Posts Tagged ‘Fascism’

Last resort not never resort

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

It turns out they were wrong, those people who told us that the only outcome to the Syrian genocide was a political solution. It turns out that there were two military solutions after all. One was to arm the secular moderate opposition to the fascist Assad, who were asking for a few MANPADS to down the helicopters barrel bombing their schools, hospitals and market places. The other was to wring our hands and let Assad, Putin and Iran kill half a million people.

War, what is it good for? Edwin Starr asked that question in 1970 as the Vietnam war was entering its final phase. His answer was “absolutely nothing”.

I disagree.

Of course, no decent person, no sane, rational human being would chose war over more peaceful means to achieve political ends. And yet, as a last resort, war can be a liberating, humanising course of action, and has been.

War came too late for millions of Jews, Slavs, Roma and homosexual people in early 1940s Europe. By the time the Vietnamese had, in the teeth of UN opposition, invaded to remove Pol Pot in Cambodia, 1.7 million people were dead. In 1994, about 800,000 Rwandan Tutsis lost their lives too, while an international community, forged in the post 2nd World War consensus, wrung its hands, or in the case of the French authorities, actively colluded in the genocide. The true horror of all those events was uncovered in weeks, months or years. This genocide in Syria was witnessed, live, on Twitter.
War is a very, very last resort.

But there comes a time when the crimes of some regimes are so evil and perpetrated with such fortitude, that they cannot be stopped by wishful thinking, by diplomatic persuasion, by political action or by economic sanction.

There comes a point beyond which such crimes can only be stopped by the application of armed and deadly force: “by any means necessary”, you might say.

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