Cathy Young was making a lot of sense in this column, and then she said this:
The “Good War,” like the Good Book, can be put in the service of any agenda. Conservatives invoke it to justify military action: “What about Hitler?” is a devastating, if clichÃ©, rebuttal to the pacifist insistence that there is never a good reason to start a war [bold mine-DL].
No doubt pacifists are also against starting wars, because they are theoretically against all wars, which is why very few people even claim to be pacifists. In any case, this is an odd thing to say. Why is the insistence that there is never a good reason to start a war a pacifist one? The example of Hitler does not provide support for the idea of starting a war. Indeed, a large number of his crimes involved starting a war and unleashing all of the evils that follow from that, which one might think would provide support for an argument against starting wars. When it comes to discussing whether or not a state should start a war, can anyone actually offer a good reason? This seems unlikely, as there is nothing good in aggressive warfare. So the response in this case doesn’t seem devastating at all.