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Contentions

Virtu, Indeed

Andrew Sullivan waxes . . . something on non-violence:

It is not the dream of some neconservatives, for whom war is the only state of being that brings out public virtu. And constant war to advance what is seen as the good – and stiffen domestic sinews – is something devoutly to be wished. Cheney is a conservative of this stripe. Eisenhower was the opposite. McCain is a warrior; Ron Paul is a conservative of non-violence. At some deep philosophical level, this is the dividing line between Oakeshott and Strauss, as well. (And one has to ponder how Zionism may have contributed to this divide.)

I stand with Oakeshott and Eisenhower. Somehow, we have to recover the prudent, non-pacifist conservatism of non-violence and freedom. If not in America, where?

And what was Zionism’s contribution when this conservative of non-violence proclaimed this:

We are at war. And we are not at war with any old regime or even a handful of terrorists. We are at war with an evil that will only grow unless it is opposed with all the might at our command. We must wage that war with a ferocity that doesn’t merely scare these monsters but terrifies them. Merely murdering bin Laden is a laughable response. If this new war can be waged with partners – specifically Russia, NATO, China – so much the better. But if not, the United States must act alone – and as soon as we can be assured of complete success. There are times when it is not inappropriate or even immoral to use overwhelming power merely to terrify and avenge. Read your Machiavelli. We must shock them more than they have shocked us. We must do so with a force not yet seen in human history. Then we can begin to build a future of greater deterrence. I repeat: we are not responding to terrorism any more. We are at war. And war requires no restraint, simply massive and unanswerable force until the enemy is not simply defeated but unconditionally destroyed.

Or this:

The response must be disproportionate to the crime and must hold those states and governments that have tolerated this evil accountable. . . . They must be destroyed – systematically, durably, irrevocably. Perhaps now we will summon the will to do it.

Seems he couldn’t find his copy of Oakeshott that day. I particularly like the part about the necessity of a disproportionate response.



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