The questions on war need to be repositioned. I do not think the ethics of peace can ever invalidate the reasons for war.
The conflictual and often contradictory separatism existing between the war mongers and the peaceniks is one of no useful consequence. Extremisms that characterize both the cases make them ineffective. “War at any cost” or “Peace at any cost” lend themselves to the fallacy of self-contradiction, because “any cost”, when attached to the “events” such as war or peace is militarist in nature. Instead, “any cost” can be suitably applied to the “process”. By this it is implied that “progress” can be made at any cost—a progress that does not smack of opportune rise of one interest group to the exclusion of the most others, rather just the other way around.
Often the arguments of the day have sided with Peace and War as binaries and there where lies the inherent source of flaws. Peace may just be the time to prepare for war and war may just be teaching the lessons of history. In both the ways of extreme sense, they are dangerous. Because what we often forget to ask are, “Peace for whom” and “Whose war”.
Contextualizing the situations of peace and war can help shape the way we can lead better lives. The war mongers always serve the interest of a business group which intends to sell its goods. That’s just about it. There is no other rationale for the war mongers to be existent. The sole cause is money making for a few. To validate it, they go any extent and as histories are witnesses, nationalism, internal security, anti-communism, religious intolerance are among the few excuses that the military-industrial complex have always utilized to thrive.
As for peaceniks, it has been a utopian journey all throughout. When Lennon proclaimed the End of the War, all he asked was of people was to imagine. “The War is Over – If you want it”, ran the billboards across Canada during John and Yoko’s bed-in peace demonstrations. What they and the peace marchers forgot to mention was that the War was actually not over and it had nothing to do with people wanting it. In a subtle unintentional way they were implying that people did not want the war to end. This was far from the truth. It was a certain section of capitalists who wanted the war business to go on in the name of protecting Vietnam from the “monstrous Communism”. The catchline should have been “The War must begin—Against the war mongers”.
This was the feeling which so classically embedded in case of the Soviet defense against the Nazis. It was very important to defeat Hitler in a bloody war, for the entire earth to survive. Almost exhausting majority of its able men force of the country (more than 6 million deaths and millions of families affected), the Soviets contributed their biggest lot to the rest of the world, by relentlessly fighting the gory battle to stop the expansion of the radical right wingers. Today no one even among the most politically correct would denounce the defeat of Hitler. The war was not such bad after all.
In the post-cold war phases, the danger subsequently was in a school of propaganda which equated freedom with anything that ran a so-called democratic form of government and called everything else authoritarian dictatorships. In other words, a false claim was made to justify the subsequent phase of the cold war period, which took millions of lives all over the world in the name of defeating the spread of communism. And what we had was a prevailing situation of intolerance with anyone who differed from the mainstream model of electoral governance (howsoever fraud it might be owing to the various vote scams). All socialist governments fell pray. Almost all Islamic regimes over the world were attacked. The ones who agreed to do business at the terms of the democratic warriors were of course spared.
As the wars escalated, the peaceniks among us cried out against all forms of attacks. The paradigm shifted to discuss the dangers of wars. Nobel laureates attributed lack of democracy as a necessary cause for breeding grounds of war. To spread democracy, wars were validated. And civilians who had no need and idea of ballot boxes were forced to see their houses bombed if they were lucky to survive. All in the name of democracy.
The question of “who caused the war” shifted to “why we must stop the war”. In the process of course that big joke, the United Nations called every step by sovereign countries to protect themselves as “aggression” and every step by the militarist nations to attack foreign lands as “peacekeeping”.
With such peacekeepings, of course who needed wars?
The burden of the peace man goes on today without questioning if these are the ones who need to be fought against? Are not the arms dealers and racketeers the worthy causes for active resistance? It’s not the war which is at fault. It’s our inability to distinguish the elements who should be targeted at. The question needs to be turned on its head: for once we need a war—against the original perpetrators who had no business to start it.