1 readers online now  |  69 million page views

A problem

Reader comment on item: War as Social Work?

Submitted by David Isecke (United States), May 14, 2003 at 17:48

Dear Dr. Pipes,

This is one of the few times I must respectfully disagree with an article of yours.

I strongly believe that 'social work', or humanitarian war, is moral and ultimately strategically beneficial to us. To see why it is moral, consider the cases of both World Wars, and most of our wars since. In all of these cases, there were stong isolationist elements at home, which correctly stated that there was no credible threat of a foreign invasion of our soil. Indeed, even in WWII, the Axis powers did little more to us than a few attacks on shipping lines and an attack on a relatively minor naval base on land that was not actually part of the territorial US yet. These were threats, but the magnitude of response required, both in lives lost and treasure spent, was orders of magnitude higher than could have been justified by the actual threat to us at the time. However, if we did not get involved, one shudders to think of what the state of the world might be today for untold billions of people. Others have already pointed out some of the nations and peoples who have been saved. The morality of this speaks for itself.

On a strategic level, I think it is important for people to realize that globalism cannot be fought; it's here now. The humanitarian crisis spots of today are the security crisis spots of tomorrow. The countries we have liberated are the very same ones from whom we have nothing to fear (French venility nonwithstanding). Furthermore, due to the very nature of international trade, the prosperity of one country is not really a threat to another; it is a boon. That we are trading partners with Singapore, Canada, Britian, and South Korea (just to name a few) is a boon to the economies of all involved. Over the long haul, real world prosperity grows cooperatively. Vile dictatorships are wretched at adding to it, and in fact, sometimes subtract from total world wealth by adding security concerns.

One clear example: The Korean war could not have been justified in terms of our security interests at the time. Yet, if that war had not taken place, our dear friend Kim would now control the entire Korean peninsula, and probably would be an even greater threat than he is today. This is, of course, besides the millions of South Koreans whose lives and prosperity they literally owe us.

It is for this reason that I also disagreed with your idea of installing a strongman in Iraq. Understandable, perhaps, in reducing the impression that we are an occupying force. However, those who are determined to see the US as evil will see the new government we install there as a US pawn. The world press will surely place every one of this strongmans' questionable actions at our doorstep. Remember, when we supported Saddam against Iran, it was the same princople: support a strongman who seems like less of a problem against a known threat.

Putting Iraq prematurely in non-US controlled hands seems to risk creating a future crisis that we could have avoided. If we want a say on how the world will look to the next generation of Americans, even on a purely national-interest and threat containment level, nation-building has to stop being a dirty word.

Finally, I'm sure you didn't intend it this way, but what if Hitler had not started WWII with the invasion of Poland, and contented himself with just gassing Jews from Germany, Austria, and part of Chechoslovakia? Remember, it would not have been in anyone's security interest to intervene. Would such 'social work' be justified?
Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to A problem by David Isecke

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2021 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)