Wednesday, July 19, 2006

War is habit-forming

Kevin Drum:
It is, often, not so much war itself that people long for, but the moral certainty that comes with it; thus the venom directed even toward those who are skeptical of war, let alone those who are resolutely opposed to it. It's not that the skeptics prevent the hawks from getting the war they want — they usually don't — but that they deny them the moral certainty they so desperately yearn for. And that cannot be tolerated.
Very true, and I would add that the moral certainty people get from war really has nothing to do with the context of the war - once a nation's soldiers are in harm's way, it's only natural people want to believe the best of them. That means that in the United States today, the President has the ultimate advantage: He can, basically unopposed, put soldiers in the field without worrying about the country supporting him. Some basic niceties need to be said - he's the new Hitler! - but otherwise once the guns start firing, the people can be counted on to "support the troops."

Second quote, this time from Jim Henley:
FA Hayek’s central argument against economic central planning was that the distortions from one intervention become “necessity” for the next - government keeps expanding its control to try to fix the screw-ups its control has already caused. The Unqualified Offerings thesis has been, pretty much from the beginning of this blog, that military intervention abroad is just another kind of central planning subject to Hayek’s laws, whether you call it “interventionism,” “neo-colonialism,” “benevolent hegemony” or “preemptive war.”...
Obviously, I agree. The US keeps going to war because... the US keeps going to war, and nobody really knows how to stop it. Jim continues:
There is a “hegemonic Persian threat” because US intervention destroyed the main Arab counterweight to it: Baathist Iraq. Now we will “fix” the most obvious geostrategic problem that created by (optimistically) neutering Hezbollah. Neither the “senior U.S. official” nor anyone else Wright quotes anticipates any new problems flowing from that. Perhaps they just like surprises.
They don't like surprises, but if it weren't for surprises they would be out of business. So even if it means the occasional rocket in Haifa, you can expect the Pentagon to back endless war.

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