I am thankful that for every highly intelligent person who uses his intelligence to formulate logical postulations supporting the use of brute force by victims in their defense against aggression there are also highly intelligent people who find support for other less brutal measures. According to your article in the December 1995/January 1996 issue, the Bosnians, only interested in "purchas[ing] arms with which to defend themselves," are, by inference, the victims of aggression. Throughout history, victims, using the superiority of their ideology and their right to avenge themselves, when given opportunity and sufficient strength, often become aggressors. Though the Romanovs were certainly aggressors vis-A-vis the Russian peasant, the latter became aggressors in their own right when in power.
Dominant cultures use force to support their beliefs or, better still, pass laws which are, in effect, nothing more than reflections of their beliefs. Those who violate their laws offend the dominant power, become criminals and are punished. In the same issue of Port of Call, you quote, anonymously: "Civil statutes were used by the Nazis to arrest large numbers of citizens considered a threat to their absolute power.... Later ... the infrastructure needed to serve their genocidal intentions was already in hand." In other words, laws and armaments first used to "defend" themselves were later used for aggression. A gun has no morals and can be used for defense or aggression. Rhetoric, force, and laws also have no morals. They are merely demonstrations of power and can be used for any purpose, just or otherwise.
I support the use of intelligence to prove, however difficult it may be, that killing people, even to overpower the perpetrators of "injustice," is never just. Until such proof is forthcoming, by employing nonviolent means, I will stand against all perpetrators of death. A true hero of our time, Gandhi took a similar stand. He inferred, as do 1, that by using force in the name of justice we become sullied, and our conduct and motives are no longer morally pure.
The mediated settlement proposed for Bosnia by the Clinton Administration, though judged unfair by independent observers using standard principles of fairness, provides for the opportunity of a long-term solution which goes beyond the confines of short-term fairness. No amount of fairness will restore the lives and property of the innocent victims of aggression. Let us not use standard principles of fairness calling for solutions which, supporting the equal distribution of armaments, also support continued violence.
Warren A. Oskey