One of the peculiarities géniales of Jean-Pierre Melville's extraordinary Army of Shadows, which chronicles a brief period in the life of a cell of the French Résistance in 1942, is this: no one gives a particular damn about France. They aren't nationalists. There's no talk of la gloire. When the cell's leader is smuggled into England and recieves a decoration from General de Gaulle, it's as a sort of absurdity. His companion wanders London, ducks almost accidentally into a nightclub where baby-faced British troops swing with pretty, uniformed girls while the bombs of the Blitz fall outside. The cell conducts two assassinations. Both of them are against traitors within their own organization. The action is almost devoid of politics. No liberté, égalité, fraternité. Struggle, secrecy, a meal here and there, hiding, killing, and ultimately being killed.
Jonathan Schwarz and James Wolcott both note the depressing, ritualistic demonization of "pacifism" from both of our political factions, noting likewise that those casting the anathemas rarely seem to grasp what pacifism actually is. Some time ago in comments here, a commenter of a lawyerly mindset tried to pin us all down, Perry Mason style, with the question of whether or not Monsieur IOZ believed that use of the American military was ever justified. The idea of asking such a question is to catch your humble blogauthor in a sort of contradiction, and to show that he is either a "blanket pacifist," to use Matthew Yglesias' bumbletongued term, or else has equally arbitrary, albeit different, standards and thresholds for killing people and blowing shit up.
The standard response among non-interventionists is that the only proper use of the military is to defend the nation against invation, that if Mexico decides to launch a war, or whatever, we are justified in responding with force. In fact, I would not go that far. The United States of America as an entity is to me not worth one drop of human blood. The notion that we represent some bulwark against the descent of darkness in this world, lonely Gondor against the hordes of the east (or, lordy, whatever) is self-satiated nonsense. I cannot imagine that I would take up arms to defend America. I might even join the other side, depending on the physical quality of the boyz in the barracks, if you know what I'm saying.
On the other hand, if some army of Albanians actually did overrun the country and I found myself in an occupied Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania, I cannot imagine not grabbing the rifle and bombing the bridges. This is something that we largely fail to understand about the resistance in Iraq: that it operates on two interrelated but nevertheless distinguisahable levels; that the desire to eject the Americans from "Iraq" is actuated by the desire to eject them from Sadr City; that the lived experience of our occupation is not on a national scale but rather on a local one, and therefore resistance likewise operates locally. A militiaman may know some nationalistic rhetoric, may employ it, and may even believe it to a degree, but ultimately "Iraq" is merely a political abstraction, whereas his neighborhood is physical and real.
By and large, I reject the use of state militaries entirely. I am not a fan of nation-states. That is necessarily a position deep in hypothetical space, given the world we live in, but nevertheless forms a baseline principle. On the other hand, I support the prerogative of people to resist their masters, whether foreign or domestic, by means up to and including violent resistance. This does not make me a pacifist, and yet in the eyes of the loons at the National Review and the more sober eyes of Brother Yglesias, it obviates my analyses of American warmaking. Fortunately I don't care. The reason to complain about exemption from mainstream dialogue is desire to participate, which for me is like getting pissed that a priest will deny me communion even though I'm not a Catholic.