Questioning the application of violence

By Cory Gross

Editor, the Gauntlet,

Re: "A case for the defense," Oct. 16, 2003,

While Majumdar speaks eloquently to the need to defend freedom and democracy through superior application of violence, questions must be raised about the assumptions underlying this argument. Since World War II was admitted as an example, it may continue to prove illustrative.

Contrary to being principled fighters for freedom and democracy, Canadian troops entered the European theatre as subjects of the king, defending the empire from the upstart "Huns." Neither the British Empire nor their wartimes allies–Stalinist Russia–are generally regarded as bastions of the values Majumdar speaks of.

One must also account for Allied war crimes like the atomic bombings of Japan, the firebombing of Dresden and the Soviet occupation of east Germany, exacting a civilian death toll comparable to the Holocaust. If Mackenzie King’s statement to the effect that one Jewish refugee is too many is any indication, the evil of the Holocaust was not a motivating factor for Canadian intervention.

How much worse Majumdar’s case would become if we dissected the West’s history of empowering terrorists and dictators when it suits them to do so.

What this helps demonstrate is that warfare is little more than the unprincipled confrontation between one arbitrary way of life and another. Regardless of whose name this is done in–Allah, Britannia or Lady Liberty–if violence is used, they reach a state of moral equivalency. Neither side appears to be in the right to those who have rejected the credo "there are evil people in the world that we have to kill because we’re good and they want to take our stuff."

Leave a comment