Earlier I had written about some concepts in Danilo Zolo’s Victory Justice specifically some concepts from the first chapter of the book. Namely how the United Nations has justified war for the United States.
I just finished reading the book and I am fairly happy with it. The language at time gets a little flowery however I am going to partly excuse that considering I am reading the English translation from Italian.
The English translation version I have is published by Verso Books which prides itself in paying it’s intern in New York a ‘living wage’, and describes itself as “Verso Books is the largest independent, radical publishing house in the English-speaking world, publishing one hundred books a year.” Their catalog of books includes various socialist/communists like Rosa Luxembourg, Karl Marx and Slavoj Žižek to name just a few. Danilo Zolo according to the Italian Wikipedia page translation has written for an Italian newspaper of ‘communist origin’.
Despite his leftist leanings and the publication that published the English version the book does not come off that way at all. It’s very objective and harshly criticizes the Nuremberg Trials which convicted and killed and imprisoned several top National Socialist collaborators. Very surprising considering how many far leftist justify violence against anyone right of John McCain on the basis that they are a ‘Nazi’. The only part that comes off as leftist is his knowledge of the far left literature about definitions of Empire and the view of several seemingly obscure far leftists. However even then, it’s used to further the conversation and not simply to create incestuousness academic work.
The book is very critical of war and the criticizes the UN for being an agent of legitimizing war. Moreover, he attacks the idea of a ‘just’ or ‘humanitarian’ war for ‘human rights’. He gives a very damming argument against those who promote war for those causes on page 83,
…modern warfare is itself the most radical negation of the rights of individuals, starting from the right to life. In fact modern war, conducted with ever more sophisticated and lethal weapons of mass destruction, is incommensurate with the categories of ethics and law. Its raison d’etre is to destroy-irrespective of any sense of proportion, discrimination or degree-the life, property and rights of individuals, with no regard to personal responsibility. It is, in practice, the implementation of a collective capital punishment on the basis of the presumed criminal responsibility of all a nation’s citizens. In terms of its consequences, modern warfare cannot in fact be easily distinguished from terrorism. And it is clear that these arguments are all the more complementing when addressed to advocates of the universality of human rights.
essentially he is saying “how can a war be for human rights when it systematically destroys human rights.”
The book is simply amazing in taking apart arguments about a ‘good war.’ He is also very good at criticizing how war has turned into total war where onside humiliates the other side and largely used a way for the US to increase its global power. No longer can one with honor in war that once was possible since the weaker nation is made subject to ad hoc courts that have no legal basis sentencing the leaders of the weaker nation to death or other various sentences.
In addition Zolo lobs various attacks on the preventative “war on terror.” He asks the question of who really is the terrorist, the US and co. who destroy innocent people’s way of life or the people who react to the US and co. destroying their way of life?
One problem I do have is one quote where he says “For the primary, if not exclusive, source of international terrorism is the excessive power of the new, highly civilized ‘cannibals’, who are white, Christian and Western.” (137) However, Zolo had been for the last few pages leading up to this line been talking about how Alan Dershowitz has been promoting the war on terrorism. Dershowitz it’s as Jewish as one can be. He literally wrote a book called The Vanishing American Jew in response to his son marrying a Catholic woman. Moreover, he has recieved various accolades from various Jewish organizations. How ‘white’ and ‘Christian’ is Alan Dershowitz.
Aside from that and perhaps various other slight problems the books is a very good read to understand how modern war is. It is legally sanctioned by the United Nations for the United States and it’s allies to increase their hegemony under the guise of ‘International Law’ or ‘Human Rights’ or whatever buzz word they use.