Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Mark of Minute Particulars and I appear to hold one another in similar esteem--we don't always agree, but usually find one another thought-provoking and even useful. But this time, Mark, I disagree with you as much as you do with me. We fail the King of Peace when we worry more about whether or not "war is always a disaster" than whether it is right.

And what is so terrible about war, as opposed to all the other fundamentals of the fallen human condition, anyway? We all die sometime, but in war, those who die are more prepared for the possibility than most of us. Heroism is rarely possible on my morning commute, but in war, sometimes "uncommon valor is a common virtue." The disruptions to our complacency that war brings are nowhere to be found in most corporate boardrooms, judging by the financial news of the last couple of years. Truth and justice are often casualties in war, but they are also glorified sometimes, too. A just war must of necessity be a glorious thing: I cannot conceive of anything being simultaneously just, necessary, and disastrous if that final word means what most understand by it. I can certainly conceive of a just and necessary thing being difficult (in fact, the contrary is an almost meaningless idea). However, I will amend my remarks slightly, inasmuch as the denotative meaning of disaster ("a sudden event bringing great damage" in one book) is certainly true of war, not to mention most versions of peace we have tried in the past few centuries. But I did not understand the cardinal to be omitting the connotative meanings to which I have vaguely alluded, and which I continue to reject as an absolute statement.

I sincerely, with all my heart, hope continued and escalated war with Iraq can be averted. I hope it on broad principles (in spite of my remarks above, the potential of war is strongly negative) and in particular, inasmuch as I have several friends, including the godfather-to-be of my child-to-be, who are very much in harm's way. I pray every day that a peaceful and just way out of war can be found. I don't believe it can be, but Lord (and every regular reader of this blog, for that matter) knows I have been wrong before, and anyway it's "THY will be done" in the prayer. But I don't think statements that decry war merely to decry it answer the problems posed by the failure to act. "War is always a disaster" is not a presumption against war (that can be overcome) but a banning of it; for how can it ever be just to choose what is always a disaster against what might merely possibly turn out to be one?


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