As our country lent our military support toward Libya, voices were heard from all sides of the issue on America entering this war. I had my own rationale for support of Libya, being that our history owed its allegiance to balancing the disproportionate voice of Muammar’s loyalists that bloodily silenced the Libyan cries for freedom from tyranny, trampling their neophyte flags of democracy.
Opposition rang out that there is never cause for pursuing war, that all war is instigated by evil, and that Libya is not a righteous purpose for an American call to arms. Although our country has only declared war five times, I intend to reflect on war’s broader sense, armed conflicts in which one state imposes its will on another.
Humankind’s darker nature has always been to impose our will on others. In fact, all religions have recorded that man is driven by lust, greed, rage, envy, vainglory, and hubris, to aggressively take what others have gainfully acquired. As technology and civilizations have advanced, war is ultimately the tool that has best bent the will of nations.
From the beginnings of such great city states as Sumer in 2,700 B.C. until today, parallel development of technologies and cultures has enabled men to use war to feed their unsatiated desire for power, wealth, subjugation and slavery of others. As each empire from the Egyptians through the Persians, Romans, and Ottomans rose and fell, expanding armies and improved logistics increased geographies of conquest to eventually subjugate the earth’s known limits.
Earlier Americans were not the exception. After having penned the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, we also recorded for posterity our malevolent aggressions. Armed with euro-centric land charter rights, we justified pacification of natives. We offered biblical verses to justify all manners of sin in the institution of slavery, supplied by warring African nations. We claimed Manifest Destiny to take land from the Mexicans as we completed our expansion westward. And with the industrial revolution, we acquired the capital and technology to exert our wills on “lesser civilizations” through colonization and banana wars.
While history’s wars of aggression have mostly been thrust upon the world by power lust rulers and capitalists attempting to garner military objectives for their own ends, wars have also been waged to free people from tyranny. Since man’s darker nature will always exist, all nations must be able to defend themselves against the aggressions of others, and when oppression comes from within, the governed must ultimately, if by no other means, defend against despotism.
America’s military action in Libya was to defend humankind to this end, to free Libyans from the bleakness to which the world is capable. Libya is within the moral subset of war that justifies force against institutions of evil purpose. For this reason, modern nations must support standing armies.
The existence of an army however leads to the temptation of a corrupting use of its force. Abraham Lincoln in his comments regarding the Mexican-American war stated, “Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This our Convention understood to be the most oppressive of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us.”
If the mere existence of a standing army tempts its corrupting use, it is understandable that the third world is wary of the greatest military force ever known. America’s 20th century exercises were mixed with both historic defense of freedom and support of hegemonic expansion. However, as we placed bases in over 700 locations worldwide, our transition to the world’s first and sole superpower was also a witness to the transfer of our military’s aggressive purpose to multinational corporations (MNC).
Having created a plateau of peak world stability over the past three decades, the United States military has also created the perception of less need for its presence. As such, MNCs have perceived less value in militaries to accomplish their purpose. If the aggressive purpose of militaries was to take the spoils of other nations by force, this purpose has been transferred to the MNCs, who accomplish this task without bloodshed. Man’s darker nature has created a modern wealth extraction mechanism that has far exceeded the capability of war.
Global financial, communication and operational technologies allow a hyper-concentration and fungibility of capital by MNCs that subdue the governance of democracies, autocracies and theocracies. They thwart the efforts of communism and socialism to redistribute their power. They have conquered most nations on earth and have aligned the productive means of much of mankind to their will.
While modern MNCs do employ mercenaries, and in fact some MNCs specialize in the field (i.e. Blackwater), MNCs are accomplishing more than any imperialistic state has been able to achieve through war. However, since the effects on mankind are similar, the definition of war may need to expand to the forces employed by these new virtual states. America is also being subjugated by the darker nature of men. This modern MNC warfare is upon us and we should arm ourselves before its tyranny bends us to its will.