There’s nothing just about wars on terror By GABRIEL DOLAN | Saturday, November 12 2011 at 18:05
Why are so many obsessed with the notion of a just war? I have never supported the just war doctrine as presented by the mediaeval theologian, Thomas Aquinas.
There is nothing just about war and it can never be honourable or decent even as the world marks Remembrance Sunday with prayers and poppies.
The Americans and Nato justified the 9/11 wars and the Libyan air strikes, claiming they succeeded in ridding the world of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi, but at what price?
A quarter of a million people died in these so-called “wars on terror”, with several million more injured or displaced. The whole region is still unstable while Western society is not any more secure than a decade ago.
Barack Obama has promised to have the last American soldier home from Iraq for Christmas, but the Iraq war alone cost the US a trillion dollars.
Military spending in the US in 2009 was still $660 billion or 58 per cent of the discretionary budget. Is it any wonder that the superpower is facing a gigantic recession?
Duty to protect
There is nothing just or glorious about war. Just look at the final pictures of Gaddafi and be reminded how cruel, pathetic, shameful and ugly war really is.
Aquinas may have taught that war was a last resort but resorting to war disgraces our humanity, giving licence to our most base instincts to plunder and kill.
Our God given gift of intelligence was surely intended for creativity, not annihilation! Yet here we are in Kenya getting jingoistic and chest thumping about our own little war on terror.
Yes, Kenya has a duty to protect its land and people but where is this invasion of Somalia headed?
Can it be justified because of a few threats to tourists? Whose agenda is this war anyhow or have we become just pawns in another Nato scheme to bring “stability” to the Horn of Africa?
You almost sense that some politicians want to fight a war to prove that Kenya is a mature, independent nation!
Whatever the threats from Al-Shabaab, there is little doubt that they must relish a brawl with their powerfully equipped neighbours.
Vessels of propaganda
Terrorist groups thrive on propaganda, misery and ignorance and capitalise on the blunders of their opponents.
Deaths of civilians resulting from missed targets or inaccurate information will just lead to more recruits.
Down the line, the propagandists will portray the conflict as a religious war and you can almost anticipate a call to revisit and recapture the Northern Frontier District.
I am not being alarmist but extremely cautious, knowing how well intentioned ventures can become long term nightmares, where no one remembers what the initial conflict was actually about.
Just look at the Eritrea-Ethiopia war to remind us how things can go awry. Of all the global conflicts in the last half century, only 7 per cent have ended due to military force.
The vast majority were resolved through good policing and intelligence, mixed with politics and dialogue.
We need to ponder that fact before planning our next moves. War is an option Kenya should not have considered.
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