War with Moral Authority

The famed author, Shelby Steele, had an interesting commentary in the Wall Street Journal about the authority needed to properly wage war. 

In the eyes of many around the world, and many Americans as well, we lack the moral authority to fight the wars that we actually fight because they are wars more of discipline than of survival, more of choice than of necessity… When survival is at stake, there is no lack of moral authority, no self-doubt and no antiwar movement of any consequence. But when war is not immediately related to survival, when a society is fundamentally secure and yet goes to war anyway, moral authority becomes a profound problem…

This is the pattern of disciplinary wars: Their execution is always undermined by their inbuilt lack of moral authority. In the end, our might neutralizes our might. Our vast power makes all such wars come off as bullying, even when we fight selflessly for the freedom of others.

After reading his editorial, it’s clear to me that Steele and Victor Davis Hanson are kindred souls…

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