Things That Make You Go “Hmm….”
On the way in to work this morning, I was behind a car that had a standard 8.5×11″ piece of paper taped up in the hatchback window. Printed on it was a quotation, apparently printed on an ink-jet or laser printer in a bold, legible font:
“Nothing Enduring is Built on Violence” – Gandhi
Well, isn’t that profound. But what was the point?
Of course, my first thought was “This person is a
Bushwar protester” – as in “The use of violence to oust Saddam will result in nothing good.” But then I thought about it a bit more. Saddam came to power violently, and maintained his rule violently. And he did not endure.
But it took violence to oust him.
What we’re trying to do in Iraq now is non-violent – the reconstruction of a nation and the establishment of representative government.
Gandhi said some other things, too, one of which was:
“Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest.”
Gandhi had a lot to say about the use of violence, but what it seems to boil down to is that initiating violence is evil, responding to it is not. The difference between those who oppose and those who support the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq is the understanding that those invasions were a response to, not an initiation of violence.
This is why I find the liberal desire for the U.S. to intervene militarily in Liberia so hypocritical. They expect us to go in there and bang heads in order to stabilize the country, but they object to our military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. It’s use of violence in all three cases. The only difference is that Liberia has essentially zero U.S. national security implications. The same cannot be said about Iraq nor Afghanistan.
The funny thing is, the use of non-violent protest in the mode of Gandhi would probably be effective in Liberia – assuming you could get the international press to pay much attention. The use of non-violent protest in Iraq and Afghanistan would only have resulted in a lot more mass graves.
Often non-violence doesn’t work.
Ask the victims of Tiananmen Square.