Friday, July 20, 2007

Perpetual War for Perpetual Pogrom?

I occasionally get in trouble with commenters for being a Kosovo war skeptic (I can't think of any argument against the Iraq war which does not also apply), but Matthew Yglesias has done us all the favour of quoting something official reasonable moderate Tom Friedman said in 1998:

Like it or not, we are at war with the Serbian nation (the Serbs certainly think so), and the stakes have to be very clear: Every week you ravage Kosovo is another decade we will set back your country back by pulverizing you. You want 1950? We can do 1950. You want 1389? We can do 1389 too.

The trouble with humanitarian war is that the psychology of war is the opposite of the psychology of humanitarianism. When you stiffen up the sinews and summon up the blood, you revert to tribal thinking, no matter how civilized you thought you were to begin with.

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