It's Religion and Altruism, Stupid: Take Two - The Objective Standard

Here is another good piece by Diana West, in which she correctly notes that

If we still valued our own men more than the enemy's and the "civilians" he hides among—and now I'm talking about the war in Iraq—our tactics would be totally different, and, not incidentally, infinitely more successful. We would drop bombs on city blocks, for example, not waste men in dangerous house-to-house searches. We would destroy enemy sanctuaries in Syria and Iran, not disarm "insurgents" at perilous checkpoints in hostile Iraqi strongholds.

That is the closest I've ever seen a conservative come to advocating proper (i.e., total) war against our enemy. Ms. West also correctly identifies, in part, what is stopping us from taking such action:

In the 21st century, however, there is something that our society values more than our own lives—and more than the survival of civilization itself. That something may be described as the kind of moral superiority that comes from a good wallow in Abu Ghraib, Haditha, CIA interrogations or Guantanamo Bay. Morally superior people—Western elites—never "humiliate" prisoners, never kill civilians, never torture or incarcerate jihadis. Indeed, they would like to kill, I mean, prosecute, or at least tie the hands of anyone who does.

What Ms. West does not realize—and the reason she does not put scare quotes around "moral superiority" as she should here—is that the problem is not only Western "elites" (i.e., liberals), but Western altruists. What Ms. West wants is a self-interested war as opposed to a self-sacrificial war, but unless one recognizes selfishness as moral and selflessness as immoral, one can neither consistently advocate nor intellectually defend such a position. . . .

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