Augustine and the Cruelty of Peace

“Peace and War had a competition in cruelty; and Peace won the prize.  For the men whom War cut down were bearing arms; Peace slaughtered the defenseless.”

-Saint Augustine

“881 were civilians, including 176 children. Only 41 people who had died had been confirmed as ‘high-value’ terrorist targets”




About jleavittpearl

Philosopher and Theologian out of Pittsburgh PA.

Posted on October 29, 2012, in News, Quotes and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. What’s the alternative? All out war or pacifism?

    • Certainly not, it’s completely absurd to reduce foreign policy to war, pacifism, or the murder of civilians. It is precisely this attitude, which sees these illegal strikes as the only step between ignoring the problem and going to war, which has led us into these horrible policies.

      • So…. you still haven’t given the appropriate alternative… what do you believe would be suitable?

        • Pursuing diplomatic solutions with Pakistan, in order that they might better police their own border. Keying in on the black market weapons trade to Pakistan, in order to cut off supplies. Special forces surgical strikes, which have a dramatically lower civilian mortality rate. So on and so forth.

          It is hard to see how bombing families and children could have any possible effect other than creating more terrorists, and more radical terrorists.

          Our current success rate is equivalent to enacting the death penalty, but insisting that 17 adults and 3 children be executed with every criminal. It’s completely insane.

          • I would of course have considered all of those options first as well; however, Pakistan isn’t cooperating diplomatically with the US in a trustworthy manner. This is why I stated the dichotomous option.

            • How cooperative would we be if Pakistan was regularly bombing our neighborhoods, killing our children? Years of terrible foreign policy has created a system of distrust and fear. More illegal military strikes will not cure these problems, only exasperate them.

              • Do you really think Pakistan would be a very cooperative nation if it wasn’t for drone strikes? Have you read about Pakistan’s modern history? I think you are being a little too idealistic here. Pakistan, when it isn’t saber-rattling against India, has a history of being undiplomatic to the US. The concessions they make are often dishonest (for example, the hunt for Bin Laden). Not all countries around the world are as trustworthy as our countries. Dealing with a military dictatorship is much different than dealing with a democracy.

                • Idealistic? In what world is it idealistic to suggest we shouldn’t bomb civilians. That isn’t pragmatism, that isn’t realism, that is, to borrow Augustine’s word, Cruelty. Call me idealistic if you want, but there is no possible situation in which murder on this scale is justified, none.

                  And how can we assert our own “honesty” and “trustworthyness” when we are committing such (completely ILLEGAL) atrocities practically daily? Quite on the contrary, I would say that Pakistan is precisely as trustworthy as us, perhaps more. At least when they sign a peace treaty, they don’t bomb our civilians. That seems a pretty good indicator of “trustworthyness.”

                  • You stated:

                    “I would say that Pakistan is precisely as trustworthy as us, perhaps more.”

                    Well, that’s a surprising position. I guess that you are not aware that the ISI has close connections with the Taliban and that they have been proven to be sponsoring terrorist attacks against American and Afghan targets. Check out this article:


                    I actually have nothing against Pakistan, but the fact is that the government has some serious issues. Any government that is working with terrorist networks to inflict terrorist attacks is a government that cannot be trusted. I am not sure why you have such a strong attachment to the government of Pakistan, but you have to consider that they might not be as trustworthy as you seem to think they are.

                    • My concern is not that these connections are false. It is simply that there is a problematic double standard. For Pakistan your standard is, if Pakistan supports or assists terrorists, against our treaties, then they are “untrustworthy.” While for the US, you seem to be implying that, even though we are openly attacking their civilians (and I can’t emphasize enough how important I think this distinction between civilian and military targets are), clearly against our treaties, that we are nonetheless somehow “trustworthy.”

                      Given our sustained attack upon the civilians of a sovereign nation, I still cannot see how we could expect anything other than a turn against our forces in the region. Furthermore, I think that there is no comparison between one nation’s aggression against armed troops and another’s against unarmed civilians. There is no theory of “just war” that could possibly support such atrocities.

                      If we are supposed to be a beacon of light in the world, spreading democracy blah blah blah., then we could probably start by upholding international treatise and NOT BOMBING CHILDREN! this seems pretty straight forward. Perhaps when we start doing this, we might be able to gain some political leverage, both within the region, and elsewhere.

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