Steel humanitarians

By Michael Miller
web posted May 1999

During the Cold War, NATO was the military alliance without peer and without reproach. As a defensive alliance so powerful that it was never attacked, NATO achieved moral and military perfection. Alas, that NATO is no more.

Today's NATO is an aggressor; it started the war on Yugoslavia with a rain of bombs. If you doubt that bombing is an act of war, ask an American. Was the bombing of Pearl Harbor an act of war? Was Japan's guilt at Pearl Harbor mitigated or aggravated by its failure to declare its bombardment an act of war?

Defensive war is self-justifying, but the guilt of waging a war of aggression can at best be mitigated. What mitigation can NATO offer?

NATO's aggressive war is unmitigated by the slightest shred of defensive purpose. NATO does not even attempt to claim that its members were threatened by Yugoslavia.

NATO's aggressive war is unmitigated by the slightest shred of national interest. The closest thing to a claim of national interest that NATO has offered is a vague reference to a "flood of refugees," but NATO countries have no reason to fear refugees. Refugees are immigrants, and immigrants do no harm to any free or semi-free country; they are a boon.

Shamefully, NATO offers no mitigation whatever. It flaunts its pretext as a boast: "humanitarian concern." Already--within days!--the wicked and the stupid are digging up "humanitarian concerns" all over the world to urge further wars. If humanitarian concern justifies wars of aggression, then international morality is at an end--and the future holds nothing but oceans of blood.

How did NATO morph from Jekyll to Hyde? It's no mystery: the leading NATO countries rolled snake-eyes in their latest elections. They elected the parties of altruism: a Democrat president in the US, Labor in the UK, Social Democrats in Germany, etc. (The "etc." includes French socialists and Canada's Liberals.) To this crowd, the moral ban on the initiation of force is unknown, internationally as well as domestically. Just as they are willing casually to fine, imprison or even execute non-criminal citizens on the basis of humanitarian concern, so they are willing casually to launch aggressive war.

Don't be misled by these altruist parties' long posturing as opponents of war--they never were. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, they opposed national interests and self-defense, and they still do. They positively relish war based on humanitarian concern. Altruism implies both statism and militarism--these altruists have merely revealed their militarism. Their steel humanitarianism is an ominous parallel to the steel romanticism of Nazi Germany.

Can NATO be redeemed? Perhaps, but only if opposition parties in the leading NATO countries raise a storm of protest against NATO's debasement into a gang of self-righteous aggressors. The opposition parties would need vast courage; they would inevitably be smeared as defenders of Yugoslavia's abominable dictatorship.

If they fail to muster that courage, then NATO's debasement will be permanent--and probably fatal. NATO weathered all the abuse formerly flung at it because its moral roots were solid; without them, it will wither.

Will the humanitarian bomb-throwers achieve their humanitarian aims? Not a chance! As was entirely predictable, they have accelerated ethnic cleansing in Kosovo ("As well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb!"). Bombardment cannot stop it. Huge numbers of ground troops would be needed to stop it; in W.W.II, an occupation force of up to 33 Axis divisions failed to subdue the Yugoslavs. Occupation cost the Germans alone 5 000 dead per year. Clinton, Blair, Schroder and the rest may be humanitarian enough to spill an ocean of blood, but their nations are unlikely to be.

Other countries with turbulent minorities that threaten to draw the attention of steel humanitarians may now find their safest policy to be "Shoot, shovel and shut up."

Michael Miller is the operator of Quackgrass Press.

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