1/02/2007

WAR IS AN UGLY THING

I saw this quote and figured it fits the daily arguments about war and whatnot. Should we be in Iraq? Should we send soldiers to Darfur? Some say yes, some say no. Very few, as far as my experience tells me, are in the middle about this. Let's see where a discussion might take us. Are you game?

The discussion is open. Feel free to say whatever you like. Just be nice. Tell me your position, and I'll tell you mine.

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

John Stuart Mill

3 comments:

March said...

Freedom is a condition of the spirit and one remains free in any circumstance if they choose to forgive, and to love their enemy. If we choose to kill our enemy, we are in bondage to a greater force that living under a dictator. I understand that in this world sometimes war is unavoidable, but never equate it to freedom.

Tom Reindl said...

March, I agree with you in principal about "freedom". And, I also agree that freedom should never be equated with war.

Having said that, I see a strange set of circumstances evolving in Darfur, and then again, in Iraq. In Darfur, many are calling for US troops to go, and try to keep the peace, which, coincidentally, is exactly what we are attempting to do now in Iraq. But who are we kidding? Both situations are war, and in both situations, many, many, many innocents are dying.

I think the quote I posted speaks to protecting not just freedom, but more importantly, it speaks to protecting the innocent, and especially those who cannot protect themselves.

In Darfur, we have what could be called a genocide. In Iraq, we have what the media wants to call a civil war. But both wars are the exact same war, when you throw away the spin used for political purposes, and get down to the facts. And those facts are that strongmen and despots are killing innocents who cannot defend themselves.

I'll ask a further inflaming question. Why does there seem to be so much support for us to go into Darfur, and pull out of Iraq? Is it because we are getting our buts kicked in Iraq, and Americans don't have the stomach to face despots who don't fight fair? Is it because America has become selfish, and has forgotten how in our own revolution, it was the relatively few who paid the price for the many?

What is going in Iraq was brewing for twenty-five years. Saddam or no Saddam, the Shiites would have one day risen up and dethroned him, and we would have then seen exactly what we are seeing now. Shiites and Sunnis are attacking one another, and the Kurds are attacked by everyone.

If we have not the stomach to defend the innocent, then by all means, let's pull out of Iraq; but then let's stay out of Darfur as well. After all, if we are going to be fine with one ethnic or religious cleansing, we will only be the world's biggest hypocrites if we then say the next one isn't okay. You see, when you eliminate the political and media spin from the two situations, you see clearly that they are really the same thing. Which one should we choose, and not be hypocrites?

Cliff said...

Tom, For me it's kind of like eating meat. I have never been one to hunt because after shooting my first rabit at 10 years old I never wanted to kill anything again. With that said I still eat meat. For me, it's the same with war. I hate it, but I understand that standing up for innocent people is sometimes required. I think it's good to always have people questioning our motives for war because that keeps us on the right track, but my concern is over those countries who have no one who keeps the government in check like Iran. Anyway, I think your question is one we all need to think more about and discuss in a civil manner.