March 23, 2007
We will do nothing, because cowardice is virtuous
Is this country at war?
Unfortunately, I'm afraid I agree with Daily Pundit's David Gillies who said "We will do nothing":
That is an act of war. And what will we do about it? Nothing. They could hang these men on live TV (let's hope they don't) and still we would do little except bluster ineffectually.AJ Strata sees the inability to do anything as political:
....now it is clear to everyone Iran's beligerence is dangerous and out of control. What concerns me is why do this unless you had something in your hip pocket and you were going to play some poker. Why do this kind of escalation? And what will our Democrats do - say the West cannot confront Iran? Talk about bad timing. We are heading into some seriously perilous times right now.And Glenn Reynolds points out that while a naval blockade would be the traditional response, "I doubt we'll see that."
Whether the U.S. will do anything is closely tied to whether we can do anything. In the purely military sense, there's little question that the U.S. could blockade -- or for that matter, defeat militarily -- Iran. But with the balance of power in Congress being the way it is now, it may be politically impossible.
I think there's a larger issue involving the classical virtues -- especially the ancient philosophy of Stoicism, which involves what we often think of military or martial virtues, but which does not arise out of nowhere. To the extent that this country was once steeped in the ancient virtues, it no longer is. I think they may have fallen victim to Vietnam anti-war era thinking, combined with a post modernism process I have referred to as throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but that's a hugely complex topic. Factor in the loss or decay of classical virtues, and it would fill a book.
This loss of ancient virtues is explored in a marvelous post by James McCormick
....I do not see American soldiers becoming "citizens of the world" in a world which now widely resents them for their particular brand of modernity.It is this balance between individual suffering and national success which was the real loss of the Vietnam War, because (at least in my opinion) it was during that period that angry, dishonest, self-serving and cowardly "pacifism" (virtuous in neither the Greco-Roman nor Judeo Christian sense) came to be seen as virtuous. The reasons for this are complicated, and I've written several posts on the subject, but in brief, I think that because of a political mistake aggravated by bureaucracy, the young men who in normal times could have been expected to form an officer core were, though the draft deferment system, transformed into a malignantly dishonest force which is now one of the most powerful political forces in the country. A single bureaucratic loophole (draft deferments) was, by operation of human nature (young men naturally don't like admitting they fear war) transformed into a monster, made ever worse by lifetimes of denial.
The country hasn't been the same since.
UPDATE: My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for linking this post.
posted by Eric on 03.23.07 at 12:10 PM
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