We say of war that it is the "last resort" because of the unpredictable, unexpected, unintended, and unavoidable horrors that it regularly brings. In fact, war isn't the last resort, for "lastness" is a metaphysical condition, which is never actually reached in real life: it is always possible to do something else, or to do it again, before doing whatever it is that comes last. The notion of lastness is cautionary— but this is a necessary caution: look hard for alternatives before you "let loose the dogs of war."
Right now, even at this last minute, there still are alternatives, and that is the best argument against going to war.
Wednesday, February 26, 2003
Powerful essay against war, by Michael Walzer
In the March 13 issue of NY Review of Books now online, there are points to convince the unconvinced. I am a subscriber--I don't know if my link will take you there, but here is the part that I like best: