Here’s another way of making a point I’ve made in my remarks about Normblog’s position on the Iraq war.
Everyone agrees that North Korea is ruled by a vile regime, as vile at Saddam’s Ba’ath party was. But as far as I can tell neither Norm nor anyone on the pro-war left has advocated just going in and attacking North Korea.
And rightly so: For one, the human costs of such a plan rule it out immediately.
But they do not accuse themselves of failing to “resist evil” when they fail to advocate a war against North Korea, as they do accuse the anti-war left for failing to advocate a war against Iraq.
Now, I think that the obvious and immediate risks of attacking North Korea are considerably more daunting than the obvious and immediate risks of attacking Iraq were prior to the war. But I think that if you take a hard look at the likely long term consequences of the war in Iraq, there’s a good case to be made for the view that the cases are considerably closer than a first glance might suggest.
So here’s one thing worth noting: That last observation is a non-moral claim, in the sense that it’s a predictive claim about how things are likely to turn out, not about how they ought to turn out. And here’s the next thing: If Norm and other had accepted this non-moral claim, their position on the war against Iraq might well have been the same as their position on North Korea, i.e., don’t do it.
And that despite the fact that they – and we – are all anxious to resist evil.