Is Violence Always Immoral?


Think about WWII tactics and compare them to the tactics of the Global War on Terror, GWOT. I was doing that when I recently remarked to a friend “Americans are worse than anybody else with regard to violence”. My friend was caught off guard. He said, “How could Americans be worse than the imperialist Japanese? They mass murdered Chinese nationals back in WWII.” My friend astutely reminded me of what I was well aware. The Chinese facilitated Allied attacks against Japanese imperialists during WWII. Japanese imperialists murdered hundreds of thousands of Chinese in retribution for the attacks they facilitated. “How was that mass kill not worse than the American fire bombing of Tokyo that killed hundreds of thousands?” he said.

My response was that “Better or worse, when it comes to violence, is ultimately about force application. Americans of the WWII era were free to think and plan. Their freedom was their greatest strength. With that strength Americans empowered themselves to win. Americans at that time were cognitively aligned to defeat their clearly defined enemies. Once they agreed to win with each other they applied unbearable force to their Japanese enemies. Japan, as an imperialist society, did not have the capacity to deliver as much violence on their Chinese enemy as Americans, as a free society, could deliver to the Japanese… Americans back then had the capacity to deliver more violence than any other nation at that time, and they did just that! That’s force application! Disturbing, yes, but that’s war!”

Consider Pearl Harbor! Tactically speaking the response to Pearl Harbor was proportional. The Japanese bombed the United States and the United States bombed Japan. In terms of casualties, Japan suffered excruciating pain that the US mainland never had to endure. Consider how the American public would react to a succession of post 9/11 terror attacks against targets inside the United States. Those attacks would predictably align the American public opinion against its enemies in the Global War on Terror. Subjected to a clear and sustained threat, the American people could find themselves proudly slaughtering their enemies like their parents and grand parents did before them.

But why did I use the word “worse” to describe – superior fire power? Irrespective of the morality of the cause, I believe more violence is worse than less violence. As a bystander, the motivation to engage in violence, like riots, terrorism or war is seldom clear. Violence exchanged between two parties, by design, is a negative experience. If a conflict can be resolved without violence, it certainly should be. To deliver or receive violence under any circumstances represents a meltdown of civil society. Violence exercised during any conflict is a legitimate measure of the meltdown. To inversely illustrate the point, consider the myriad of peoples on this planet who accept peace as the normal state of domestic and international relations. The premiere examples are the diverse communities of Americans living in the United States. Americans hail from every corner of the globe and embody peaceful coexistence. This is not to suggest conflicts do not occur in the U.S. – conflict is indeed a big part of American life. It is precisely because peaceful resolution is the anticipated conclusion of most conflict in the United States, it is difficult to imagine where, when and how social conflict might degrade into violence. But it does occur. When a domestic conflict devolves into violence, does it ever yield a positive result? Most of the recent examples are difficult to decipher. Recall – the 1965 Watts Riots – the 1992 Los-Angeles Riots – the 1999 Anti-Globalization Riots in Seattle…

Watts Riots 1965… LA Riots 1992

Seattle 1992

I believe my friend had taken my use of the phrase “Americans are worse with regard to violence.” as if I were suggesting violence, on its own, is immoral. That’s a pacifist’s mantra. Violence isn’t always immoral. Indeed, there are times when it’s immoral NOT to use violence. The controlled use of violence to end the anarchic riots described above was moral. The American Revolution included moral acts of violence as did the American Civil War. The fire bombing of Tokyo and the use of nuclear weapons against Hiroshima and Nagasaki were moral acts! It would have been immoral not to attack Japan after its blatant imperialist aggression. The death and destruction in each case was both moral in its execution and emotionally deflating at the same time. Recall, imperialist Japan attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941. Nothing short of Victory against the imperialists would suffice as a legitimate conclusion to Japanese aggression in the Pacific. The Japanese unconditionally surrendered September 2, 1945.

Pearl Harbor… USS Missouri, Japanese Surrender

The lessons gleaned from past social meltdowns suggest that the application of superior firepower is an essential component required for the maintenance and propagation of civil society. But do the available lessons reveal they way to win the Global War on Terror? In the GWOT, civil society is melting down in a malignant way that does not necessarily resemble past conflicts mentioned here. Despite the over confidence of many Westerners, there is a real possibility this war could be lost. Consider the oft ignored statistics. There are moral infractions occurring on all fronts in this war. On the domestic front, the average American is unable to articulate who their enemies and allies are. On the international front, would be allies among the community of democratic nations undermine each other – often to foster commercial interests with the enemy or the enemy’s financiers. The true heroes in this war are effectively muted by the media. The real heroes are Iraqis and Afghanis fighting along side American Soldiers, manifesting their own destiny. The grotesquely obvious fact that they are simultaneously heroic, democratic and Muslim is a subtlety that shouldn’t be subtle at all. These men and women will be replacing our enemies, the tyrants and Islamic fascists. We should be demanding our media make an effort to introduce average Americans to these heroes.

What this says is that the West does not have superior firepower in the GWOT. A serious concern of mine is that while we seem to know victory will not be achieved in WWII fashion, the most visible tools enlisted to fight resemble those of WWII. What constitutes firepower in this war? I believe victories are possible, but they’ll occur in a context that disarms the ideology of the enemy. The enemy in the GWOT does not have planes and tanks. This is a war of ideas. We’ll win this war by engaging the enemy with ideological weapons. To be sure, the submission and surrender of Islamic fascism can only come after engaging the enemy with a force capable of replacing it! Islamic fascists fear articulate democrats more than the F16 and M1 Abrams. Articulate female Muslim democrats are the most toxic weapons ever imagined by an Islamic fascist. There are great numbers of these women who reside in the West right now, but unfortunately, they’re an underdeveloped resource. The old way is by far more familiar, and familiarity is tantamount to comfort. Is it better to build tanks, planes and ships? While upgrades to the West’s conventional weaponry shouldn’t stop, I argue that developing and diversifying a portfolio of articulate Muslim allies should take the limelight.

Right now, the West is being flanked by their Islamic Fascist enemies. The West’s moral and ideological fronts are nearly undefended. Only a few brave guards try to hold the line while the likes of former Iranian President Mohamed Khatami as well as Hezbollah and Hamas supporters slip through. It is my opinion that the West’s ideological front should be reinforced and prepped to attack. Despite the enemy’s rhetoric, the fascists are extremely weak on ideology. It is their most potent weapon yet it is based on a toxic blend of lies and blame. While fighting on that front, violence may be necessary but the meltdown is not likely to resemble the destructive mass kills of WWII.

In short, it is morally correct to violently attack GWOT enemies! It is moral even if those attacks are reminiscent of WWII. But why should the West slaughter and displace their enemies if they don’t have to? Martyrdom and victimhood feeds the fascist beast. Victory will only come by replacing the West’s fascist enemies with independent democratic allies willing to fight for their liberal ideology. That fight, if violent, would be moral.




  • Is Violence Always Immoral?

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