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Might for Right: The Moral Justification for War
by John David Powell
4 April 2003

Only in the latter years of the twentieth century has the world witnessed the international implementation of Camelot's chivalric code: Might for Right.

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Acquisition, whether for land or resources, is the reason for wars throughout recorded history. Wars of liberation are recent phenomena, led and waged by the USA. Some see the Crusades as wars to liberate the Holy Land from Islam, but history shows the Europeans waged the Crusades to provide realms for the younger sons of kings.

The USA did not enter The Great War until near its end, and then only after public outcry over Germany's self-described "ruthless" submarine warfare and its ill-proposed attempt to give Texas, New Mexico and Arizona to Mexico in return for an alliance against the United States.
The same was true for our participation in World War II. The incarceration and murder of millions of Jews, homosexuals, and gypsies were insufficient reasons to raise our war banners. The German invasion and conquest of nations did not cause us to send armies of liberation. The Japanese atrocities committed in their unbridled march across Asia did not lift up voices on behalf of humanity. It took the attack on Pearl Harbor to mobilize public opinion for war.

Only in the latter years of the twentieth century has the world witnessed the international implementation of Camelot's chivalric code: Might for Right. And some may argue that the USA's right to use might comes with being the neighborhood's biggest kid with the biggest toys.

This might for right is selective, however. We liberated Kuwait from Iraq, who we befriended when it invaded Iran. We used our bombs to help Muslim thugs, drug traffickers and terrorists overthrow the government of Serbia. We helped the Taliban and Osama bin Laden defeat the Russians in Afghanistan, then invaded Afghanistan to kick out the Taliban for associating with bin Laden. We watched and did nothing about ethnic cleansing in Indonesia, carnage in Sierra Leon, the butchering of one million Tutsis in Rwanda and the enslavement of Christian women and children in Sudan.

Voices raised in whiny opposition to this war speak of the murder of innocent civilians in the quest of Big Oil to open new fields of fossil fuels in the exploitation of one country for the enrichment of a few presidential family members and cronies. Protesters chant no verses and carry no signs regarding the torture, humiliation and murder of innocent civilians in the quest of a psychopathic despot to maintain a death grip on his people in the exploitation of his country for the enrichment of a few family members and cronies.

A friend sent an email this week in which he expressed his uncertainty about his opposition to the war. He described his stance as closer to fence straddling while leaning toward opposition. He strongly believes we will pay a negative price regarding homeland security in the years to come; but, increasingly the question of moral duty surmounts any negative consequences he foresees.

My friend is not alone in his internal confusion. Our nation has divisive doubt not reflected in the 70-percent support rate found in opinion polls.

Operation Iraqi Freedom has caused some groups and individuals, such as my friend, to re-examine why they espouse a particular political ideology. We find Democrats supporting the president and Republicans opposing the war. We find 1960s-era liberals supporting military might for right. Our old friends have become our new foes, and we have become the new enemy of our enemy's new friends.

This national debate has acquired a shrill tone. If a person speaks out against the war or the Administration's policy, someone else labels that person a traitor and looks for duct tape to seal seditious lips. Another person advocating the use of might for humanitarian reasons and liberty gets labeled a child-killer or a right-wing dupe and administration lackey.

Coalition troops battle for Baghdad, fighting a real enemy that responds with real bullets, while political snipers back home wage an absurd debate over the right to debate. A few weeks back, Natalie Maines, the lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, told a London audience that the Chicks are ashamed President Bush is from their home state of Texas. Former vice president Al Gore recently told a college audience that the singers "were made to feel un-American and risked economic retaliation," because of their statement. Gore called reaction to their stance a hit on democracy. "Our best protection is free and open debate, he said.

Gore missed the point. He would have us believe a free and open debate does not include opposing points of view. In this instance, Maines & Chicks freely expressed an opinion of the President, while radio stations and listeners freely expressed an opinion of their opinion. All of this free expression of opinions sounds an awful lot like debate.

And that reminds me of a sign down at Sparky's Diner: When there's nothing left to debate, debate the debate.

Published originally at; republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.

John David Powell is an award-winning writer and Internet columnist, professional speechwriter, and contributor to the Christian Millennium History Project. He is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.

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