Friday, March 04, 2005

More Proof That Carl is Right

When you have Victor Davis Hanson on your side, odds are that you are right. Re-read Carl's essay about "No War". Then read the following exchange in a debate (credit goes to The Belmont Club for the post):

Hanson Versus Edsforth
Victor Davis Hanson recently debated Dartmouth History Professor Ronald Edsforth on the subject of whether the war in Iraq or any war, for that matter, could ever be justified. (Hat tip: DL)
By attacking Iraq, Edsforth said, the United States had usurped the authority of the United Nations, in which the world community can take action to promote the common good. Since treaties like those that established the U.N. are held in the United States to be “the supreme law of the land,” he said, the American government has effectively abrogated its own Constitution. He noted, for example, that a White House lawyer drafted guidelines regarding torture, even though the U.S. is party to the Geneva Conventions. ...
“War is terrible,” Hanson agreed. But in a rebuttal, he said the United Nations has historically not intervened for the common good, even against the worst abuses. The U.N., much of which he said is “populated by thugs and brigands” like Syria, Iran, Sudan, and Cuba, failed to act against the Rwandan genocide of 1994, against the Serbian slaughter of Kosovars in 1998, or even against the ongoing genocide in Darfur—which only the United States has declared a humanitarian crisis. “Innocent women and children died waiting” for the United Nations to help them, he said. ...
Edsforth proposed that the human race has learned the dangers of war, especially after the blood-soaked twentieth century. “Evolution [of human behavior] is a fact,” he said. “It didn’t stop back in ancient times… We are capable of learning as humans and changing our environment in such a way that that which we abhor is less and less likely.” Indeed, he suggested that American foreign policy has over the past several decades been a reactionary effort to “turn back the clock” to the systems of the past. “We should lead the world in creating this new environment,” he said, “and not stand as a roadblock before its creation.” ...
Hanson, though, maintained that the human race has not changed significantly in the past several thousand years. “Human nature is set,” he said—it was “primordial, reptilian,” adding that man is always “governed by pride and fear and envy.” He cited Thucydides, who wrote that his works would remain valid through the ages precisely because human nature is unchanging. “We have not reached the end of history.”

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