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Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day, 2006

(Keywords: , , , what better time than to talk about ending ?)

It may be that, of all of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, War is the only one who's completely human. Death is inevitable, Plague is natural, and Famine is often beyond our control. But War is an entirely human creation.

On Memorial Day, my thoughts always move toward the ironies in war. People in war are capable of great courage, strength, and acts of humanity - it's morally confusing that the worst we're capable of can bring out our best qualities. War is often accompanied by mercy, brutality by sympathy. There's a reason why the stereotype of nursing, Florence Nightengale, was a wartime nurse and why the Red Cross was founded because of a lack of medical services for wounded soldiers.

It's impossible to argue that every war isn't a struggle toward peace. Nearly every war in modern times ends with diplomacy and a peace treaty. War, ironically, is a strategy to bring people to the table to negotiate peace.

It's also impossible to argue that there is absolutely no way to do this better. As Rep. John Dingell once said, "War is failure of diplomacy." It cannot become the solution of first choice, as it has under the Bush administration. War is what you do when you can't possibly do anything else. The consequences are too great and whatever good comes from it, the immediate evil far offsets it. Even a 'good war' causes great harm.

We look at the possible massacre in Haditha, it's possible to think that only crimes can come from war. But, in a counterargument, the US was founded by war. People are freed by war and people are oppressed by war - it's a damned complicated thing, war.

But, to return to my original argument, war is an entirely human problem. It might be extremely simplistic to say so (in fact, I know it is), but let's knock it off. Just quit. Let's stop piling up bodies to bring peace. Let's stop forcing good people to be heroes.

In the end, we've only got one world and we're all in this together.