“When men write about war, then, and say that it is a great plague, that is all true; but they should also see how great the plague is that it prevents. If people were good, and glad to keep peace, war would be the greatest plague on earth; but what are you going to do with the fact that people will not keep peace, but rob, steal, kill, outrage women and children, and take away property and honor?”
Well, even that great heresiarch Martin Luther couldn’t get everything wrong. Of course in regard to war, like much else, he merely lifted just war concepts from Catholicism for his new religion. His quote is interesting however, because it does underline a problem with how many elites in the West, including elites in the Catholic Church, look at war. War is viewed by these elites as something to be avoided at all cost. Lip service is sometimes paid to confronting aggression, but endless excuses are brought up to avoid doing so at all, or doing so effectively.
Why this is the case is usually because it is thought that we can pick and choose our wars and we should always choose to avoid wars. Most Western nations since World War II, if they have fought a war at all, have fought it far away from their shores. The illusion has grown up in the minds of many Western elites that wars can simply be walked away from without consequences. Of course, this is a self-serving falsehood. After Congress, for example, cut off funding for the US military in South Vietnam in 1973, it was the South Vietnamese people who endured Communist rule, with a million of them being tossed into re-education camps, hundreds of thousands summarily executed, and a million boat people risking their lives on the high seas to escape. Refusing to fight is rarely a cost free exercise, it merely means, for contemporary Westerners, that some people we do not know over seas will pay the price. Acting in this manner is usually dressed up in glowing terms of being anti-war, pacifist and non-violent. Perhaps this is a true description for the motivation of some, but I think for most it is simply a deeply cynical assessment that it is not my neck on the line or the necks of anyone that I love.
Of course no nation has the power to right all wrongs in the world and in some conflicts, Syria for example, it is hard to see what good military intervention can accomplish, when all sides seem bad. However, the wholesale abdication by almost all of the West of the responsibility to confront evil abroad will inevitably, and probably sooner rather than later, bring the evils to our own doorstep. 9-11 should have taught us that, but apparently it has not. Perhaps the nuclear 9-11 I foresee in the not too distant future on some Western city, will finally convince the contemporary West that attempting to ignore war, or merely denouncing it with words, makes as much sense as combating a raging fire with similar tactics. War, like many of the evils that confront man in this Vale of Tears, is usually not susceptible to being ignored long term without someone paying a ghastly price.