Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Paradox Of War

I've never understood the idea of following rules during war as if this was some “Godly” virtue to uphold. After all, the general goal of war is to annihilate the “bad” guys or force their surrender.

When the “good” guys criticize the “bad” guys for not adhering to said rules of war, I can't help but be puzzled. War does not seem inherently moral and therefore I am very suspicious of any claim or insinuation of right(eous)ness within the context of war.

So why would anybody attempt to find right(eous)ness within the context of war? To assert the ego's superiority in right(eous)ness thus providing moral justification for it. But obeying rules makes it very difficult to win when the “bad” guys do not, so it seems as if “dirty” tactics must be employed in order to remain at all competitive.

Many will protest this because it necessarily involves unfair and cruel strategies. This implies there exists some righteous manner in which to approach war. But I do not believe there is. Refer to the beginning of this discussion and notice the circularity of this argument.

And herein lies the dilemma. I am not saying “we” should never go to war. I simply reject the idea of proclaiming or at least implying right(eous)ness within the context of war and recommend doing whatever need be to win if winning is the ultimate goal. Suffice it to say, I don't think any entity would willingly engage in war if victory was not its ultimate goal.

Now I will ask this of myself. If I was in a situation where I had to fight in a war, would I use “dirty” tactics such as using a child as a shield to tip the scale in my favor? I believe strongly I would not. But why would I not as per my prior argument? Because it is not in my nature to do such a thing. My reason for refraining from such “dirty” tactics is not because I am consciously or unconsciously trying to figure out a “righteous” manner in which to partake in the war, rather it is just not in my nature to do such a thing.

Furthermore, if I had to fight in a war, my ultimate goal would not be to win. Rather, my ultimate goal in a war or in life generally is to just "be myself”. That is why I would not likely use “dirty” tactics. And that is also why I would not be a devoted soldier ready and willing to unquestionably follow orders. Albert Speer and other Nazi officers were strongly condemned for using this excuse!

Concerning war, the paradox is thus: wars are only ever fought over conflicting moral imperatives but the mere act of war is so immoral it becomes complete madness to try to “force” moral imperatives immorally!* War is an evolutionary mindset built upon a contradiction. It is the pinnacle of insanity!

*Perhaps it would elicit less disagreement and anger by suggesting that when uncalled for (this itself seemingly dubious in many instances), war is neither "moral" nor "immoral" as opposed to suggesting it as altogether "immoral". The point of restating war thusly is to make clear that those "forced" into an uncalled for war are NOT "immoral" (necessarily, at least), rather they are neither "moral" nor "immoral". Notice this still precludes any entity from ever claiming right(eous)ness within the context of war because it can only be right(eous) when it is moral. Since morality is precluded within the context of war, it can never be said that the action of war is right(eous). It can at best be neither "moral" nor "immoral", at worst, altogether "immoral"**.

**It seems so unfair to deny an otherwise "moral" entity from being so within the context of an uncalled for war. And of course, it is. Much like the entire class "suffering" for the adolescent antics of a few "immoral" classmates, so too do "innocent" bystanders "suffer" when dragged into conflicts they did not ask to partake in. Lest you forget, LIFE ISN'T FAIR!

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