Monday, December 7, 2009

A War to End All Wars Revisited


I ventured out at sunset today December 7th in Bend, Oregon, to take a picture in memory of Pearl Harbor which took place 68 years ago. Several times today I heard the statistics about the number of ships that were sunk that "infamous" Sunday morning and the number of American lives that were killed and how the next day we entered World War II. Unlike other conflicts of the recent past, it is said our entry into WWII was clearly necessary and justifiable in order to put an end to Hitler's tyranny and the Japanese lust for power.
The idea whether a war can ever be viewed as" just" has been written about eloquently by Howard Zinn in " A Just War". On this day, with the Iraq action still unresolved, and the prospect of more troops on their way to Afghanistan, it is important to consider carefully whether war is the best use of our human talents and resources to create a better world. To be sure, it is difficult to stop tyrants, or tyrannical groups but their power comes ultimately from the people who believe in them. Somehow if our government through its military can organize massive amounts of firepower, destruction which directly and indirectly brings suffering, we should equally be able to imagine amassing huge amounts of water power, construction, and goodwill. Is it worth thinking on this date again even stronger about an alternative to war?

8 comments:

Sylvia K said...

Yes, Lee, it is worth thing about! Let's hope there are many others who feel the same!

Sylvia

Small City Scenes said...

The 'war to end all wars' never did and never will. We need to put as much energy as we do into war--into peace. Enough killing. MB

Anonymous said...

Thank God our Nobel Peace Prize winning president has us on the right track. Oh, and by the way, thanks to a little thing called WWII, you can write your blog in english and not german or japanese. Now back to Cali with ya. Fly fly, fly fly...

tapirgal said...

Hopefully it's possible to honor the sacrifices made by so many when there was little choice, and at the same time work toward being part of a better world, and honor those who work for that goal. Call me an optimimist. Optimism is a good thing.

cieldequimper said...

One question I ask myself is this: how many people did really believe in the regimes? My mother has lived under both regimes, Nazi and communist. She doesn't remember much about the Nazis because she was way too small but she does have flashbacks of the bombings (she was 4 at the time) and about the arrival of the Russians and the rapes. As for communism, she remembers it very well thank you. Her family fled East Germany before the wall was built because they did not believe in communism any more than they had believed in national-socialism. Yet in a totalitarian regime, it's very hard NOT to believe when everything is propaganda...
Good question though and boy, 68 years already? I for one am thankful that those Americans died for me and other Western Europeans. I wouldn't be here otherwise.

Jacob said...

I remember Pearl Harbor, although I was rather young. It was the beginning of something that was very frightening but which I did not understand...except that people I loved were going away to fight.

I don't want to get into a "Just War" discussion, but I do feel there is no way to "win" in Afghanistan and we're foolishing wasting much blood and treasure on a hopeless venture. Ask the former Soviet commanders.

It's a conundrum.

B SQUARED said...

War? Good god you all! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Say it again...

Raksha said...

WWII was probably the closest thing to a "Just War" in modern times, but that's only true in a relative sense. There is really no such thing, and especially--there are NO good guys and bad guys in any kind of absolute sense.

For example: Does anyone seriously believe any more that it was necessary to drop The Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? When I was younger, and even fairly recently, I used to hear it argued that it "saved American lives." But we know now (most of us anyway) that the Japanese had already offered to surrender. The real reasons for Hiroshima and Nagasaki had nothing to do with saving American lives.

My friends who are Vietnam vets are almost totally immune to warmongering propaganda, and yet none of them are absolute pacifists. But they are under NO illusions about what is and isn't a "Just War."