Monday, January 24, 2005

The Cold of Day; The Heat of War

By: Michael Akerman

It is cold.

The skies are blue, the sun is out, yet, still, it is cold.

The rays fight valiantly, but their is no victory: it is cold.

The winds whip about, the chill lances to the bone. It is cold; a cold like no other. This insidious chill sneaks into even the heating system. The dial says Max Heat, but the cold remains.

This is a cold that traps all: snares in its clutch with warm temptations of snow and ice. But this is no snow cold.

No, the cold from snow is an ally, a friend. The cold from snow does not bite, but dances, not into the bone, but across the skin. It is bracing without biting. It is chilling without killing.

For that is what this cold is. Even if no one and no thing dies, it is the death of feeling, of dedication. Sloth reigns, Queen to the chill's kingdom.

The forecasters claim warmth comes, but the sun is slain by this cold. Its rays seek the cold, certainly, Paladins of light to defeat the ice. But the cold seeks the corner. This Assassin chill hides in the shadows. It is the opportunist. Even as the sun plows ahead, one feels its presence, lurking in the dark, a chilling beast with eyes of flame in ice. It waits to act, and act it shall! It bides, as the sun seeks, testing the earth with gusts of wind until the sun is hid behind cloud or planet!

Then it comes, as it did today, with ferocity and veracity. I see it in the fountains, piled high with ice unquenchable. I see it in the trees, which shiver at the wind. Cars quiver when starting, fearful of the engulfing cold.

The chill embraces all things.

It is cold.

Preface: I actually posted this a few days ago, but it was via email, so it was somewhat error-ridden and didn't post until days after I sent it. So, I'm posting it again so that people can actually read it.

Some things are timeless. I've been reading Sun Tzu's The Art of War, which is a treatise, written about two-and-a-half millennia ago, that is still regarded as the authoritative military text.

A central tenet of Asian military philosophy is the conception that a war must be righteous, such that the gods will allow victory. Yoshida Shoin said,
To quell violence and disorder, to repulse barbarians and brigands, to rescue living souls from agony and torture, to save the nation from imminent downfall, these are the true ends of Humanity and Righteousness. If, on the contrary, arms are taken up in a selfish struggle to win land, goods, people, and the implements of war, is it not the worst of all evils, the most heinous of all offenses?

This samurai was right, of course, and echoes Sun Tzu. This philosophy is still applicable to modern day and, surely, should be applied liberally. However, modern times are hardly simple, and the Iraq war is something that falls into that gray area that calls its morality into question.

Democrats will point to this philosophy and cry "No blood for oil!" Republicans will point to the same and say "Protect us from Saddam Hussein!"

I think they're both wrong. I don't think the Iraq war was about oil. And I don't the Iraq war was right because of national security. For all that Bush justified it via WMDs, I think we should support it for the Iraqi people. We are not there to pillage lands, nor to save our country from imminent destruction. We are there to repulse the barbarians, to quell violence and disorder, and, most importantly, to free our fellow man from agony and torture.

Yes, the Iraq war was always righteous. It was, too, the right war at the wrong time, but only because it was far too late. Of the many opportunities presented Bush, Sr. and Clinton, there was a moral obligation to oust the regime that ran that country. "Justice too long delayed is justice denied," and I only hope we started in time.

I do know that we weren't so late that we missed the most crucial aspect: Uday and Qusay. Saddam's sons posed the biggest threat to Iraqi, and, indeed, international security, due to their ingrained lust for power and strong military connection. There is no doubt in my mind that the death of Saddam would have sparked an Iraqi civil war with far more bloodshed than our astoundingly easy war (any way you slice it, only about 1000 soldiers killed is absolutely a small number for a war), and may have been what Austria-Hungary and Serbia were to World War I.

We should all know that pulling out now would be ridiculous. It would be homicide of the highest order, effectively signing the death note of millions of Iraqis. But I fail to see how one claims the war was wrong in the first place.

By my hand,
~Michael Akerman