Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Military Utopianism

Originally written following the "humanitarian" war in Kosovo, the same things apply, and will apply, to Afghanistan.

The idea that war can serve a humanitarian end, and the very concepts of "humanitarian war" and "humanitarian bombing" ...would seem outlandish not only in terms of traditional notions of humanitarianism, but also in the light of historical experience with war. Wars produce a cycle of violence and counter-violence that is hard to contain, and a great deal of cruelty, misery, and destruction. That war can be a useful means to humanitarian ends assumes a degree of control, knowledge, restraint, and nobility of Great Power objectives that we may call Military Utopianism ...The New Humanitarians have scanted discussion of postwar Kosovo, perhaps because it illustrates so well the coarsening and brutalizing effects of war..."

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