Thursday, August 17, 2006

Of War And Children

I hesitated to direct you to this, because it deals with an extremely difficult and emotional topic, but I believe it is a subject which needs to be explored and discussed, thoroughly and calmly. About a week ago, Grim, at Blackfive, posted a disconcerting exercise in logic, basically concluding that it is our love for all children that makes terrorists target ours, and use their own as shields. Thus, he says, ultimately it is we who endanger them, by making them valuable to the enemy, a tool to be wielded, and we must change the way we fight war, refusing to let the presence of children hinder our necessary decisions.

Here is another link, to a blog that rebuts this argument, basically by means of an emotional accusation. The real reason I include it is the comments. There are a few more thoughtful voices, but most react with the same emotionalism as that in the initial accusation, with name calling, and accusations of racism and desire for genocide. I must admit, when I read Grim's post I didn't see any indication of racism, or enjoyment of the conclusion he had drawn. I saw a sorrow about what the enemy has forced him to conclude--that our own love of children was putting them in danger, and that we need to pursue the war we must fight "without thought of the children," so that they "lose their value as hostages, and as targets." He is not saying we should target children the way the enemy does, but he is saying that we have to stop letting their presence deter necessary action.

That is really hard stuff. So, I'm looking to find out if there is a response to this piece other than complete agreement with Grim, or total emotional vitriol. I'd love to have you read the Blackfive post, and then answer a few questions. What I want to know is this, is the emotional content of the general topic--children in war--too potent to rationally address Grim's initial post and counter his argument with a logical rebuttal? Is there a logical rebuttal possible? If so, what is the logical refutation of Grim's position?-- not the emotional one we all want to have that just doesn't want him to be right, and thus refuses to believe it, but the rational one, that can calmly say, "Here's where you are wrong, and this is why the hard way you see as inevitable is unnecessary."

I have to admit, I see the logic in Grim's argument, and I have not personally been able to refute it. At the same time, anyone giving way completely to an undisciplined application of Grim's conclusions risks becoming the thing he is fighting. It is our value for life, our children's and theirs, that makes us different from the enemy. I don't believe a turning from all value of life is the thing he is espousing. In fact, I think it's quite the opposite, that his goal is ultimately to save as many as possible through an approach that takes fear as a weapon out of the hands of people who would use the death of children to make us capitulate to their dark world. What do you think? Is he right?

Hat tip: IMAO (for both links)