For once, Americas craziest Neurosurgeon, Ben Carson, says something thats not crazy.
For once, America's craziest neurosurgeon, Ben Carson, says something that's not crazy. Christopher Halloran/Shutterstock

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When it comes to thinking about the prominent black figures in the GOP, I always recall the title of a '70s British sitcom: Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em. The GOP does seem to 'av all of 'em—the craziest of the black crazies: Alan Keyes, Herman Cain, and now Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon who is considering running for the top political position in 2016 and is in the habit of saying the most outrageous things. However, Carson's "recent endorsement of war crimes" on the grounds that “there is no such thing as a politically correct war" is not, at bottom, nuts. For once, the batty geezer is as sound and knowing as the "owl of Minerva."

There are really no rules in war, no order, no conventions, no crimes. War is only about one thing: winning. This is why the only kind of victory there is in war is a Pyrrhic victory. This is why it must be avoided at all costs. We must never have the illusion that war is something that can be humanely managed. Once it begins, the gates of hell are flung open: the killing of children, the destruction of crops and natural resources, the detonation of chemical weapons, the pillaging, the torture, the rape. In war, none of these are crimes. In war, all is permitted. You are even free to drop a nuclear weapon on a city.

"If you’re gonna have rules for war, you should just have a rule that says no war. Other than that, we have to win." This is Carson. This is not crazy talk. War always happens outside of humanity.