An interesting John Hawkins interview with Victor Davis Hanson:

Victor Davis Hanson: I think that’s just part of what it means to be a privileged Westerner. It means that you’re going to be wracked by self doubt and you’re going to be constantly picking apart, tearing apart you society to make it better. That means sometimes in war that you think that you can still win without bringing all of your assets to the table because you’re so wealthy or you’re so powerful, or you’re so sophisticated. There’s a certain arrogance there — that you can afford to give medals for courageous restraint. Or you can afford to suggest that because there was a civilian nearby that you didn’t take out a building. The enemy doesn’t really worry about that and doesn’t worry about the U.N. or the New York Times faulting them for not worrying about it.
Victor Davis Hanson: When you start to be legalistic about war, you’re going to create so many contradictions and hypocrisies and paradoxes because you’re really taking the elemental violence and trying to adjudicate it as if it was dominoes.
So for example, this country worked itself up over the water boarding of three suspects that were being detained in Guantanamo. We knew in each case that they were responsible in some part for the 9-11 mass murders.   We know they were water boarded.  But suddenly that translated in the campaign season to “The United States embraces wide scale torture.”  At the same time in the last 18 months, we’ve probably killed around 700 in targeted assassinations.  Perhaps over 100 civilians and one or two American citizens were killed and we were judge, jury and executioner.  So once you get into this legalistic mode, these paradoxes that I referred to start to appear.  It’s OK to judge a suspected terrorist, as guilty. It’s OK to pull the trigger and kill him by predator of remote assassination.  But it’s not OK to water board a known confessed terrorist.  Most people would rather be water boarded than have themselves and their children, everybody in the general vicinity, blown up.  Yet we adjudicate one as moral and one as amoral depending on a pretty shaky logic. We’re going to continue to do that more and more as we think that something is as unpredictable and savage as war must follow the same protocols as the health care plan or getting 500 channels on TV.
Victor Davis Hanson: If we try to restrain the use of violence, try not to humiliate the enemy during the war, and try not to defeat them, we’re only going to drag out the actual savagery.

This comment from VDH goes right in line with what I’ve been saying on the topic all along. The law, as such, can only be applied in the absence of war.  That’s because war, by definition, is the absence of lawfulness.  The only way to reestablish the rule of law, is to establish peace.  The only way to reinstate peace, then, is to win the damned war.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,