Friday, October 22, 2010

More documents from WikiLeaks

The Times described and quoted from more documents released by WikiLeaks about the fighting in Iraq. Here is link.

As usual it is the civilian population which pays the greatest price in a war. This has been the case throughout recorded history as the ubiquity of the hymn text "Dona nobis pacem" bears witness. The great lesson is that war is almost always bad, and those who advocate it usually lie. In America those who oppose war are suspect and the burden of proof somehow rests on them -- exactly the opposite of what should be the case. It is very likely that had actual votes been taken -- either here or abroad -- the large majority of people polled would have opposed intervention in the most recent wars.l Because of this, Americans (and others) are not allowed to vote on wars. Our Constitution requires a declaration of war by the Senate, but that hasn't happened since WWII (after Pearl Harbor).

I think it is safe to say that, except for WWII, there has not been anything close to a morally justifiable war that the U.S. has fought -- since the Civil War. I am not a pacifist, but my standard reaction to calls for deployment of U.S. troops is "NO: you are lying." This reaction has been the correct one during my lifetime...

(During the Vietnam War the military published "body counts" which recorded the number of "Viet Cong" killed. In the recent wars in Iraq and Iran they're called "insurgents." How do they know that the bodies that are retrieved fit these descriptions? Do they find ID cards that say "Communist" or "Insurgent"? Who checks on the accuracy of these designations? In other words, how do we know that they weren't and aren't lying? In fact, all evidence suggests that these counts were and are mostly lies -- or, to be charitable, pretty inaccurate.)

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