What If War Was NOT An Option?


Asked about two thirds of Americans’ opposition to war, Cheney says, ‘So?’

“War is merely a continuation of politics by other means.” Though Clausewitz didn’t intend it to be used this way, the quote has gained a life of its own for the bald truths contained within it. First that war is always a choice (though, rarely, the only other choice is surrender) and second….that it is a choice made by politicians.

My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.

George Bush, March 19, 2003


What if that choice didn’t exist? What if war was not an option for politicians?



America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.

George W. Bush

We can’t allow the world’s worst leaders to blackmail, threaten, hold freedom-loving nations hostage with the world’s worst weapons.

George W. Bush

We know that dictators are quick to choose aggression, while free nations strive to resolve differences in peace.

George W. Bush

I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we’re really talking about peace.

George W. Bush

Though Clausewitz was merely reflecting the reality of our times…he was wrong. War is not a continuation of politics, it is the failure of politics, and of diplomacy, and reason, and imagination…and most importantly, will. It is the choice of dullards. Dullards who inevitably, somehow, manage to profit from their failures to achieve peace. War is always…..a failure.

Travel with me now to a mythical land. A land where Sentient Beings have evolved a bit more than they have here, on this little backwater of a planet in a podunkville arm of an unimportant galaxy. A land where the natural conflicts that arise between beings was handled….differently.

A land where instead of spending the treasure of a nation, the collective product of a nations taxed toil on war, it was spent on improving the lot and living conditions of all people so that strife would not arise. Where nations and leaders didn’t try to impose their beliefs on others. A land where the egos of the politicians did not dictate their response to conflict, but reason did instead. A land where conflict was anticipated…and addressed BEFORE it escalated to the point where blood ‘need’ be shed. A land where solution, rather than dominance, was sought. A land where war was such an abhorrent concept that it never entered the minds of the leaders of this land. A land where war was not an option to continue politics and policies.

Where instead, the peaceful resolution of conflict was a necessity.

Imagine the resources that had been put towards killing other sentient beings……were instead used to achieve the resolution of conflict through economic means, where the resources used to train soldiers and study warfare were used to train diplomats and study conflict resolution. Where there was no other choice. Because the thought of killing another sentient being over resources or religion or idealism or…politics….was considered a far worse crime than any other.



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  1. It is clear that war is not a mere act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political activity by other means.

    I think the difference in meaning by Clausewitz is plain.  While I admire the rhetorical artistry of your post, budhy, as a student of On War, I must point out that Clausewitz’s insight is to see that war is an extension of policy, and that therefore the success or failure of war can be measured ultimately as the success or failure of the policy, and that the rightness of war can and should be evaluated purely on the consideration of the rightness of the underlying policy.

  2. W. was appointed to the Presidency because the elites wanted Saddam out, and a war was seen as the only way to do it.  They wanted someone like Bush to carry through the directive, just to make sure.  Period.

    The overthrow of Saddam Hussein was a policy directive dating back to Bush Sr., which Clinton had carried over.  Clinton’s three failed assassination attempts of Saddam were based on the CIA’s buddy-buddy relationship with an emigre community which was spinning clueless fantasies for their own self-entertainment.  Even Gore knew that the day of reckoning was near, so I don’t buy this crap about “if Gore were President…”

    Look, capitalism is really a war on the planet.  War is capitalism by other means.

  3. I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we’re really talking about peace.

    George W. Bush

    Is it because the clocks are striking thirteen??

  4. one of the things that’s always bothered me about the debate over the military budget (to the extent that such a debate even exists) is that the hawks are always able to somehow paint the doves as idealistic. but in fact, for all that you stated (and more), the doves are really the pragmatists.

    if we could put an end to war, the resources saved could give all sorts of people the chance to have their wishes granted. war is the lousiest investment we can possibly make; bullets, tanks, fighter jets, missiles… they’re not USEFUL. all they can do is destroy things, and in so doing set people back farther than they already were. it’s just so tragic all the things this country does in the name of “defense”. with all the money burned, it’s not “defense”, it’s self-destruction.

    • kj on March 20, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    “Chicago Sun Times Recognizes Blogger Kayakbiker and Blog Docudharma… (film at 11)”


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