Tuesday, August 24, 2004

War Ensemble

Well, it looks like its Blog warrrr time again.

Socialism in an Age of Waiting consider my previous post to be "startlingly bloody silly". Curmudgeonly old buggers.

Meanwhile, Lenin seems to have the wrong end of the stick:
Basically, Bill's point is a variation on the theme of "if you had to kill one child in order to prevent an axe-murderer from killing a hundred, would you do it?"
Well, not quite. I wasn't posing a moral dilema, but painting a reductio ad absurdum picture to illustrate my point that the twin pillars of contemporary just war theory are somewhat wonkie, and tend to undermine one another. Since just war theorists set the conditions that a war must have a legitimate cause, and be fought within acceptable terms, they are setting out two conditions which must be fulfilled to say a war is just.

Demonstrate the impossibility - or at least implausibility - of meeting those two conditions, and the case for just war collapses (that's even before yhou start picking apart the terms of those two conditions, which I shall commence in a rant on jus in bello, perhaps even later today). All that is left then, by their own terms, is either pacifism, or realism.

Realism is, of course, utterly conservative, replacing the Tory mantra of we rule because we rule because we rule, with we fight and fight and fight and fight and fight, because we fight. For the left, generally, there has to be some sort of justification beyond ruling and fighting, hence the importance of just war theory. Without it, being a leftist pro-warrior becomes strained if not utterly untennable.

Of course, Lenin himself actually continues to uphold the just war tjheory, by his defence of anti-imperialist wars. Within that theory, imperialist states are inevitably the aggressors, and are thus to be justly resisted. He also defends the irredemably reactionary idea that peoples have a right to self determination. My friends, there are no peoples, only people.

That is the reason why I still resist the idea he raises. That is, fighting war to end wars. As I said here I think the social and political consequences of war are an ill, in terms of the necessity of leaders and lead, and who prospers and who wilts in war. War of necessity, as Tsun-Tzu points out, thrives on constriction of information. Socialism is about the fullest opening of information flows and democracy. That is why we cannot resist militarism with militarism of the workers.

Our resistance must be the political association of the workers across all frontiers; a political determination to end the situation where arms bring benefits and advancement over the corpses of the slain. Anything else, is starlingly bloody silly.

Update: Just for the record. I have never had sexual phantasies over that Lenin. Mr. Tomb.

I get my satisfaction, anyway, from fining the buggery out of snotty nosed philosophy students who have the misfortune to wander into my Library. Remember, lenin, you can't graduate while you're in debt to the Library....


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