By Kaill McNeil
When, if ever, is war a good thing?
What Is War Good For?
One hears a lot about a perfect world, even in the political arena. Much of progressive philosophy is based on it. Working on progressing society to the way they wish it could be. Conservatives, on the other hand, are more likely to see things in terms of cold, hard reality, while also having little to no imagination on bettering the lot of mankind. Somewhere between these two extremes are what could be called ‘moderates.’ Neither caught in the mire of human filth, or off with the fairies, these folks are more able to see the forest for the trees. Particularly when it comes to things like military engagement.
War, What Is It Good For?
“War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothin,’” according to the song. Edwin Starr apparently keen to be speaking Japanese. A nearly sure outcome of the Japanese campaign of WWII if the U.S. had not entered into the war. One of Japan’s major targets being the west coast of the United States. There might not be good wars, but there are necessary ones. A fact recent generations have lost sight of due to the baby boomer experience in Vietnam and the more recent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, which were more about political face saving.
Many seem to forget about what could be considered humanitarian wars. As the Blue Berets have been engaged in since Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson originated the idea of Peacekeeping to resolve the Suez Crisis in 1956. *The First Iraq War, Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1991, more recent examples. An international effort, largely involving aircraft, with minimal civilian casualties and concluding in less than a month, the first Gulf War stands as a prime example of a war well-waged.
Going back a bit further, but not too far, the illegal invasion of the Falkland Island by the military Junta in Argentina is another example of political crimes incurring military response. For those who don’t know, the Falkland Islands, while geographically off the coast of South America, have been part of Britain for 180 years. The population speaking English and identifying with queen and country. What is more, 98 percent of Falkland Islanders voted to remain part of Britain in a referendum held in 2013. It was only proper then, that the British military, the Navy and Air Force in particular, should come to their aid, driving out the invading forces, and restoring order to the islands. An act of war leading to peace, and saving lives in the process.
To address the elephant in the room, such logic could also be applied to Biden’s bottling (to give up, back out) of the Afghan situation. While it is debatable whether the U.S. should have ever gone into Afghanistan, this is what happened, with both costs and benefits. One of the main benefits being an effective opposition to the Taliban, albeit only twenty years. Creating a generally positive situation in the country, particularly for Afghan women and girls. With the return of the Taliban, Afghanistan effectively becomes an Islamic Theocracy. Goodbye any western freedoms.
My assessment is a harsh one. That is, if the U.S. government is going to be involved with humanitarian military campaigns, they should at least have the wherewithal to see it to the end. Twenty years, a mere tablespoon in time, does not seem enough time to save the people of Afghanistan, but I guess that is the point. It is now time for the people of Afghanistan to save themselves and any democracy they may have grown fond of. Pacifism would be nice in an ideal world, sadly we don’t live in one.
*The first Iraq War consisted of two phases. The first was codenamed Operation Desert Shield (2 August 1990 – 17 January 1991) for operations leading to the buildup of troops and defense of Saudi Arabia. And the second was Operation Desert Storm (17 January 1991 – 28 February 1991) was the combat phase.