The Abolition of Slavery: The Right of the Government Under the War Power (Dodo Press)

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No one proposed to eliminate aggressive or unjust dueling while keeping defensive or humanitarian dueling in place. The same can be said of blood feuds and slavery. These practices were rejected as a whole, not modified or civilized.

Anarchism: Arguments for and against

Dueling has not remained legal and acceptable for particular personages. Dueling, in the countries that formerly engaged in it, is understood to be a destructive, backward, primitive, and ignorant way for individuals to try to settle their disputes. Whatever insult someone may hurl at you is almost certain to be milder—as we view things today—than an accusation of being so stupid and vicious as to participate in duels. Does the occasional duel still happen? Probably, but so does the occasional or not so occasional murder, rape, and theft.

No one is proposing to legalize those, and nobody is proposing to bring back dueling. We generally try to teach our children to settle their disputes with words, not fists or weapons. At some level most of us understand that even the person who might have been victorious in a duel but who loses in a court ruling is still better off.

International Duels: Spain, Afghanistan, Iraq. What if war is as bad a way to settle international disputes as dueling is to settle interpersonal disputes? The similarities are perhaps sharper than we care to imagine.

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Duels were contests between pairs of men who had decided that their disagreements could not be settled by speaking. Of course, we know better. They could have resolved matters by speaking, but chose not to. No one was obliged to fight a duel because someone he was arguing with was irrational.

Anyone who chose to fight a duel wanted to fight a duel, and was himself—therefore—impossible for the other person to talk to.

We ought to know better. Nations could resolve their disputes by speaking, but choose not to. No nation is obliged to fight a war because another nation is irrational. Any nation that chooses to fight a war wanted to fight a war, and was itself—therefore—impossible for the other nation to talk to. This is the pattern we see in many U.

The good side our own side, of course in a war, we like to believe, has been compelled into it because the other side understands only violence. It would be nice if you could, but this is the real world, and in the real world certain nations are run by mythical monsters incapable of rational thought! We see war-making as driven by irrational desires and greed, war justifications as packages of lies. I actually wrote a book called War Is A Lie surveying the most common types of lies about wars. The theory that war is a last resort used against those who cannot be reasoned with does not hold up well.

Spain was willing to submit to the judgment of any neutral arbiter, after the United States accused the Spanish of blowing up a ship called the U. To make sense of our theory of war we have to place Spain in the role of rational actor and the United States in the role of lunatic. The United States was not run by and was not inhabited by lunatics.

Sometimes it can be hard to see in what way lunatics could do worse than our elected officials are doing, but the fact remains that Spain was not dealing with subhuman monsters, merely with Americans.

John Marshall - Wikipedia

And the United States was not dealing with subhuman monsters, merely with Spaniards. The matter could have been settled around a table, and one side even made that proposal. The fact is that the United States wanted war, and there was nothing the Spanish could say to prevent it. The United States chose war, just as a dueler chose to duel.

Examples spring to mind from more recent history too, not just from centuries gone by. The United States, for three years prior to September 11, , had been asking the Taliban to turn over Osama bin Laden. The Taliban had asked for evidence of his guilt of any crimes and a commitment to try him in a neutral third country without the death penalty. This continued right into October, They seem like the demands of someone with whom negotiations might be continued.

He said it was doubtful that surrendering bin Laden would change those plans. When the United States attacked Afghanistan on October 7, , the Taliban asked again to negotiate handing over bin Laden to a third country to be tried. See Foreign Policy Journal, September 20, Perhaps there were other reasons to keep the war going for a dozen years, but clearly the reason to begin it was not that no other means of resolving the dispute were available.

Clearly the United States wanted war.

The First Colonisers

Why would someone want war? Invading Afghanistan had little or nothing to do with bin Laden or a government that had helped bin Laden. Rather, U. The United States wanted war.

What Was Britain's Role In The Slave Trade? (Slavery Documentary) - Timeline

See Scientific American, September 14, That state of affairs cannot be indefinitely continued through diplomacy. Air Force F There are also paths toward sustainable energies and local economies that lead away from wars of greed without leading to suffering or impoverishment.


The point here is that war does not deserve to be considered more respectable than dueling. Was war inevitable from the point of view of Afghans, who found the United States uninterested in negotiations? Certainly not. While violent resistance has failed to end the war for over a decade, it is possible that nonviolent resistance would have been more successful. We can benefit, as those in centuries past could not, from the history of nonviolent resistance in the Arab Spring, in Eastern Europe, in South Africa, in India, in Central America, in successful efforts by Filipinos and Puerto Ricans to close U.

Lest this sound like I am just offering unwanted advice to Afghans while my government bombs them, I should point out that the same lesson can apply in my country as well. The U. Should that happen, the foreign power involved would likely be destroyed by U. But, were we to dismantle those weapons, we would not—contrary to popular opinion—be left defenseless.

We would be able to refuse our cooperation with the occupation. We could recruit fellow resisters from the invading nation and human shields from around the world. We could pursue justice through public opinion, courts, and sanctions targeted at the individuals responsible. The war on and occupation of Afghanistan, if we step back from it just a little, appears as barbaric as a duel. In fact war kills a lot more people than blood feuds.

Twelve years later, the U. The United Nations had refused to authorize an attack on Iraq, just as it had refused two years earlier with Afghanistan. Iraq was not threatening the United States.

  1. Across the Pond: An Englishmans View of America.
  2. Massachusetts Law Review.
  3. The Ritual Of Pearls.

The United States possessed and was preparing to use against Iraq all sorts of internationally condemned weaponry: white phosphorous, new kinds of napalm, cluster bombs, depleted uranium. Unfortunately for these plans, a process of international inspections had rid Iraq of such weapons years before and confirmed their absence. Inspections were underway, re-confirming the complete absence of such weapons, when the United States announced that the war would begin and the inspectors must leave. The war was needed, the U. However, according to a transcript of a meeting in February between President George W.

But the offer was not revealed to the U. We were told that diplomacy was impossible. Negotiation was impossible, we were told. Thus, there was no opportunity to make a counter offer of a half a billion dollars, for example. The weapons were there and could be used at any moment against us, they said.

War, regretfully, tragically, sorrowfully was the last resort, they told us. President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke at the White House on January 31, , claiming that war would be avoided if at all possible, just after a private meeting in which Bush had suggested flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in U. Rather than losing a billion dollars, the people of Iraq lost an estimated 1. The nation of Iraq was destroyed.


See DavidSwanson. The option existed of ending the economic sanctions and bombings and beginning to make reparations. Choosing not to support and empower Hussein had been an option earlier still. There is always an alternative to backing violence. This is true even from the Iraqi point of view.

Resistance to oppression can be nonviolent or violent.