Two Wrongs Make a War
People tend to view military conflicts the way they view football games.
Only, when they say, "My team is gonna kill your team," they mean it
literally. The trouble is, when it comes to clashes between "government"
militaries, there aren't good guys and bad guys. There are bad guys and
worse guys. The fact that one side may commit a bit less torture,
terrorism and murder than the other doesn't mean they deserve your
I still occasionally see a bumper-sticker that says, "If you love your
freedom, thank a U.S. veteran." And if you ended up living under Soviet
control, after the Allies gave Stalin half of Europe, should you thank a
U.S. veteran for that, too? If you were a civilian in Dresden, and got to
watch your town, and most of the people in it, needlessly incinerated,
should you thank a U.S. veteran? How about if you happened to live in
Nagasaki, or Hiroshima, at the wrong time? Well, you wouldn't be around to
thank anyone. Freedom doesn't come from war-mongering, even war-mongering
against other war-mongers. It comes from understanding and defending the
concept of self-ownership, which is something that "government" militaries
As a result of constant propaganda, indoctrination, and peer pressure,
almost everyone in this country, left or right, still says, "Of course, I
support the troops." So let me say, loudly and without hesitation, I
absolutely do NOT support the troops. They commit evil on a regular basis,
constantly using violence and the threat of violence against innocents.
Claiming that evil is "necessary," or calling it "collateral damage," does
not change morality. In short, most combat soldiers, regardless of what
regime they serve, do things that completely warrant their intended
victims killing them.
Let me make sure that I don't fail to offend people by being too general.
If your brave son is off somewhere, randomly kicking down doors and
pointing guns at people, because someone told him to, then the desperate
homeowner who decides to blow your brave son's head off is absolutely
justified in doing so. Your son dying while acting as a violently
aggressive mercenary for megalomaniacs does not make him a hero. It makes
him an enemy of humanity. And what flag he has on his shoulder makes no
Now, I don't know whether this makes it better or worse, but I do believe
that most soldiers--of all countries, in fact--join up with good
intentions, thinking they will be defending their country, fighting
injustice, and so on. But it's always a lie. Always. Because the
"government" method of combat is completely incompatible with moral,
purely defensive force. To prove this, all you need to do is imagine what
would happen if you used the approach that "government" militaries use.
"Well, gosh, there's this bad guy, and I know he lives somewhere in that
particular city block, so I blew up the whole thing to make sure I got
him. Sorry about the hundred or so innocents I killed at the same time,
but the guy was really, really bad, so that makes it okay, right?"
"Well, gosh, I didn't have enough bombs to blow up the whole block, so me
and some of my buddies went door to door, kicking down doors, pointing
guns at everyone and searching all their houses, to find the bad guy. And
of course, whenever some homeowner didn't take kindly to that, and drew a
gun, we had to defend ourselves by killing them."
What kind of lunatic would imagine such an argument to be valid? Well, the
kind who wear soldier uniforms, and the kind who command them. And calling
such evil "serving your country" or "doing one's duty" doesn't make it any
more sane or moral.
The pack mentality and simplistic thought processes of the average statist
makes him accept completely insane and evil ideas. For example, the
"logic" of nationalistic folk might go something like this: "Hitler was a
bad guy, and therefore whoever fought against him was a good guy." No. Bad
logic. The enemy of your enemy is not automatically your friend. The enemy
of freedom and justice--regardless of what "team" he is on--should be your
enemy, and the enemy of tyranny and violent aggression--regardless of
race, nationality, religion, or anything else--should be your friend.
Someone I've never met, on the other side of the world, with a completely
different world view than mine, but who will leave me alone and wants me
to leave him alone, is more my ally than anyone on any side who has
pledged to commit violence whenever the state tells him to (i.e., anyone
in a military uniform).
This is in spite of the fact that, again, I don't believe most soldiers
start with malicious intent. However, by way of the lie called
"authority," their noble virtues are twisted and hijacked, and used as
fuel for evil by those who desire power over others. The soldier is told
that Hitler is a really, really bad guy, doing really, really bad things
(which was true), and then told that the only way to stop him is for the
soldier to go do whatever his "commanders" tell him to do. If that means
detaining, searching, threatening, torturing or murdering civilians--as
always happens in every war--then that's just the cost of justice.
Sadly, war is proof that most people would literally rather kill, or die,
than objectively re-examine their own belief systems. For example, many
military veterans say that, once bullets start flying and bombs start
dropping, any thought of the cause, or the ultimate goal, or some noble
ideal, is out the window, and all that matters is keeping you and your
buddies alive. No doubt the guys on the other side of that line are
thinking the same thing. But groups of buddies on both sides think that
the only way to survive is to kill the other guy, and his buddies. Because
they were so effectively trained to blindly obey "authority," neither set
of buddies can see the bleedingly obvious: the best way for you and your
buddies to survive is (drum roll, please), GO HOME! To borrow a hippie
slogan, "What if they had a war, and no one came?"
Now, there is a slight flaw in that saying. If someone attacks you,
not fighting doesn't fix anything. But there's a big difference between
trying to repel an attacker, and going door to door picking fights with
all of your neighbors, just in case they were thinking of attacking you.
And that has been U.S. "foreign policy" for a very long time. Furthermore,
even when attacked, the victim doesn't suddenly acquire the right to
attack innocents. If an individual punches you, that doesn't mean you have
the right to go punch his neighbor, just because he happens to reside in
the vicinity of someone who assaulted you.
Furthermore, falling back on "well, my team isn't as evil as yours," is
pretty lame. Yes, the authoritarian gangs on the "other side" in World War
II, and Vietnam, and Iraq, and lots of other conflicts, did bad things.
Really bad things. So should our moral standard be, as long as the other
side is a little bit more evil, we can be proud? "We" didn't lock up as
many Japanese Americans in the internment camps as the Nazis locked up, so
"we" are the good guys? "We" haven't executed as many military deserters
as the other side, so "we" are the good guys? (Did you know that 17 people
were put to death in the U.S., and many more were sentenced to life in
prison, for refusing the draft for World War I?) When "we" murdered
hundreds of thousands of civilians in Japan, were "we" still the good
guys, because our goal was noble? (It's sad that Americans are so scared
that some day, some lunatic might use nuclear weapons in a terrorist
attack, forgetting that it already happened, and the lunatic was an
I dare anyone to spend some time watching the propaganda films put out by
both gangs of authoritarian control freaks during World War II, and see if
you can even tell the difference. "We're in the right, fighting for truth
and justice against the nasty villains who want to do us harm!" Great.
That's what both sides in every war always say. Sadly, the peasants on
both sides still usually believe it. If America wants to be truly
different and special, we could start by not believing the utter garbage
that the megalomaniacs on "our side" feed us day in and day out. If we
want to appear rational and humane, to ourselves and to the rest of the
world, maybe we should drop the incessant, mindless chanting of "support
the troops," and start advocating actual liberty, self-ownership and
peaceful co-existence, here and everywhere else. Maybe before feeling
superior, you should make sure that you really are superior, by advocating
liberty and justice for all--yes, even people on the other side of the
world who don't look like you or think like you--instead of just
mindlessly, loyally cheering for the murderous mercenaries on your "team."
If this article seems a little harsh, a tad offensive, not civil or polite
or compromising enough for you, keep in mind that in the time it took you
to read this, it is quite likely that somewhere in the world, an innocent
human being--or two, or ten--was just killed by "the troops" you support.
If you think you're being righteous and noble for cheering for the gang of
mercenaries that did it, if you think being loyal to your "team" is more
important than opposing murder, then you need to pull your head out of
your butt, and catch a glimpse of reality. Whatever good intentions they
made have started with, "the troops" are the politicians' hitmen, and
nothing else. I will support them when they stop being that, and not a
moment before. How about you?
(P.S. Some advocates of freedom take the approach of gently, gradually
trying to win people over, with kind words, finding common ground, and
trying to win their philosophical opponents over with respect and
consideration. Others feel that if people are committing evil, they should
be directly and publicly condemned for it, in the hopes of shaming or
intimidating them into changing their evil ways. Can you guess which
approach I chose today?)