Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A cry against morality

This is one of the more frightening things I've read in a while. No, the lives of Americains are not more valuable than those of Iraquis.

How quaint. That is, this is not at all how we think any more. If we still valued our own men more than the enemy's and the "civilians" he hides among — and now I'm talking about the war in Iraq — our tactics would be totally different, and, not incidentally, infinitely more successful. We would drop bombs on city blocks, for example, not waste men in dangerous house-to-house searches. We would destroy enemy sanctuaries in Syria and Iran, not disarm "insurgents" at perilous checkpoints in hostile Iraqi strongholds.

In the 21st century, however, there is something that our society values more than our own lives — and more than the survival of civilization itself. That something may be described as the kind of moral superiority that comes from a good wallow in Abu Ghraib, Haditha, CIA interrogations or Guantanamo Bay. Morally superior people — Western elites — never "humiliate" prisoners, never kill civilians, never torture or incarcerate jihadis. Indeed, they would like to kill, I mean, prosecute, or at least tie the hands of anyone who does. This, of course, only enhances their own moral superiority. But it doesn't win wars. And it won't save civilization.

If moral inferiority is the cost of saving civilization, then perhaps it is not worth saving. However, given that the soldiers of the Middle Ages were able to carry on wars for hundreds of years according to more morally superior strategies than those being proposed here.

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