Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thoughts On War

Not having experienced a war first hand, and living through a period, the Vietnam War, in which a lot of kids my age were being killed for their country, and seeing a lot of kids 'dodging' their drafts and coming to live in Canada for their own reasons, having grown up listening to the horrifying stories my father experienced during his stay in London during the Second World War, and always feeling that war is an unjustified means to an end, I find myself thinking about the justification of my country getting involved with other countries to put an end to Gadhafi's violence against his people.

That first sentence is a very long one but was intentional on my part. My mind has been racing lately trying to come to terms with how I really feel about war. At first I felt that we were justified in attempting to put an end to Gadhafi's rule in Libya.

I thought that it was our duty to stop a tyrant's persecution of his own people. And the fact that there is a United Nation's Resolution 1973, to approve aggression on any country that is participating in 'large scale' attacks on civilians, I thought that if the UN is sanctioning this then it must be alright and justified.

On Monday I wanted to use a quote for my Contemplative Monday post that summed up my feelings on war and one that I 'could live with'.

I looked through some books I have hoping to find exactly what I wanted. Nothing. Then I thought I would 'google' it.....'war quotes'.

There were hundreds! And a lot by Abraham Lincoln I noticed, as well as by Albert Einstein. Both very smart and learned men and both whom I admire.

But I still couldn't find something that suited what I wanted to say. You see, I wanted someone to say that war was okay under certain circumstances and would fit the situation in north Africa perfectly.

I soon realized that this was not the case for the parameters I had set. This was also verified when I came to a lone quote by the Dalai Lama. Basically it said that there was no justification to war no matter the circumstances. For the exact quote click here.

I realized I had been trying to justify for the past few days the actions taken by my country and others because I felt really bad for the people who were being persecuted. And I still do. I thought that two wrongs would make a right.

I know that not everyone feels this way. In fact, I realize that not too many people feel this way at all!  

I think that there are other ways to end violence, and war is not one of them. Peaceful negotiation is one way to do it. It will probably take a very long time for this to ever happen and become a viable way to end conflict in this world of ours but it has to start sometime. And now is the best time.

By just saying that it would never work and that it is a very naive notion particularly in this day and age, is, I feel, a complete cop-out. Think of future generations. Imagine what it would be like for them to never have to fear and experience the violence of war like most of us do every day of our lives.....either on the 'front lines' or looking at it on television.

I was feeling very angry at Gadaffy and others like him. Then I realized he was just 'part' of the problem that has been perpetuating itself for millennia.

Wishful thinking? Absolutely not. We as a species are much more capable of controlling our destiny than for which we give ourselves credit.


  1. A difficult and thorny question, it's true.

  2. Why are you making me think? Now I'm going to get a migraine. I know it looks bad now, but overall, I think that the World is becoming a better place to live. I'm talking percentage-wise here. Just because we have better reporting and can watch daily killings on the news whenever we want, does not mean that it is happening more these days that it did before. I would wager to say that it was way worse, before me. Which doesn't help anything right now, I know. I'm just saying.
    Your Friend, m.

  3. Jim,

    We are our brothers keepers in this. What is bothering me most about this 'war' is the fact Muslims (believers) are not supposed to kill other believers. Some may argue believers means all who believe in God. However, I am thinking they actually mean those whom believe in Allah.

    With that said, the UN was asked to basically do the 'dirty work' for the Arab nations in North Africa so they could save face and condemn civilians being killed.


    What burns my butter is the West's willingness to forego thinking in lateral terms. Once Khadfi is removed; who will back fill his shoes. Someone worse or someone that can be controlled for a time being? Basically, we have intervened in a civil war. I have always been told never tease an animal behind bars because you may cause a rage that will bring you into that cage.

    I am just saddened we (the West and Europe) are on another's shore doing the dirty work of those whom are really in power.

    Again JMHO,

  4. Thanks, Jim, for sharing your thoughts about war with us. I find I resonate with you here and ask the question: With all the advances we have made as humankind, all the wonders we can do and have done, it makes me wonder . .. . hmmm. . .there's that word again!. . . is WAR the solution/resolution of anything? In the end, what have we accomplished by our endless wars. . .WHAT???
    Is WAR a moral answer to anything? Like you ask, do two evils make a right? Can we ever justify WAR. Take that word 'justify'. . .to make just. . .right, proper, holy. . . justify = making holy. . .in our roots as People of The Book? Can the end justify the means? If the means is evil, then the end is evil. . . ".Jamais, jamais le guerre. . .never, ever war !"

  5. You now hear of the tirancy caused by Gadaffy and recall the hate that people had for Sadahm Hussain. Then I remember when both of these men were looked at as inspirational leaders. I even remember Hussain visiting a city in the Detroit area and being given a key to that city. Only to be forgotten ten years later by those same people.
    I also have seen on the history channel about how everyone loved Hitler in the beginning of his time.
    I wonder if these men had a plan all along. Or did it develope over time. What caused this change? Perhaps if we understand this, we'll get to the root of the problem.
    Then I wonder about some of our current elected officials in all stages of the government and wonder.... who's next in line to be the crazy one?

  6. Personally, I don't think we should enter wars when we haven't "finished" the other. Like Vietnam, we shouldn't be over there either.

    I do know this - war messes up the men/women who serve in it. My brother served in Vietnam and has never been the same.

    Negotiation is the key. No one want to negotiate any more.

  7. Hi Jim,I hear what you say and all I can say is,Africa can be a very scary place to live in...as beautiful as it is.., most women fear for their children and grandchildren as it can be a terribly cruel place to live in,we constantly live in fear of "the night of the pangas" when some polital groups threating to attack whoever... A lot of us are looking at emmigrating,I am looking at Uruguay as it would be so simple and easy to get in there.... The husband would have much difficulty leaving his country though...

  8. Wrap something ugly up in a pretty box with a big bow and give it to someone. When they unwrap it, its still a ugly item. Greed is ugly no matter who is wearing it.

  9. The sad fact of war, is the meaning behind it all, and the people behind it. There will always be war, because of greed, power and politics. I am sure our president was anticipating the thought of fresh beginnings, to keep our boys "working" in a war and not being unemployed here at home. I may seem awful for saying this, but I think other presidents have stuck our nose into other people's business, far too many times. There will always be the insane few, that use their power for bad and not the good, Hitler was a good example.

    We truly are going down the creek in a hand basket. I do not like war, and it saddens me that we cannot get along with one another.

    I don't know if this makes any sense.

  10. Sharon, you always make good sense! Thanks.
    Great comments too from everyone else!

  11. I totally supported Barack Obama's run for President and was overjoyed when this man who had promised to close Quantanamo and get us out of the Middle East wars got elected. Needless to say, it's just the "same ole same ole" and I can no longer support him or his Administration. Of course when I hear morons like Sarah Palin accuse him of "dithering" on Libya or other conservatives whine about how we're supposed to be IN CHARGE of the Libya assault (instead of just being a part of it), you know that I'm not in any danger of going rogue, er, right. I guess I'm just sad, once again, about being let down, although I guess I should be used to it, since I've been a liberal since I was 18. All of the comments left by your readers were honest and truly thoughtful.

  12. On Saturday I spent some time in Gettysburg Pa. This most famous Civil War Battle occurred over three hot summer days, July 1 to July 3, 1863. Its history is amazing and sad. The tour of the battleground, along with the information provided, makes you wonder how a 'disagreement' could have gotten this far out of hand. And then I think about our country and how we have to have our noses in every other country's business. What would have happened back then if other countries would have came in and assisted in our own Civil War? A bloody battle would have became even bloodier, I'm afraid. Unfortunately, it seems that war is sometimes necessary to defend ourselves. But so much of war is about $$$ and power.

  13. I've always been a "live and let live" kind of person. I have always felt that war is a violent way of resolving conflict. I have never been in favor of it. In fact, when I found out that my country was getting involved in Libya's problem I was feeling "not again!" But then I realized that Gadaffy is the playground bully. Who among us would stand aside and allow the playground bully to attack innocent playmates? Who among us would step in and say, "This isn't right?" And if the playground bully puffed up and said, Make me," which one of us would back down and let aggression rule? When it is put in perspective, what we are doing is right. The world and it's inhabitants are our neighbors and it is our responsibility to take care of one another if we can.

  14. Another take on it is the utter hypocracy of the US, in particular. All these Tea Party Republicans (and some Democrats) are crying about how there is no money, yet each one of those cruise missiles costs nearly $1.5 million dollars. That's EACH. So the first day cost well over a $100 million dollars just on cruise missiles alone. Yet they want to fire teachers, nurses, cut all social spending, cut the EPA, cut funding for Planned Parenthood, etc., yet they have money to throw around like this. It's reprehensible in every conceivable way.

  15. I agree with you about us as a species, and I wish that the politicians (who should be "public servants," but are not) would see it your way. I suppose I think that in self-defense, one might justify killing, but I think war - viewed historically - rarely accomplishes any good, particularly the "good" that it was supposed to accomplish when it was being touted as the best thing to do in the situation.


Hey, I really like your comments and appreciate the time you took to do so.

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