Appropriate Use of Force
Having spent a good portion of my adult life in Chicago, I was surrounded by friends and colleagues who disagreed vehemently on the appropriate use of military force, both in general and as applied to Iraq. James Schall does a pretty good job of summarizing my feelings:
"No talk of peace, justice, truth, or virtue is complete without a clear understanding that certain individuals, movements, and nations must be met with measured force, however much we might prefer to deal with them peacefully or pleasantly. Without force, many will not talk seriously at all, and some not even then. Human, moral, and economic problems are greater today for the lack of adequate military force or, more often, for the failure to use it when necessary. "
During the Presidential race, I repeatedly asked my friends who were Kerry supporters what his position was on the use of force in Iraq. I'm not sure I ever got a coherent answer. I also asked them for their own views, unfortunately most of them fared no better on their own position.
Where we end up calibrating this balance is the greatest challenge facing our war on terrorism. If we accept the pacifist view that we must not calibrate our use of force at all, but instead abandon it altogether, we will most certainly lose that war.