pre-emptive attack upon another country. This is found frequently in their writings. They advocated peace, and national protection not the imperialistic spreading of democracy. Sure we want share the blessing of freedom, but not by force! I believe they intended us to set an example; to be the standard bearer of freedom not the freedom enforcer.

    I would encourage anybody this day to dedicate themselves to the study and understanding of the constitution. Study the founding fathers. Elect sound leaders who have proven they support the constitution. Even if it sounds good, but is not constitutional, it is still wrong. This will serve the troops the very best and will protect the American way of life. With out a population that understands our way of government, America will surely struggle and fall; the Federal government will become absolute and we will not be any better off than when we were ruled by King George III.

  18. Scott Kohlhaas
    August 6, 2007 at 12:35 am #

    War is the health of the state but the draft will mean the end of the American empire and the rebirth of a neutral, non-interventionist America!

    Would you be willing to spread the word about http://www.draftresistance.org? It’s a site dedicated to shattering the myths surrounding the selective slavery system and building mass civil disobedience to stop the draft before it starts.

    Our banner on a website, printing and posting the anti-draft flyer or just telling friends would help.

    Thanks!

    Scott Kohlhaas

    PS. When it comes to conscription, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

  19. August 6, 2007 at 7:21 pm #

    Paradox: “So are our soldiers fighting day and night to further a mission of Satan then? Sorry, but you’ll never get me to believe that.”

    For some strange reason, I can’t recall any quotes from the scriptures that explain to me how the Plan of Salvation involves the buying up of armies and navies, Popes and Priests, so that the reign of blood and horror on the Earth can be used for the purpose of spreading the Good News.

    Unless I’m mistaken, I think that’s someone else’s plan.

  20. September 9, 2007 at 9:29 am #

    Scott,

    I will submit myself or my sons to the draft when we have a constituionally declared war. Any other war like vietnam, Korea, or the current ones and i’ll just tell them to stick it in thier ear. If the government doesnt follow the laws that allow for war then i dont have an obligation to go along.

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