Walzer: Still Alternatives to War

Michael Walzer on " The Right Way" to oppose war in Iraq (New York Review of Books, 3/13/03):

We say of war that it is the "last resort" because of the unpredictable, unexpected, unintended, and unavoidable horrors that it regularly brings. In fact, war isn't the last resort, for "lastness" is a metaphysical condition, which is never actually reached in real life: it is always possible to do something else, or to do it again, before doing whatever it is that comes last. The notion of lastness is cautionary??" but this is a necessary caution: look hard for alternatives before you "let loose the dogs of war."

Right now, even at this last minute, there still are alternatives, and that is the best argument against going to war. I think that it is a widely accepted argument, even though it isn't easy to march with. What do you write on the placards? What slogans do you shout? We need a complicated campaign against the war, whose participants are ready to acknowledge the difficulties and the costs of their politics.

Or, better, we need a campaign that isn't focused only on the war (and that might survive the war)??"a campaign for a strong international system, organized and designed to defeat aggression, to stop massacres and ethnic cleansing, to control weapons of mass destruction, and to guarantee the physical security of all the world's peoples.