Monday, June 14, 2004

The US response to things such as this make the high moral claims of Washington and the West in general seem sickeningly hollow and hypocritical to much of the rest of the world. If we really want to make the world a better place, why not clean up our own mess after us? I wonder how this would have been viewed if Saddam Hussein had done it, rather than the US. The West in general seems to have been very good at double standards on such issues. I may not be a pacifist, but I find a lot of the arguments and claims of pacifist authors like Stanley Hauerwas quite powerful. In his book Resident Aliens Hauerwas writes:—
The American church had come a long way to stand beside Harry Truman in 1945. Just a few years earlier, in 1937, when Franco's forces bombed the Spanish town of Guernica, killing many civilians, the civilized world was shocked. That same year, when the Japanese bombed the city of Nanking, the world felt it was now dealing with particularly insidious forces which had little intention of obeying historical prohibitions against killing civilians. President Roosevelt issued an urgent appeal to all governments, at the beginning of World War II, saying, "The bombing of helpless and unprotected civilians is a strategy which has aroused the horror of all mankind. I recall with pride that the United States consistently has taken the lead in urging that this inhuman practice be prohibited."
Somehow the people who gave us Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki are war heroes, rather than criminals. I may be stupid, but I can't see it. I can't see any reason to blame the rest of the world for not trusting the US and the UK, given our track record. Until we have the stomach to publicly condemn revered leaders like Winston Churchill for their disregard for just war theory, how can we expect to have a claim to any form of high moral ground?

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