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Why Orwell Matters

March 11th, 2005 · 9 Comments

“[One possibility is that] the Americans will decide to use the atomic bomb while they have it and the Russians haven’t….In any case this is, I think, the least likely outcome of the three, because a preventive war is a crime not easily committed by a country that retains any traces of democracy.”


—George Orwell, “Toward European Unity

Tags: War


       

 

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 joe o // Mar 11, 2005 at 4:05 pm

    Orwell quote, where were you two years ago, when we could have used you?

  • 2 some she-demon // Mar 11, 2005 at 7:52 pm

    that’s a good quote.

  • 3 Brian Moore // Mar 14, 2005 at 10:52 am

    I don’t think we should have invaded Iraq, but that’s unrelated to the quote.

    The entire point is the necessity: I am against uncessary preventative war (as well as unnecessary war in general) and I am for necessary preventative war. It’s the circumstances and conditions of the Iraq war that make it right or wrong, not the fact that it’s preventative or not.

    It’s sort of like being “anti-war.” I’m pro-war when it’s necessary and anti-war when it’s not. I do, however, have a relatively stringent definition of “necessary,” as well as an understanding that “the good guys” can commit war crimes as well.

    At any rate, I’m quibbling. There’s no situation at which Orwell quotes shouldn’t be screamed at politicians. :)

  • 4 Jason // Mar 14, 2005 at 7:35 pm

    In recent history, has there been a “necessary” preventive war? What about a legitimate preventive war? A war in which all other options have been considered and tried?

    A couple of other quotes I thought interesting:

    “Within each state the necessary psychological atmosphere would be kept up by complete severance from the outer world, and by a continuous phony war against rival states. Civilizations of this type might remain static for thousands of years.”

    “The English-speaking Dominions, the colonial dependencies, except perhaps in Africa, and even Britain’s supplies of oil, are all hostages in American hands. Therefore there is always the danger that the United States will break up any European coalition by drawing Britain out of it.”

  • 5 The Historian Of Decline // Mar 15, 2005 at 4:02 am

    Rather interesting that the Germans’ may have had some kind of nuclear device toward the end of the war.

    Now that nuclear weapons are spreading, let’s hope they are never used again.

  • 6 Brian Moore // Mar 15, 2005 at 2:19 pm

    In recent history, has there been a “necessary” preventive war? What about a legitimate preventive war? A war in which all other options have been considered and tried?

    Well, it’s all very easy in hindsight or theoretically possibilities. Would an attack on Germany while they were “peacefully” gobbling up Eastern European nations be considered “necessary” prevention?

    Or attacking massive columns of Canadian tanks as they prepare for an invasion? Heh.

    I don’t think Iraq was a necessary preventative war, but large numbers (a majority?) thought it was. Lots of voices don’t make it right, but it does mean that there was a decent argument to be made.

    Rather interesting that the Germans’ may have had some kind of nuclear device toward the end of the war.

    I thought that was very interesting! I didn’t know enough about the situation to know how credible it was, but interesting nonetheless.

    Brings up another point: say we did have flawless WMD evidence on Saddam, like some Manhatten Project style test. Would that have been a necessary preventative war?

  • 7 Brian Moore // Mar 15, 2005 at 2:21 pm

    Curse you, non-html comments!

    These two statements should be quoted and attributed to “Jason” and “Historian”.

    “In recent history, has there been a “necessary” preventive war? What about a legitimate preventive war? A war in which all other options have been considered and tried?”

    “Rather interesting that the Germans’ may have had some kind of nuclear device toward the end of the war.”

  • 8 The Historian Of Decline // Mar 15, 2005 at 5:44 pm

    Every sovereign state has the right to arm itself. Under what belief system do Russia and America get to posess nuclear weapons; while it simultaneously becomes immoral for states like Iran to have them?

    When states have problems, such as corrupt dictators like Saddam Hussein that were backed by foreign powers, the first impulse should not be war.

    Preventative restraint from meddling in other nations affairs would go a long way to making a more peaceful world.

  • 9 David T // Mar 22, 2005 at 6:50 pm

    Brian Moore: “I am against uncessary preventative war (as well as unnecessary war in general) and I am for necessary preventative war.”

    I think that almost by definition preventative war is either not necessary or at least cannot be proven to be necessary. When you have strong evidence that your opponent will attack if you do not attack first, that is not a *preventative* but a *pre-emptive* war.