I don't think that's fair. I acknowledge that war has a very real, and very terrible cost, but it also has a place in history as one of the prime movers of progress. Don't get me wrong, many wars and battles were fought for the wrong reasons. But America declared war on Japan to prevent the loss of human life. America and Europe declared war on Germany (twice) to stop a dictator and his regime from harming masses of innocent people. America's very existence is owed to successfully winning a war.
I haven't really felt strongly about the attacks in Mumbai until last night when I was listening to Michael Savage's barely sane rant about the "sub-human, sub-moron" Islamists who perpetrated the attacks there. While going off about whatever it is that seems to stream into his angry, hateful mind, he did make one good point: it is demoralizing to watch the Defense budget of this country be spent on weapons we never use. Our military bases are chock full of fighter planes, stealth bombers, and missile defense platforms that are rusting from inaction. Our ground infantry has become a police force. Meanwhile, Taliban and tribal groups train in the backwoods of Pakistan so they can effectively torture and kill Jews and Christians in India. Why aren't we turning Pakistan's tribal region into a parking lot?
It is because Judeo-Christians consider diplomacy somehow superior to violent, quick action. We have indoctrinated in ourselves the believe we are better if we have peaceful talks with our violent enemies, and develop long term strategies to unite in brotherhood, like we are doing them a favor or something. We don't lower ourselves to their level of thinking, because obviously non-violence is somehow more logical and therefore superior to violent retribution for violence.
What we don't acknowledge (or refuse to admit) is that our belief that talking is better than acting is not shared by all humans and probably never will. Like I mention often, humans have an evolutionary propensity for violence towards other species and towards our own species. Perhaps Western culture has moved to a point where diplomacy and
I hinted at this yesterday during my post about killing Neandertals, but I should expound it now: we humans are natural born killers. A dream of a peaceful planet is very nice, and I share that dream with anyone who has it. But until our entire planet is a homogenous society with shared goals and shared beliefs, there will always be conflicts and with conflicts there will always be the threat of violence. Maybe Western culture has taught us that violence should only be defensively used to stop offensive violence, but once again, Western culture does not encompass all peoples.
One of the fundamental tenets of Christianity is that if you suffer here on earth, the kingdom of Heaven is going to be awesome for you. "Sell your belongings," Jesus says, "and follow me."
Why is it so hard to imagine that radical Islam is teaching the same thing? If you are a poor, radical Muslim in the back country of Pakistan, all things being equal, the argument that martyrdom will give you wealth in the afterlife should be just as compelling as Christianity's parallel promise to the oppressed. Non-Violent Christianity, it seems to me, is a rather new idea.
So you've got these Muslims who don't give a rat's ass about human life, because they genuinely want to die. They want to kill as many Christians and Jews as they can and then get themselves killed. Honestly, how can you expect to bargain with that? How can you possibly offer them something better? And are you being a good Christian by doing so? Would you offer a Christian monetary gifts or promises of a better life, if that Christian promised to turn their back on their faith?
The appeal of radical Islam is that it makes all the promises of Christianity without compromising a man's sense of pride. If you were told "you can go to Heaven with your head held high, your knuckles bloody, your gun in your hand and be received there as a hero, or you can go to Heaven humbled to the core and realizing you are nothing when it compares to Jesus and you can sit at his feet like a sheep in his flock" most men would absolutely choose the Islamic martyrdom over the Christian redemption.
I guess the logic of Islamic martyrdom is so obvious to me that I can't imagine a way to convince them that their death is a bad plan. I can't imagine a single thing I could say to them or teach them (other than that Islam = fail) that would get them to change their behavior. Because of this, I have to advocate a violent solution to this problem. Deep down, their military actions and tactics are incredibly inept in comparison to the American military machine. We could probably wage war on them using unmanned aeriel vehicles and air strikes and they'd never see an American face during the entire engagement. We could give them the glorious death they wanted and move on, with few American casualties.
But my manly, violent, easy way out isn't the Christian way. Or is it?