Every war is offered to us as a "just war" when in fact most of them are "just another war".
Security has always been about feelings clothed in barely relevant facts, talked of extensively only when we are actually feeling insecurity and forgotten otherwise.
I would rather live in an unwalled village and have to deal with the occasional stranger than live in a fortress from which all comers must be viewed over the parapet as enemies until they prove otherwise. Few mistakes will sooner make enemies of strangers than simply seeing them as enemies.
Aristotle, so smart and theoretical, clearly never commanded troops for he offers only justification. The vilest of men know justification is merely manipulation. Decent men who have had a hand in war's bloodshed, even though they prevailed, would advise any course but war. America's first war was led by great men who knew that the progress of humanity should be from war to peace, not the reverse. There is nothing progressive about war, it is always a setback for humanity. Spilt blood being adequate reason in most minds to spill more blood, once a war is started conflict never lacks for reasons to spread and go forward while hope and liberty recede. It is exactly Bin Laden's grasp of this ancient elementary aspect of violence that has led Bush and his advisors into the disgrace of giving the terrorists a far bigger and more historically memorable fight than their sick methods and paltry cause ever deserved.
The not-so-fine line between being able to take care of yourself and help your neighbor when an adversary insists on a fight and being too militarily strong and morally weak to keep from helping yourself to someone else's country is much blurred and overstepped lately. There are things, one's ways and one's own land, which one might have to fight to keep and protect. But only on active proof, attack or immanent and uncaused invasion, is there anyone from whom hostilities could possibly protect property, persons or sovereignty. In the category of wars between nations, the last such attack against the US was by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. I plead historical ignorance of whether the Korean war was truly in the category of killing to prevent killing but we all know the Iraq war has killed far too many to hold up that kind of excuse. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and the fabricated causes of the invasion of Iraq stamped by the congress we just booted and other such initiations of military action are unjust and according to treaties like the Kellogg-Briand Pact, a treaty co-authored by an American secretary of state, illegal. We are not in a good position to label other countries as rogue states while we trample the frail paper of the world's hope for peace that we ourselves helped write. In the category of conflicts between nations and nationless factions, now generically branded "terrorism" to the great benefit of repressive governments everywhere, there simply is no nation to strike back at. The acts of terrorists are despicable and deserve active suppression by their victim countries but only by commensurate means. Individuals and groups are not brought to justice by invading nations or maligning entire religions or regions. Is this too complex an idea for some people?
Getting away with something just because you have the might to pull it off only delays the regret. Live justly America, and have no regret.
I trot out my views on war, much in agreement with history's views of war if my quoting here is fair, because we Americans have just spoken our minds to say that we are not so fond of war as our leaders wanted to think. It is now time for us, as citizens and for our representatives, to not ignore what we claim are our ideals of peace. Peace again has an opportunity though not an easy one. I blog the views here because this is my "values and wisdom" blog, [such as it is] and all the political shouting of my other blog can come along in the due course of politics: Politics is what you must resort to when not all people are decent to each other in the same way as they are to themselves. Lets hope a truly common decency toward other people prevails this time around. Otherwise we are back to square one: hastily justifying conflict so that we may rue it for generations yet to come.