Tag Archives: Adolf Hitler

Si vis pacem, para bellum – If you wish for peace, prepare for war

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

Si vis pacem, para bellum – If you wish for peace, prepare for war

One of the traits often associated with libertarians is anti-war. I’ve always found this moniker somewhat odd, as I can’t think of anyone who is pro-war. There are merely those willing to fight for their rights, and those who feel there is always away to settle differences without war—you know—the people who have apparently never heard of Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Emperor Hirohito, et al. If you wish to argue Hussein doesn’t belong on that list, tell that to the people of Kuwait.

I understand that some will consider the 2003 Iraq war the result of a pro-war sentiment, but being the type who doesn’t believe complex conspiracy theories easily, I trust that the Coalition-of-the-willing who decided to re-engage Iraq in 2003 were reacting on what they believed was a real and imminent threat, as well as enforcing U.N. resolution 687, U.N. resolution 1441, etc.

The United Nations
The United Nations

Iraq had violated U.N. resolutions 16 times in total after being driven from Kuwait, which ultimately was the legal basis for going to war as noted here. The threat of WMD’s which turned out to be either Saddam Hussein’s own false bravado, or they were simply moved to Syria as reported by Saddam’s former Air Force general, was perceived to be real by all involved and I will not engage any other wild theories about why we removed Saddam from power.

When people say it was an illegal war and all nations who participated are guilty of war-crimes, I generally assume they are mired in Bush-hatred to the point of being delusional. I’m not necessarily condoning the war, but reasonable people must understand that hindsight is 20/20—had we known he wasn’t the threat he worked so hard to convince us he was, I have little doubt we would have continued to work towards peaceful resolutions with Hussein and focused our military efforts solely on Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

But that being said, if we’re not prepared to back up a surrender agreement and/or U.N. resolutions with military force, what is the point of accepting the agreement or enacting the resolution in the first place? If we’re going to allow someone to violate them 16+ times without repercussion, we are a paper tiger.

So about the size and scope of our military, I wish to make a few points.

  1. I believe it is foolhardy to assume that if we just left the world alone, no one would ever attack us. We tried avoiding war during World War II, but Japan attacked us anyway. We are a resource-rich nation with a lot worth stealing, and these resources and our rights are worth defending. Are we involved in too much? Absolutely. Should we be completely uninvolved? Absolutely not.
  2. If we understand point one, then we must have a system of defense. Every organism  has a defense mechanism, why shouldn’t we? I understand the idea of peace, love, and happiness, and I generally support it. But it’s hard to have peace, love, and happiness with people who want to kill you and/or take your stuff. To deny this, would be akin to arguing that every serial killer was simply misunderstood and likely provoked by their victims.
  3. If we are to have a system of defense, there’s not much point in having it if we refuse there’s ever a reason to use it. There must be a point at which you decide it is the best alternative, and reasonable people are always going to disagree on when that is. But for me, it’s when us or our allies’ are attacked or credibly threatened.
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan

So with all that in mind, I’d like to reiterate something I noted in my earlier post, Great Leaders Make Results, Not Excuses. While Reagan was often criticized for military spending, and was arguably the greatest builder of the U.S. Armed Forces, every successive president has placed our military in harm’s way more than Reagan did. So how is this?

It may seem counter-intuitive that a president hell-bent on maintaining the most powerful military in the world would rarely use them, but as most martial arts practitioners or gun owners already know, being trained to thwart any aggression against you doesn’t make you aggressive, it just makes you prepared.

For the benefit of those not alive during the Reagan era like I was, it’s hard to appreciate the overall feeling of the people at that time. We were in a cold war with Russia, and mutually assured destruction hung over us like a dark cloud that could send shivers down your spine just thinking about it. A real and rational fear of death was everywhere.

Don't Tread On MeBut one thing we understood was that if anyone dared attack us, the sleeping giant that was the United States would demonstrate the “Don’t Tread On Me” flag’s message with deadly consequences. Reagan was as affable as any president in modern history, but there was little doubt he would not hesitate to eliminate any threat against us.

For eight years, no one dared to attack us because of the threat of imminent death that would result. With the exception of Grenada, we were pretty keen to leave them alone too.

Andrei Arlovski
Andrei Arlovski

To illustrate this point, imagine you were walking down the street and ran into MMA fighter Andrei Arlovski, even if you hated the guy, you probably wouldn’t pick a fight with him. We all inherently understand the idea of not attacking someone we have little chance of defeating—it’s an example of our DNA’s self-preservation attribute. It’s for that reason that Peace-Through-Strength is the best chance for the safety of the United States.

So when should we attack? I wasn’t alive during Hitler’s reign, but my father was. One point he made to me was that after Hitler was defeated, the people of the allied nations had a collective belief that we could never let another Hitler be allowed to forcibly take over nations in a bid of world dominance. Hitler became more dangerous with every action we avoided taking against him.

Being the world’s last remaining super-power, on occasion, we may have to step in as we did for Kuwait in 1991 for the same reason. Had we not, Hussein surely would have become the Hitler of the middle east without stopping until someone had the courage to intervene as we did.

The United States is undoubtedly spread far too thin around the world. With the miracles of modern technology, we can cut spending by reducing troop levels yet increasing the capabilities of future weapons systems. But the best way to assure the safety of the United States and its allies, is to assure that we are so powerful, no one would dare mess with us.

I will never condone wasteful spending by any government agency, including the military, nor will I condone putting our military in places where we don’t ultimately need them, but I will never believe that reducing our government should involve reducing our military to a level that makes us vulnerable to defeat from an attack. If you truly want peace, you must prepare for war.

Psy and a lesson in skepticism

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

Now that Psy is making news again for singing lyrics that advocate killing US soldiers many years ago, I’ve decided this might be a good lesson in proper skepticism. People are often quick to jump to conclusions about someone based on one tidbit of information, but that’s just not a good way to be. Too often you end up jumping to wrong conclusions, or leaving yourself vulnerable to attack because you ignored other important evidence. psy

For instance, if I told you there was a man long ago who was upset by the fact that cars were only available to the rich, and commissioned a car company to build affordable cars that the average person could buy, you’d think that sounds like a good person.

If you read my post called The Beetle is dead, and government killed it, you’d know that person was Adolf Hitler. So hopefully you understand the importance of gathering all of the facts before judgement is passed.

I don’t presume to know what’s in anyone’s heart, and neither should you. But one of the first things that concerned me on this is something that happens often when people judge musicians. They assume that the lyrics have meaning to the artist. When Andrew Kevin Walker wrote the movie Se7en, no one asserted he was advocating killing all sinners in brutal fashion. Why? Because it was a fictional movie. Phil Collins’ famous song “In the air tonight” is often mistakenly assumed to be written because Phil witnessed someone committing a violent act. In reality, he has repeatedly stated that it was pure fiction.In the Air Tonight

So when judging a musician based on some lyrics they wrote, first you must stop and ask was this just a work of fiction or were they truly advocating this sentiment. Based on Psy’s own statements, he was upset about American soldiers who killed two Korean nationals, and were acquitted of any wrong doing. He was highly upset, and as a result, spewed some pretty hateful things. So this was not a work of fiction, he actually meant it.

So then I think about what motivated him to say it and how would I feel if the roles were reversed. If Koreans soldiers killed two Americans and were acquitted, would I be mad? Probably. Would I say hateful things? Well, I’m a proper skeptic, so I’d do the research and not jump to conclusions, but if I were an impulsive, young, dumb, musician prone to spouting off through my music, maybe I would.

So then I ask myself; is he someone who has never really come to know America? People in other countries are often anti-American, and spread a lot of lies, hyperbole, misinformation, and half-truths about the good things we actually do around the world. Musicians sometimes live in a pro-anarchy bubble of friends who love to demonize any government as well. However, Psy spent 4 years here in America prior to writing these hateful lyrics, so he has certainly had an opportunity to come to know America, and should have known better.

So then I ask myself, does he still believe this? Well, he did issue an apology. So as not to leave out any context, here it is in its entirety:

As a proud South Korean who was educated in the United States and lived there for a very significant part of my life, I understand the sacrifices American servicemen and women have made to protect freedom and democracy in my country and around the world. The song I was featured in — from eight years ago — was part of a deeply emotional reaction to the war in Iraq and the killing of two innocent Korean civilians that was part of the overall antiwar sentiment shared by others around the world at that time… While I’m grateful for the freedom to express one’s self I’ve learned there are limits to what language is appropriate and I’m deeply sorry for how these lyrics could be interpreted. I will forever be sorry for any pain I have caused anyone by those words.

I have been honored to perform in front of American soldiers in recent months — including an appearance on the Jay Leno show specifically for them — and I hope they and all Americans can accept my apology… While it’s important we express our opinions, I deeply regret the inflammatory and inappropriate language I used to do so. In my music I try to give people a release, a reason to smile. I have learned that though music, our universal language we can all come together as a culture of humanity and I hope that you will accept my apology.

So after reading this, do I believe his apology? As I look at it, I have a couple of problems with it. A proper apology doesn’t try to justify the behavior in any way, it just says, “I’m sorry.” But here, he does seem to make excuses for why he acted the way he did. He also says, “…how these lyrics could be interpreted.” Here are some excerpts:

Kill those fucking Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives and those who ordered them to torture.

 And

Kill [the Yankees’] daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathers / Kill them all slowly and painfully.

I don’t know about you, but to me there was little ambiguity there in what he said. I do believe I read they were lyrics from a song by someone else that he was just repeating. But, I don’t see how it was open to interpretation, either way. So again, it seems like he was trying to downplay the severity of the things he said instead of just properly apologizing for them.

So then the last thing I would ask, is if his apology is motivated by anything other than remorse? Well, he is trying to sell CD’s after all. Being universally hated by the most powerful economy in the world isn’t exactly a brilliant business strategy for a musician looking to achieve international fame. So he has a motive other than regret for his apology that cannot be ignored.

So what is my skeptical analysis?

  • I’d say he probably doesn’t feel the anti-American hate he did back then these days based on his words and actions as of late, but I doubt he’s truly sorry he said those things either. He’s probably just embarrassed. I suspect he has hate for those soldiers that killed his countrymen, but understands that America is the only reason there even is a free South Korea in the first place.
  • Can a person change? Well, I used to say I was Republican who thought Libertarians were crazy, and now I’m a Libertarian. I used to be a Christian but now I’m agnostic/atheist. So yes, people can change.
  • Is it possible Psy went from being an America hater to an America lover? Of course!
  • Does he a really want to kill Americans? I doubt it.
  • Was he prone to make emotional, hateful, and idiotic statements back then? Probably.

So I would accept his apology at face value, but I wouldn’t assume him to be pro-America either. America has been pretty good to his career as of late, so that may have changed in light of his new success here.

I do know this, I listened to Gangnam Style once just to see what all of the fuss was about, and after doing so, I realize that I cannot unhear it, I’m eternally scarred, and I want my 5 minutes back. Only a monster could write something so hideous.