Re: Is the Hubbert curve a factor in the Bush Administrations rush to

From: Robert Schneider (
Date: Mon Feb 24 2003 - 17:02:29 EST

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    George writes, regarding the issue of war with Iraq:

        "The arguments in favor of war are certainly debatable and I don't think
    that it's wise at the present time, but I don't find this demonization of
    those who take
    another stance helpful."

        I agree with George on both points. I want to get to the connection
    between science and faith on this issue below, but first I should like to
    address a point that has been raised on a couple of discussion lists I'm on:
    the comparison of the present situation vis-a-vis Iraq with Nazi Germany. I
    don't think the analogy can be carried far. Saddam has been bloodied in two
    wars, Iraq has been subjected to 11 years of embargo and bombings in the
    no-fly zone, previous inspections following by an intense bombing campaign
    in 1998 that further weakened the Iraqi Army devastated by Gulf War I. The
    infrastructure of the country is badly damaged, including the oil
    infrastructure, as Glenn pointed out. There are the present inspections,
    much tougher, and resolution. Despite what some critics are saying, I don't
    agree that the UN is behaving like the League of Nations. The issue before
    the UN and the American public, in my view, is this: is war the only
    alternative, or is a reinforced inspection system backed up by the threat of
    force sufficient to ensure that Iraqi WMD (assuming there are such, which I
    think is likely, at least for B/C weapons) will be found and dismantled. To
    vote for the latter is not an act of "appeasement" in the sense that word
    came to mean after Munich; it may well be an act of wisdom given other
    possible (and terrible) consequences an invasion may have not only for the
    Iraqi people but for the entire region. In particular, what would the
    consequences be if the US coalition were to launch a "preventive war"? What
    if other nuclear powers should adopt that doctrine in the future. Could the
    US and Britain say no?

        I seriously considered pacifism as a principled position during Vietnam,
    but concluded that I could not. There were situations where I would feel
    compelled to take up arms, and WW II was one of them. Yet as a student of
    warfare, I have become convinced that war is an evil and that most wars are
    not "necessary evils." Reading the summary of what WW II cost humankind and
    the planet at the end of John Keegan's history of WW II left me depressed
    and deeply saddened. And however just that war was, hardly anyone came out
    of it innocent except the victims of the Holocaust (both Jew and non-Jew)
    and civilians killed in the fighting (of which there were millions). I
    think anyone who fights in combat or supports directly warfare sooner or
    later needs to do penance.

        Now to the science end. The technology of warfare has developed
    enormously in the past century and especially the recent past, thanks to the
    computer chip, but also thanks to the enhanced development of WMD. Applied
    science has simultaneously made possible precision-guided weapons that can
    devastate a small area and reduce casulties, and weapons that can devastate
    an enormous area and cause enormous loss of both human and non-human life.
    I think the theological and philosophical arguments regarding warfare now
    must be framed in this context, as they once were in the Cold War (hardly
    "cold" when you think of all the "proxy wars" fought then). Those of us who
    grew up with its MAD (mutual assured destruction) philosophy were heartened
    by the fall of soviet communism, but if anything the proliferation of
    nuclear weapons has become an even more frightening and dangerous situation,
    as has the proliferation of biological and chemical weapons. I thought that
    in his note on the aspects of "just war" theory, George made an important
    addendum to "jus in bello" when he brought in the environment. The
    possibility of destroying life on this planet through an atomic holocaust
    has been expanded by widespread devastation by B/C weapons.

        All this is to say that I think the present situation in the Middle East
    and Asia (e.g., North Korea) is incredibly dangerous, and calls for
    something much more deliberate and nuanced than the Bush Doctrine.

    Bob Schneider

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