Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Law is superior to war in solving differences

Dear Editor,

The title “War can’t be legislated away” printed above Patrick McGinn’s (Jan.30) letter in response to Deborah Metke’s earlier letter may be accurate, but Mr. McGinn’s reasons why law can’t replace war misses Ms. Metke’s main points that are extremely relevant and urgent in today’s world.

McGinn’s correct in that nothing can be legislated away. But laws and legal systems do provide people, groups and even nations a viable, proven alternative to using violence to solve differences.

Law won’t “stop” war, but with a global legal system that conflicting nation states can appeal to there would be a far lesser chance of states going to war. Mr. McGinn fails to realize that we in Maryland don’t have to maintain an army or draft our children into service to protect our water rights to the Potomac from our chief competitor Virginia. We have a superior legal system for dealing with the ‘sovereign’ difference between our states. After two massively bloody, violent and destructive world wars the nation states of Europe finally adopted a legal system to avoid future wars to settle differences. There is no reason why this civilizing concept that allows the European Union to avoid war can’t be expanded globally.

What Mr. McGinn doesn’t seem to realize is how much advances in powerful technology has changed everything. Super power states can now be brought to their knees by super powered individuals. We can no longer rely on a powerful military and the law of force to maintain our security. The force of law is a viable option.

The use of military force may very well be needed to respond to, or deter a future aggressive state, but that force would be used in the context of law enforcement that the vast majority of nations and peoples of the world agree with. We might use military weapons and armed forces against international drug cartels but that doesn’t mean it’s a war where the loss of innocent lives in the form of collateral damage is going to be acceptable.

Imagine what the world would be like today if the US had used international law to mobilize a global police action to arrest Saddam Hussein for his mass murder of Kurds or Iranians instead of unilaterally invading his nation under the pretense of disarmament. Iran’s President should be indicted today for inciting genocide. Bombing the nation of Iran because they might have nuclear weapons in the near future is a war no one in the world can afford.


Felix Rosenthal, Annandale VA.

“The abolition of war is no longer an ethical question to be pondered solely by learned philosophers and ecclesiastics, but a hard core one for the decision of the masses whose survival is the issue. Many will tell you with mockery and ridicule that the abolition of war can only be a dream – that it is the vague imagining of a visionary. But we must go on or we will go under…We must have new thoughts, new ideas, new concepts. We must break out of the straightjacket of the past. We must have sufficient imagination and courage to translate the universal wish for peace –which is rapidly becoming a necessity –into actuality.” General Douglas MacArthur, July 5th, 1961.

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