Nevertheless, it is possible for you to make some strides in lending legitimacy to an award whose nobility (or nobelity as the case may be) has been less tarnished ever since Al Gore won for his very nice PowerPoint presentation about polar bears. You can restore some semblance of “peace” to the Nobel Peace Prize.
Please begin by withdrawing America's troops from Afghanistan. Stop the dithering. In the middle of the many things you consider “urgent,” focus on matters of war and peace. You alone are the Commander in Chief. Peggy Noonan was right when she characterized you as “the anti-Lincoln.”. Whereas Lincoln, your ideal, focused every day of his presidency on the war at hand, even personally tracking down General McClellan in bars and parlors, you have barely made time to meet with your own appointed leader, General McChrystal. Then, when he embarrassed you by speaking to the press, he got your attention. If peace is the aim, your attention and focus are key.
American troops are serving gallantly in circumstances that cannot be described as promising. General McChrystal desires to win in Afghanistan. Of course he does. He is a soldier, and a good one at that. He asks for more troops to execute on the mission you gave him in March, the very mission you now are re-evaluating in a long, drawn-out process.
What none of your advisors is telling you is this: it is time not only to reassess the strategy for our war in Afghanistan, but more importantly, to reassess the morality of our war in Afghanistan.
In order to justify morally the use of arms and force, a number of pre-conditions must be met. The use of violent force should be a measure of last resort. War should be an act of defense rather than an act of offense or aggression. Violence inflicted should not proportionally dwarf the violence that is prevented by that action. And most importantly, war and force should only be exercised when there is a reasonable chance of success.
This last condition of what is commonly referred to as “just war theory” brings Afghanistan into clear focus. What exactly would constitute “success” in Afghanistan?
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