For One Democratic State
in the whole of Palestine (Israel)


FOR One Man, One Vote



Setting Just Limits to New Methods of Warfare

In light of the history of warfare – both the discovery and development of new armaments and the passionate use of “armed ideologies” – it is a moral certitude that unexpected new combinations of advanced science will be applied technocratically in future forms of war. These new weaponized technologies – in both lethal and non-lethal forms – will also, most probably, be used in police work, peace operations, and “neo-imperial constabulary actions” along the borders of Empire, on the ambiguous frontiers of conflicting and alien civilizations and religious cultures. It will be very difficult to set and keep humane moral limits in such a fevered dialectical context of ideology and technology. The long-developing and self-destructive movement towards “total war” – or what some recent Chinese military thinkers have called “unrestricted warfare” – will take us to the foundations of our existence.

A strategic-minded British general saw this with piercing clarity more than a half-century ago. Almost five years before his death – after a long, active, and reflective life – Major General J.F.C. Fuller (1878–1966) published The Conduct of War, 1789-1961: A Study of the Impact of the French, Industrial, and Russian Revolutions on War and Its Conduct.[1] It is a far-sighted and paradigmatic book, which General Fuller himself was inclined to consider as the most important he had written.[2]

It examined the long-growing and destructively cumulative developments in society towards new forms of war – forms that were increasingly unlimited, ambiguous, and intentionally undefined; and, hence, more and more coldly abstract and impersonal and altogether conducive to barbarism and civilizational disaster. Moreover, he saw these great evils growing within the feverish atmosphere and manipulated mass-psychology of “democratic governance,” further exacerbated by revolutionary new techniques and purposes of total wars that required the humiliating unconditional surrender of a defeated people. That “absolute surrender” of a whole people (not just of their government) was preparatory to their protracted “re-education” (Umerziehung in German). It was as if a defeated criminal nation (ein Tätervolk) needed social-engineering or a demiurgic transformation into something “new,” which was often then euphemistically called “nation-building.”

For example, General Fuller’s important Chapter XI, entitled “Soviet Revolutionary Warfare,” speaks about the Soviets’ deceitful use of “Peace as an Instrument of Revolution.” This could also be applied today to new forms of American “Messianic Democracy” and its policies abroad of so-called “creative destruction” and “democratic transformation” abroad.

Based upon the twin premises that there are no technical solutions to moral problems, and that whoever is himself morally and spiritually uprooted tends to uproot others, we shall examine in this essay the moral difficulty of setting and preserving properly proportional limits in the just conduct of modern war.

It is certainly the case that setting moral limits is always a profoundly human problem, and so is the keeping of proper limits in war – especially under the stress of war. And here is where the self-understanding provided by the virtues becomes important. For it a function of the four cardinal virtues – prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance – to foster wise limits and to develop dispositions or habits of promptness, constancy, and fitting moderation. There are, however, no “techniques” that can be truly substituted for the virtues, which are themselves ordered perfections of common human potentialities (powers or capacities). And the virtues themselves presuppose human free will and voluntariness, and, as a consequence, moral responsibility and moral accountability.

Setting just limits in the matter of going to war (ad bellum) and in the matter of the conduct and fitting conclusion of war (in bello) is, indeed, a great challenge to our intellectual and moral life, especially amidst the changing conditions and experimental atmosphere of modern science and technology. The French, Industrial, and Bolshevik Revolutions, so keenly analyzed by General Fuller, have disposed us more and more towards “total war.” But applied modern science now goes even further.

For example, if a country decides to use, as an offensive weapon, a “computer network attack” against an opponent, what constitutes a legitimate military target? Moreover, in long-range “strategic information warfare,” what constitutes a licit military target? Can one attack an enemy’s financial institutions or stock market? Who is a combatant and who is a non-combatant in the new field of “modern information warfare,” which according to an unclassified definition of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), entails “disruption, destruction, or deception in information systems”? And how does one know when one is even under attack in “strategic information warfare”? What, indeed, are the “indications and warnings” of an actual or impending assault? What is our criterion of judgment so as to aid our just response according to the principles of discrimination and proportionality?

To shed further light on some of these matters, we may well apply the concept of General Fuller’s finely differentiated book, not only thereby to illuminate certain contemporary developments in warfare, but also to anticipate its likely future forms. Just as the science and technology of the Industrial Revolution was resourcefully applied to warfare, so, too, will our own more advanced (and less respectful) culture of science and technology be further applied to war – for example, in the military-strategic application of the “information sciences,” and of neuroscience, psycho-neurolinguistics, biotechnology, nanotechnology, micro-encapsulation, and robotics – and often in combination or by way of “consilience” (which is the more technical concept for “combination” used by Professor E.O. Wilson, the emeritus Harvard sociobiologist). Just imagine how difficult it will be to set and to keep humane, moral limits in the application to warfare of “the Revolution in Molecular Biology,” especially when its subtle means of manipulation in genetic engineering are applied against soft economic targets such as crops, livestock, and vulnerable agricultural infrastructure.

Consider, for example, how new methods of direct and indirect strategic warfare could be applied, not only against the “soft agricultural targets” of a prosperous and peaceful nation, but also against the illegal drug crops of certain “narco-democracies” and their para-militaries (or well-armed, narco-criminal organizations). To what extent would a camouflaged, subversive attack on the three main illegal drug crops (poppy, coca, marihuana) be a legally and morally permissible form of warfare, even as a new form of biological warfare or “biological police work”? Or, would this subtle form of indirect subversion be considered by the “narco-trafficantes” (and their money-launderers) as an act of war – at least an act of economic or financial warfare – that would provoke their reprisals, even their reckless vengeance? For example, what if these foreign “narco-trafficantes” were in turn to attack the United States’ geographically concentrated (but not very well protected) veterinary breed stocks of pigs or cattle and the like? If there were such a reprisal, it would certainly be exponentially destructive of the American economy and its international trade.

And let us consider another trenchant example: the ambiguous phenomenon of “bio-remediation.” Since bio-remediation is now not only permissible and legal, but also warmly approved, even by the global Green Movement, we may now unexpectedly face a new and dangerous dual-use technology.

Because bio-remediation has greatly helped in environmental clean up and the dissolution of large amounts of normally insoluble trash, we are much less cautious about its potential for misuse. Bio-remediation makes use of very potent and specially engineered micro-organisms, which are very effective in cleaning up the contamination from large oil slicks or spills, as well as in helping to dissolve the almost intractable amount of world trash and other forms of contaminated waste.

However, these same, very potent solvents of trash and of oil spills could also be put to other uses: for example, as an “anti-materièl biological weapon” against private or commercial vehicles, or against buildings or other forms of a society’s critical infrastructure. How does one defend against such actual or potential threats? How does one even speak about them without producing what we are purportedly trying to defend against, namely moral paralysis and inaction, or a self-sabotaging sense of futility and despair? These are indeed very difficult matters, which take us to the deeper roots of our common life together in this fragile and vulnerable, and often precarious, world.

The use or abuse of bio-remediation depends upon the intention and the moral purpose of the user. Bio-remediation certainly is an equivocal “dual-use” or “multiple-use” capacity. But how should one – how could one – even legislate against its potential, easily performed, misuse? Indeed, there are no technical solutions to moral problems. And there are no litigious solutions to moral problems. (As the Greek dramatist, Aristophanes, saw many years ago during the tragic Peloponnesian War (431–404 B.C.), a society which primarily relies upon litigious sanctions alone is deeply disordered, decadent, and doomed.)

In more concrete terms, let us imagine that the U.S Government had the hostile desire to go after a belligerent foreign leaders’s private bank accounts, which are located in a third country that is far away from the one he currently rules. For example, imagine that a Serbian leader had bank accounts on the divided Greco-Turkish island of Cyprus, in neutral Switzerland, and in one or more of the African or Caribbean “offshore islands.” Would any of the bank accounts of this leader – or those of any of his close friends – be a proper (i.e., legitimate) military target? Would this not be a special way of influencing this foreign leader (and his friends) in an efficient and “non-bloody” manner, by snatching or destroying their cherished personal (and perhaps ill-gotten) assets? Should the United States be allowed – or allow itself –with or without the permission of its “coalition partners,” to use its “special technical operations” and subtle “information warfare tools” against such soft financial targets in a non-cooperative and non-consenting third country? Even in a historically neutral country, like Switzerland, which has very strict bank privacy laws and protections of anonymity?

What are the morally and legally permissible Rules of Engagement (ROE)? And who sets them, and by what authority? For example, if the United States is acting as part of a coalition, who finally establishes the just “rules of engagement” in a timely way – and on what grounds? What are the criteria and standards of judgment? Moreover, may one country in the coalition – a more technologically advanced country, for example – take the initiative to operate unilaterally? Or, would going after a foreign leader’s civilian bank accounts be, indeed, a “war crime”?

That is to say, may one country’s “technological crown jewels,” i.e., its special technical operations (STO), be used against an enemy leader’s personal “crown jewels”? Or is this form of attack another promiscuous opening to “unrestricted warfare,” indeed a further development of self-sabotaging “total war”?

Furthermore, if, in waging modern war as part of a coalition of multi-cultural allies, the United States will soon be legally and politically required to establish and sustain interoperability with its less technologically sophisticated partners, what then? Will the U.S. – should the U.S. – have to “dim down” and “dumb down” its own sophisticated technological capacities in order to be more co-operative and “inter-operative”? But, if the U.S. “dumbs down,” can it then reliably fight with the same precision and combat efficiency, and with the same discriminating care for an enemy’s non-combatant population and other non-military targets? On the premise that “we fight the way we train,” how, therefore, should the United States train? Should we train for “coalition warfare” with our more unsophisticated, low-tech, multi-cultural (or multi-religious) partners? However, if we “dumb down” too much, we will then become more un-coordinated, disarticulated, and clumsy, if not effectively paralyzed or catatonic.

But if the U.S. does not “dumb down” its capacities, but, rather, tries to operate most efficiently, humanely, and discriminatingly, it will probably be seen as operating with “arrogant unilateralism” – not only by its enemies, but also by its coalition partners. Indeed, the emerging “American Imperium” will be then regarded more and more as a “rogue superpower” which intends to inflict upon others its own essentially unaccountable ROE; and to claim special immunities from criminal prosecution, for example, at the International Criminal Court. (Indeed, the United States, like China, does not at all endorse, and has emphatically not ratified, the International Criminal Court as it now stands, because of its arguably promiscuous and unbounded claims for retroactive legal jurisdiction in “war crimes” and other acts of purported criminality.)

Under modern conditions of war and peace, moreover, there is an unmistakable “seam” between war and criminality. This was true historically of the relationship – or seam – between piracy and irregular (or unconventional or privateer) naval warfare, as with the British operations against the Spanish Empire. Are “privateers” pirates, or unconventional “special operations forces” of a naval power?

As a contemporary example of this “seam” between war and criminality, let us consider what might happen if the Colombian “narco-trafficantes” are found to be using nuclear submarines, and operating off the coast of California in order to ship their drugs into the Western Hemisphere. What if these nuclear submarines are not operated by Colombian crews, but by foreign mercenary crews (e.g., Russians)? Is this a matter for law-enforcement agencies alone, or is it also a matter of national security, thereby requiring the actual or potential engagement, and the permanent attentiveness, of our armed forces – including our own naval Special Operations Forces?

And there is a further challenge. Given the new missions of the U.S. Northern Command (which includes NORAD – the former North American Aerospace Defense Command – and therefore our Canadian allies, as well as many of our own new “space assets”), to what extent is it permissible for the Commanding Officer of Northern Command (a four-star general or admiral) to conduct military-intelligence operations within his own assigned (and presumably legitimate) “Area of Responsibility” (AOR), since most of his AOR is within the continental United States? Can he, for example, legitimately use the National Security Agency (NSA) domestically, even with a cover from the FBI?

That is to say, to what extent is such a military commander still restricted by the strict prohibitions of the U.S. Constitution concerning domestic military and intelligence operations? And how far should he be limited or hampered in his newly assigned military and counter-terrorist missions? For it is indispensably important to a military commander that he not be “blind” or “deaf” about what is happening in his assigned AOR, especially when he is expected, and obligated, to conduct sensitive military operations within that same territorial (or geographical) area. This is a very serious matter. Like reality, it will not go away, even when we stop thinking about it.

There is a further difficulty for a military commander today when faced with the phenomenon of terrorism. To what extent is terrorism itself an act of war – indeed, an act of irregular, subversive, “asymmetrical” warfare – as distinct from an act of criminality? And what are the military commander’s proper ROE, especially on U.S. territory, as in the case of the assigned missions of Northern Command, whose headquarters are in Colorado Springs, Colorado? How is a country to have national security under the conditions of modern technology and travel without becoming an asphyxiating, intrusive police state? Modern criminal syndicates and para-military “terrorist networks,” for example, often have very sophisticated encryption systems (as well as deceptive new forms of “stegonography”) that, perhaps, only NSA can detect and break!

Setting and keeping just limits in the combat against terrorism is also made difficult by the abstractness and equivocal nonspecificity of the term. Terrorism is certainly much more undefined than, for example, the strategic and psychological method of German warfare known as “Blitzkrieg.” In World War II, however, it would have been very strange indeed if we had called our intervention a “Global War on Blitzkrieg. So, too, it is strange and confusing to speak now of a “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT). For terrorism, like Blitzkrieg, is a method and strategy of warfare – and terrorism itself is a form of political struggle and psychological warfare. But, we may ask, how is one ever going to defeat “psychological warfare” or the method of “terrorism”? And how will we know we have won – what is our measure of victory? Conversely, how will we know whether we have lost, or whether we even seem to be losing? What are our proper criteria and standards of judgment? Furthermore, what kind of war is this “war against terrorism”? Carl von Clausewitz profoundly observed that the most important question to be soberly asked and honestly answered before one deliberately enters into a war – or after one unexpectedly discovers himself already at war – is, “What is the kind of war we are in”? For it is true that if someone is at war with you – even if you don’t know it – you’re at war! Reality is that which does not go away, even when you stop thinking about it.

So in this purported GWOT, who is the enemy? What are we trying to protect, and why? What can we afford to lose, and how much will it cost us? Furthermore, what is our measure of “cost” – and not just of the material cost, but also of the moral cost, and the long-term spiritual cost?

Moreover, one cannot evaluate the appropriateness of one’s means towards a specific and just end when one does not have any clarity about the end itself, or the objective one is pursuing. What, for example, is the specific objective – the specific end – of this GWOT, and what are the most appropriate and well-disciplined means towards this end? To what extent, for example, will covert, pre-emptive, counter-terrorist operations (hence preventative, aggressive “interdictions”) further conduce to “total war”?

In the long and articulate Western doctrinal tradition of just war, it is essential and indispensable to have, first of all, clear, specific, and finite aims in order to evaluate whether or not a particular war is morally just. If these aims are undefined, vague, or even intentionally equivocal and ambiguous, then one cannot rationally measure how one’s chosen means are conducive to achieving those ends. How can one measure the rightness and the efficacy of one’s means for attaining a good end when the end itself is often so suspiciously – even irrationally – undefined? Especially when that end is remote, receding, changing, and very vaguely open-ended? Such a capriciously amorphous end appears to be a method of evasion, and may constitute what the Germans lucidly call “eine Flucht nach vorne” (“a fleeing forward”). Such an evasion of hard thinking and clarity is an act of grave irresponsibility, if not also an intrinsic act of irrationality.

It is, in any case, hard to pass the test of a just war, to meet all of the criteria. It is even harder to pass the test when the test keeps changing. That is to say, when the criteria themselves are ambiguously and equivocally manipulated, and when we employ the presumptuous and dishonest “shifting-standards” approach, i.e., applying a laxer standard to ourselves, and a stricter standard to others.[3] It is an act of cynicism, indeed, a cynical flippancy; and it is always a temptation (an alluring incentive to evil and to consequent disorder) to respond to the stresses of war by saying, with a Machiavellian smirk: “Well, if you can’t pass the test, change the test!” Yet it is a temptation to say just that: “If we can’t pass the test, we’ll change the test.” (A temptation wouldn’t be a temptation if it weren’t attractive!) Our current GWOT has provided an example of, and altogether too much “maneuver room” for, such cynical manipulations of language. And it has led to our self-sabotaging over-extensions of self-deception and blinding intellectual pride, whereby we may soon be further “strutting to our confusion.”

For example, by attacking Iraq the U.S. has actually aided Osama bin Laden. If he is still alive (perhaps somewhere in Pakistan or western, Muslim-permeated China), he must be very happy about how the United States took the “bait” and helped him radicalize the Muslim world against us. By our attacking into Iraq and removing the regime of the secular Arab Ba’athists, the U.S., it would seem, aided and abetted Osama bin Laden’s long-range plans. Indeed, the U.S. has effectively acted as a proxy force – though perhaps unwittingly – to advance the military strategic and grand-strategic plans of bin Laden and his collaborators. The United States’ pre-emptive intrusion into Iraq has fomented a global Islamist insurgency against the United States and its allies. It is now likely that the United States is even more hated and despised in the Muslim world than the Israelis, and we are also perceived to be more vulnerable to attack.

Furthermore, as a result of our “GWOT,” in combination with our aggressive war against Iraq and our precarious occupation, the United States is now even more centrifugally over-extended abroad and at home. And we are thereby more multifariously vulnerable to a wide range of “asymmetrical attacks” by way of reprisal and vengeance. The Muslims know that if they do certain things to Israel directly, Israel will turn Mecca and Medina into dust! The Muslim world, however, does not fear such desecrating responses or vengeful reprisals from the United States.

Indeed, the United States is perceived by many in the Muslim world (as well as in China) to be truly weak and incapable of long-range, sustained operations. In Fritz Kraemer’s memorable words, the United States is perceived to have the problem of “provocative weakness” – i.e., we are so weak (or are perceived to be so weak) that we are provocative to others! Just as China has long called the United States a “Paper Tiger,” so, too, we are seen to be a “Rogue Superpower,” but with clay feet.

Such a vulnerable strategic and moral position, whether actually or only seemingly so, will likely make it more difficult for the United States to set just limits in the conduct of its various wars and expeditionary interventions. Moreover, to the extent that the increasingly secularized, feverishly messianic, but post-Christian and apostate United States wages large-scale “cultural warfare,” or engages in the “clash of civilizations,” against a growing, global Islamist insurgency, it will be even more difficult for us to set and to keep just limits both in our initiation and in our conduct of war. Many latent religious (or ideological) passions will be inflamed in combination with dangerous new forms of high-technology weapons.

Such a war will likely be a long-range religious war – and not just a “Hundred-Years War” – at least on the Muslim side. And if someone is at war with you – especially if he is in a religious war with you – even if you do not know it, you are at war! Remember, reality is that which does not go away even if you stop thinking about it. (Trotsky is supposed to have said: “You might not be interested in war, but war is very interested in you!”) An increasingly secularized American political culture, moreover, cannot easily take the measure of foreign religious cultures or “world-views” – an incapacity which might produce very tragic results.

The cultivation of the four traditional cardinal virtues – both intellectual and moral virtues – may at least alleviate the grave intellectual astigmatisms of the United States in its current grand-strategic vulnerability.

Also by way of strategic anticipation, one wise way to set and to keep limits in the conduct of war – whether one consciously chooses to enter into war or finds oneself already at war – is to cultivate the largely forgotten and often misrepresented first cardinal virtue of prudence (in Latin, Prudentia). This indispensable intellectual and moral virtue is rooted in “the knowledge of reality,” and no better introduction can be found to it than Josef Pieper’s little book, entitled, Prudence. [4]

As Dr. Pieper says:

To begin with, only the prudent man can be brave. Fortitude [i.e., the third cardinal virtue] without prudence is not fortitude.... To mention fortitude and prudence in the same breath seems in a measure to contradict modern man’s notion of prudence and also of fortitude. This is partially due to the fact that current usage does not designate quite the same thing by “prudence” as classical theology understood by prudentia [i.e., the virtue of far-sighted, practical wisdom] and discretio [i.e., intellectual discernment, tact, and disciplined discretion]. The term “prudence” has come to mean rather the slyness which permits the cunning and “shrewd” tactician to evade any dangerous risk to his person, and thus escape injury and even the possibility of injury. To us, prudence seems to be the false “discretion” and “cool consideration” conjured up by the coward in order to be able to shirk the test. To “prudence” thus conceived, fortitude seems plainly unwise or stupid (emphasis mine).[5]

Properly understood, the cardinal virtue of prudence means that truth must not be taboo – no matter where the truth comes from. For the truth is a “report from reality.” The virtue of prudence is rooted in “the knowledge of reality,” which is then morally converted to “the realization of the good” – and hence to the realization of the “common good” (the Bonum Commune), which is radically distinct from the mere “public interest” or the “national interest.” The good, as such, is much more inclusive and much more important than mere interest.

“In truth,” says Josef Pieper, “fortitude [especially in a protracted war!] becomes fortitude only through being ‘informed’ by prudence.”[6] That is to say, by the specific reality of things, the specific, concrete actualities of the real situation – without distortion and in proper proportion. True prudence, in its perception of reality, is not distorted by fevered (or messianic) ideologies or sentimentalities.

Because there is today so much manipulated selectivity, “spin,” and subtle censorship (as well as “self-censorship,” which is both fear-driven and intellectually stunting) in our public discourse about matters of great moment, the indispensable pre-conditions for truly practical wisdom are too often not existent. The exercise of the cardinal virtue of prudence is thereby stunted and stifled. It is a revealing sign, indeed, of the decomposition of discourse, and the pervasiveness of sophistry, and the subversion of Logos itself.

Others may give us an example of virtue, to inspire our own resilience and recovery. As a highly intelligent and robustly candid Israeli Jewish author recently said in his book, Flowers of Galilee: The Collected Essays of Israel Shamir, we must strive not only for “the liberation of Palestine” but also for “a broader goal as well: that of the liberation of Public Discourse.”[7] Shamir also introduces his own central thesis: “These essays attempt to prove the inherent connection between two liberation movements” (i.e., the liberation of Palestine, and the liberation of Public Discourse from the Lie, from one lie after another[8]). He, like Josef Pieper, strives to attain to and communicate the “knowledge of reality,” without lies, without deception, without specious sophistry. The realization of the good – the true common good – must be founded upon the knowledge of reality.

Wherever the truth is taboo, however, it will be even harder to set and keep just limits in war, especially in view of the alluring and often tempting, advanced methods and technologies of modern warfare. And sometimes – and increasingly so today it would seem – certain truths are so taboo, that you even can’t say that they’re taboo!

But, without our liberation from the lie, without the liberation of public discourse and a deeper respect for the Logos, we shall not only not set just limits to the new methods and weapons of war, but we shall also painfully perish from the asphyxiation of untruth.

As Alexsander Solzhenitsyn so courageously said, and vividly lived out in his own life, we must “come out from under the rubble,” and, even though we can take only one step at a time, “we must not participate in the lie.” The lie must not advance because of our co-operation or our negligence. Even if the truth is taboo, we must not be in complicity with the lie.

With respect to war and its moral limits, the burden of proof – the moral and legal onus probandi – must be on those who would destroy moral limits, on those who would remove limits or weaken any sense of a just moral limit in war and its aftermath. Truth matters – and so does the sober truth about modern weapons and methods of war, so many of which derive from our advanced sciences, often in “synergistic” combination or “consilience.” And their sophisticated technological applications and manipulations also include some very frightening, so-called “non-lethal weapons.”[9]

The combination of these new technologies with the intense passions of religious and cultural warfare could easily constitute a very dangerous and self-sabotaging “binary weapon.” If other ingredients are added – such as the new materialist ideologies of neuroscience and its applied eugenics of genetic engineering – this “binary weapon” could become a “ternary weapon” or a “quaternary weapon,” and therefore prove to be even more intractable and dangerously “self-replicating” – another contribution to the danger of “total war.”

After World War II, the French dramatist and philosopher, Gabriel Marcel, wrote a profound little book entitled, The Decline of Wisdom. In the year 2004, the decline has gone even further. Given this manifest decline of wisdom on many fronts, it is even more important for us today that our focus be on the matter of limits. And, once again, the burden of proof must be on those who would weaken or remove limits.

A few years ago, I visited a famous biological scientist, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in order to discuss with him various issues of advanced biological warfare. That man was Dr. Stuart Kaufman, who is also a scholar and theoretician of advanced “complexity theory.” He said to me, during our visit, “A signal can easily be turned into a poison.” Dr. Kaufman was speaking about the risks of a very steep “slippery slope” – a “biological slippery slope.” It includes the danger, at the “nano-scale level,” of ungovernable “self-replication,” especially in the manipulations of “molecular electronics.” And these new nanotechnologies are already being applied in preparation for future forms of warfare – a very dangerous development indeed.

Let the civilian lawmakers and warriors beware!

Let us come out from under the rubble and not live the lie. Let us refuse the sophistical seductions or prohibition of discourse that would deceive us and lure us to cross gravely perilous thresholds – irreversibly.

Modern military officers must have a very high standard of prudence and fortitude. They must not allow truth to be taboo. They must resist the lies and seductive sophistries of their civilian masters and their sometimes-fevered ideologies, which are “mind-forged manacles.” They must resist the lies and seductive sophistries that come sometimes even from their own fellow military leaders. And their public accountability must be kept very high, given the easily intractable effects of modern war and its fevered propensities to crack and to break limits; and to do it, often enough, with immoral and reckless abandon.


[1] J.F.C. Fuller, The Conduct of War, 1789–1961: A Study of the Impact of the French, Industrial, and Russian Revolutions on War and Its Conduct (New York: Da Capo Press 1992, first published in 1961).

[2] This view was conveyed by General Fuller to his friend and admirer, Brian Holden Reid, author of the book, J.F.C. Fuller: Military Thinker.

[3] See the forceful discussion by Noam Chomsky, on pp.      of the companion volume neo-Conned! Again, of the (sadly) all-too-typically American approach to foreign affairs that has employed a dual standard – one to America and one to its enemies – in pursuit of its aims.—Ed.

[4] (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 1960, translated from the German by Richard and Clara Winston).

[5] Josef Pieper, The Four Cardinal Virtues (Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1966), p. 123 – my emphasis added.

[6] Ibid. To “inform” here means both “to instruct” and “to give inner form to,” i.e., “its specific character as a virtue.”

[7] Israel Shamir, Flowers of Galilee (Tempe, Arizona: Dandelion Books, 2004), p. ix (from the author’s own Introduction to his Collected Essays).

[8] Ibid.

[9] See Malcom Dando, A New Form of Warfare: The Rise of Non-Lethal Weapons (Washington, D.C.: Brassey‘s, 1996); and also Dr. Dando’s book for the British Medical Association, entitled Biotechnology, Weapons and Humanity (Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1999), wherein he also discusses race-specific genetic weapons.