Friday, April 4, 2008

Was WW II the 'Good War' or not?

Belgian refugees circa 1940

I'm not sure what Pat Buchanan's motive is in writing this piece (apart from promoting a similarly themed book of his own), but he makes some good points.
"...There are things worth fighting for: God and country, family and freedom. Martyrs have ever inspired men. And to some evils pacifism is no answer. Resistance, even unto death, may be required of a man.

But when one declares a war that produced Hiroshima and the Holocaust a "Good War," it raises a question: good for whom?"
I'm not sure I buy Red China as a consequence of WWII, but Buchanan's litany of tragedy for the rest of world (the U.S. notwithstanding, which clearly benefited) is hard to deny.
"And how good a war was it for the British?

They went to war for Poland, but Winston Churchill abandoned Poland to Stalin. Defeated in Norway, France, Greece, Crete and the western desert, they endured until America came in and joined in the liberation of Western Europe.

Yet, at war's end in 1945, Britain was bled and bankrupt, and the great cause of Churchill's life, preserving his beloved empire, was lost. Because of the "Good War" Britain would never be great again."
That's true. Britain became a nanny state as a direct consequence of the shattering it endured during the war. The government was left to pick of the pieces. It did in a big way and never let go.

Of course Buchanan, like a milder version of Ron Paul, has always been for avoiding foreign wars. It's a position clearly in line with the sentiment of the Founders, and one I've gone back and forth on in my own mind over the years.

What we're fighting for in Iraq is noble, but is it worth the billions we're spending? We can't leave now, but in the end, I just don't know the larger answer.

Personally, I still maintain we should have destroyed Saddam and pulled out again, with the promise that we would return to annihilate whatever arose in his place should it pose a similar threat. (In other words, I'm OK with war, but it strikes me that to "rebuild" is to make the case for socialism, which particularly sucks when our money is being spent by the C-130 load on people who may or may not appreciate it in the end.)

Then again, Buchanan doesn't offer a better alternative after Pearl Harbor was attacked -- and by extension 9/11 in 2001. At least not in this piece. No doubt that will be in his book, which I'll approach with an open mind for now at least.

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