Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Worth The Fighting For
On Citizen Smash's wonderful site, a commenter suggested, regarding America's current war in Iraq, that "If you truly think that the UN, NATO or each individual country in the world, doesn't have an inherit interest when Country A invades Country B then you are seriously out of touch with reality."
My reply read as follows:
I once had occasion to think, at great length, about an interesting dichotomy in the way people think.
Simply this: some people, when it comes down to the crunch, favor their own against others. They will defend their family against invaders, for example; or they will take up arms to defend their country against another.
Some people, on the other hand, believe staunchly that all people are equal; that all nations are equal; and thus cannot distinguish between the invader and the invaded, between the murderer and the murdered.
This can take the form of simple cluelessness, or a refusal to see "the big picture". As I read recently in a great new blog, such people might argue that "Pushing an old lady into the path of a bus to kill her, and pushing an old lady out of the way of the bus to save her life, are equally wrong because you shouldn’t push old ladies."
Or sometimes it can take the form of a refusal to understand that, when one's survival is at stake, some niceties must be sacrificed. If your only way to repel a midnight invader is to let loose with a shotgun, you don't stop to ask your neighbors if they mind loud noises late at night. You do what has to be done, and deal with the consequences of your actions later.
Does "each individual country in the world" have an "inherent interest" when "Country A invades Country B"? Of course; I haven't heard anyone seriously argue otherwise.
But we aren't "Country A", and we aren't every country in the world; we're the one that lost 3,000 citizens and residents on a single, terrible morning, as the unmistakable sign of an undeclared war. Our inherent interest is not to secure oil revenues, or to protect sales of nuclear centrifuges to rogue regimes; our interest is to make sure that 9/11 damn well doesn't happen again.
I might add: our interest, narrowly defined, is to make sure that 9/11 doesn't happen again HERE. We have chosen to pursue a policy that makes it less likely in the rest of the world, too.
Does that make me sound like an American, who places American interests above the interests of other countries? Damn straight. And that tells you, with respect to the dichotomy mentioned above, where I stand.
Daniel in Brookline
In any case, keep up the good work. I'm adding your blog to my favorites.