Force as a `Last Resort'

OFTEN one hears the argument "Force should be used only as the last resort." This makes people feel good, and it sounds statesmanlike. In fact, I feel strongly that it is poor public policy and an unsound application of the law. The use of force, and the credible threat of the use of force, are legitimate instruments of national policy and should be viewed as such. Waiting to use force as a last resort [in Grenada] would have meant possibly enduring hostage taking and having to use force then. The use of

force obviously should not be taken lightly, but better to use force when you should rather than when you must; last means no other, and by that time the level of force and the risk involved may have multiplied many times over.

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