Andy McNab says yes, Mark Kurlansky says noby Andy McNab and Mark Kurlansky / November 14, 2018 / Leave a comment
Yes: I have respect for well-meaning people who say, “it’s never right to kill.” The pacifist is a person of great bravery—but also naivety. Maybe they have had the good fortune of never experiencing anything that has forced them to question their belief. Clearly, they have never faced a force-on-force encounter, otherwise their moral stance would have resulted in them being dead.
Killing for domination, and ultimately for survival, is partly the reason why we are so successful as a species. Killing each other is part of the human experience and history has shown that mankind has always had a fascination with it.
Roman gladiatorial combat was barbaric, but it fulfilled a societal need. That need is still with us. According to US research, the average 18-year-old teenage boy has been subjected to approximately 22,000 killings of their fellow human beings on film, television and computer games. Death and combat have long been viewed as a form of entertainment. But killing is not just about people destroying each other. It can solve problems.
Would the Haitian slave rebellion of 1781 have been successful if the slaves had decided to join together as a union to demand freedom? Would their peaceful threats to withdraw their labour from the sugar cane fields unless their French owners gave in to their demands have been successful? I think not. The rebellion would have failed and even more slaves would have been killed. It would have been the only way the French could have solved the problem. We celebrate the slaves’ success now with the benefit of hindsight and regard the event as the start of abolition. Much like the fight against Hitler and fascism, the only way to win is to match the force and violence we face.
As the quote often attributed to Winston Churchill says: “You cannot reason with a tiger when your head is in its mouth.”
No: Your argument was in its deepest trouble when you quoted Winston Churchill, a war monger who was one of the causes of the Second World War, despite claims to the contrary. Yes, Hitler could have been stopped without violence as the Danish demonstrated. As the Czechs demonstrated against the Soviet Union in 1989, as the Indians demonstrated against a brutal, racist regime (which Churchill led) that thought…