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HOW DID ABORTION RIGHTS COME TO THIS?  — Carol Hanisch charts how the right to an abortion began to erode shortly after the Roe v. Wade decision; Uber vs. the Cabbies: Ben Terrall reports on the threats posed by private car services; Remembering August 1914: Binoy Kampmark on the enduring legacy of World War I; Medical Marijuana: a Personal Odyssey: Doug Valentine goes in search of medicinal pot and a good vaporizer; Nostalgia for Socialism: Lee Ballinger surveys the longing in eastern Europe for the material guarantees of socialism. PLUS: Paul Krassner on his Six Dumbest Decisions; Kristin Kolb on the Cancer Ward; Jeffrey St. Clair on the Making of the First Un-War; Chris Floyd on the Children of Lies and Mike Whitney on why the war on ISIS is really a war on Syria.
Now They Want a Bloody Temple There – Really

From Jerusalem, Yet Another Great Leap Backwards


Before World War I shattered the illusion, it was widely assumed in the West that wars between European powers — and in the Americas and perhaps also in eastern Asia – were on their way to becoming relics of a less civilized past.

Over the centuries, Catholic theologians had developed theories of war: of when and how wars can be just, and when and how the means used to fight them can be morally acceptable. The positions they advanced enjoyed broad acceptance throughout Europe and, in due course, throughout much of the world.

It was therefore taken for granted nearly everywhere that wars can rightfully be fought for limited purposes only, that they must not directly involve non-combatants, that violent means should be proportional to the ends they are used to achieve, and that intentional efforts to terrorize civilian populations are morally unacceptable.

Colonial wars were the exception. In the aftermath of the European conquests of the Americas and Australasia, with the Atlantic slave trade still inscribed in the collective consciousness of North Americans and Europeans, and with all major capitalist states hell bent on establishing or expanding overseas empires, liberal, progressive thinkers in Europe and the United States, and in Britain’s white dominions and Japan, regarded the “natives” of the lands they subjugated as sub-human “others” to whom moral constraints hardly apply.

But in the “civilized” West, war was considered nearly obsolete, and the kinds of wars that had besmirched humanity’s past from time immemorial – wars inspired by religious fervor – were thought already to have faded into the deep recesses of historical memory.

For Europe in the hundred years or so between the Napoleonic wars and World War I, this was a source of pride, as well it should have been. With few exceptions — the Crimean War (1853-1856) was one, the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871) another – Europe had passed through a century of peace.

By far the bloodiest and most deadly war of the entire period, the American Civil War (1861-1865), did not even take place on European soil.

It had not always been so. In the aftermath of the Protestant Reformation, large swathes of the European continent endured devastating wars of religion. The seemingly endless cascade of horrors only ended when the contending sides had fought each other to exhaustion.

In the ensuing years, faith waned, making tolerance easier. But the historical memory remained. No one wanted the turmoil of those years, or anything like it, to recur. No one thought that it would.

Even when war did erupt after the chain of diplomatic miscalculations that came to a head with the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, no one expected that it would last very long, and no...

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