Friday, February 11, 2005

"When War Must Be The Answer"

Policy Review recently published a provocative essay by James V. Schall S.J., professor of government at Georgetown University:
It is not a virtue to praise justice as if it need not be actually enforced or defended. The greatest crimes usually are grounded in a utopianism that is blind to living men, that does not see how to limit and control disruptive forces that continually arise in human life. Though I argue mainly about military force, the same argument includes police power. These are not substitutes for the virtue of justice, but this difficult virtue relies also on the existence and proper use of force for its existence. Contrary to much rhetoric, we do not live in a world in which diplomacy, dialogue, diversity, and law, however valuable, have replaced force. We can hopefully reach an adequate public order, but the failure to understand that law and dialogue need the presence of reasoned force ends up creating not more peace but less.
War is a tragic enterprise, but like Mr. Schall, I cannot believe that it can somehow be made "unnecessary" by simply relying on the good wishes and mercy of our professed enemies. As long as human enmity endures, good women and men will be put into the position of defending themselves from ideologies, like Islamofacism, that seek their destruction. To do otherwise, blinded by the utopianism of which Schall speaks, is not only unjust by also unloving to those who are our neighbors.

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