Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The War to End all Wars Revisited

Yesterday I posted some thoughts on my Bend Daily Photo blog precipitated by the 68th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. I mirrored some ideas about war expressed eloquently by famed historian, Howard Zinn in "A Just War". I have received many comments from followers of my blog, most who see war has a necessary response to a tyrannical enemy. This position is understandable and troubling, because the choice to use force usually means that the victim must assume the behavior of the foe in order to prevail and thus exacerbates the loss of life, the destruction of resources and property and intensifies the disruption of lives of many for a dubious outcome.
As I leave for my Amizade adventure, I know that I will be asked by people along the way my position on America's role in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Iran, my feelings about the Taliban, and generally how I see America's role in the developing world. My responses are important to me personally and as a representrative of America. In my post I suggested looking more critically at the value and purpose of military response. I struggle mightily with the subject of war and understand the positions of those that profess the need to show a tough military posture to dissuade rogue leaders and nations from trampling on the rights of others. Likewise, I am also sympathetic with those who see war and amassing materiels as a completely insane and counterproductive immoral waste of resource and suggest a paradigm shift in which the common man rejects lending himself physically, politically and spiritually as a willing sacrifice to further the aggrandizement of an elite few. At some point I need to choose what is ultimately a more compelling argument.
As I have grown older, my wish is to rediscover and cultivate the albeit naive idealism of my youth. I desire to embrace the idea of redirecting our war machine into a peace machine as an example of proper action. I want to act "as if" being socially sensitive through random acts of kindness may indirectly weaken the grip of power hungry leaders. Call it senility. I know the mean world and the enemy well. It is us. I have such little time left to believe there is anything I can do about it.


  1. That's very thoughtful. I don't know what else to say, because it's so hard to write about this, at least for me. I appreciate your struggle with it. It's hard when one considers all sides.

  2. "I desire to embrace the idea of redirecting our war machine into a peace machine as an example of proper action." - what a wonderful goal. I'm not sure what I really think about war, but I feel emphathy with the mothers of every young man's death. Such a horrid waste.

    It's an amazing journey you are embarking on. Wish you all the best and I will stay tuned.

  3. I've hesitated about commenting on your new blog because like Tash, I'm sometimes conflicted, but like her I do agree with your statement that the desire to embrace the idea of redirecting our war machine into a peace machine as an example of proper action is indeed a wonderful goal. I've been very fortunate in the fact that both of my sons are past the age of being recruited, but I can so relate to mothers with younger sons and the idea of sending them into one more war is indeed such a horrid waste! It is an amazing journey that you are embarking on and I'm excited for you and look forward to reading your thoughts and feelings in the coming months.