September 14, 2001
The sanest thing I've read

The sanest thing I've read all week, from the sanest person I know, Phil Agre.

Should we go out and get the people who blew up our buildings? Of
course we should. If we can't get them nonviolently law, should we
start dropping bombs on impoverished countries? Maybe we should, if
it will actually achieve the stated goal. A world that has graduated
beyond the traditional conceptions of war may not be able to avoid
military action, regrettable as it always is. Evil is real, whatever
excuse it might present. The important thing is to draw a distinction
between military action, as the exercise within a framework of
international law of the power of a legitimate democratic state, and
war, as the imposition of a total social order that is the antithesis
of democracy, and that, in the current technological conditions
of war, has no end in sight. We can reorganize our infrastructure
along more intelligent lines, and we urgently should. But more
fundamentally, war will end only when the rest of the world enjoys
the same institutional conditions of justice and freedom that we
do. We can hasten that day by supporting civil society, education,
reconciliation, institutional reform, Internet connectivity, and
nonproliferation throughout the world. Or we can retreat into a
conservative conception of war as a way to live our lives. That is
our choice now, in our policies and in our hearts, as we decide how to
act on the pain that we feel.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at September 14, 2001 12:00 AM
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