Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Whoever fights monsters….should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster”…Friedrich Nietzsche

“One always becomes the thing one fights the most”…Jung

Yesterday while participating on another blog a fellow blogger made the following comment regarding what McCain might do if he were elected president. “If McCain is the guy, I think we’re in for what could turn into WW3 depending on who gets involved, but that is what needs to happen. Leadership in Iran has got to go down, and some things really are worth fighting for. Theocracy + Ignorance = a lot of pain for a lot of people.”….When I read the part “that this is what needs to happen”, I was stunned and speechless…Last week Hillary Clinton warned that if Israel were attacked by Iran, and if she were president, she would “obliterate” Iran….and…John McCain awhile back laughed while he sang the lyrics, bomb, bomb, bomb… bomb, bomb, Iran… to the melody of a Beach Boy song…Do any of these people understand or even care about the “potential” implications of another World War? Were they awake during their history class in high school or college?...Here are a few facts that might send shivers up your spine. 72 million people died during World War II and 47 million of those were “civilians.” Over the last two centuries of war, half the casualties were civilians…and…how many more might die in another World War?...32 million people died during WWI. That number was doubled during WWII. If the number of casualties is doubled again due to World War III, then we might expect the death of at least 140 million people, including a civilian death total as high as 90 million. I am deeply concerned by what I consider a very cavalier attitude regarding the potential cost of war to human life from both our politicians and the general public…and…it is beyond my understanding why so many people would apparently be so eager to support a war with Iran and thus risk the potential outbreak of another world war.

Why are so many people apparently eager to risk life and our national treasury? Is it because we have been insulated from the effects of war? It is true that Americans have been largely insulated from a significant amount of the cost and effects of war. We didn’t enter WWI until the last year and we have never been invaded or suffered the human and collateral damage that ravished Europe during the first two world wars. Whatever the reason, a significant majority of American’s appear to be willing to support going to war, especially, if they think the war is justified.

In the last six years we have spent billions and billions of dollars but more importantly, thousands of Americans, and tens of thousands of Iraqi’s have lost their lives in a war that could have been avoided. While most American’s want us to get out of Iraq there are those in high places who are currently beating the war drums again. I hope I don’t come across as an alarmist but I am becoming increasing frustrated by a series of conversations with friends, colleagues, and bloggers regarding the nature of war…so…in an effort to do my part, I intend to write and pass along information from those who believe our government foreign policy ought to restrain itself and seek alternative non-violent solutions…before…it is too late. I’ll leave with these words from Walter Wink, a theologian who has devoted much of his life to the cause of promoting peace through the use of non-violent actions.

Nations seem to be sucked into wars like dust into a whirlwind. Reasons of state are a smoke screen, and change as propaganda requires. War is the work of the gods Mars and Venus. Those who consider war become possessed by these Powers. They insulate themselves from dissenting views. They are exalted by the heady prospects of victory, heroism, and the display of toughness. They usually underestimate the difficulties and duration of the fight. Their minds are darkened. Prohibitions against harming or killing others dissolve. Reasoned arguments are silenced by an atmosphere charged with a collective will that sweeps everyone along with it…

Once children have been indoctrinated into the expectations of a dominant society, they may never outgrow the need to locate all evil outside themselves. Even as adults they tend to scapegoat others ( The Commies, the Americans, the gays, the straights, the blacks, the whites, the liberals, the conservatives), for all that is wrong in the world. They continue to depend on group identification and the upholding of social norms or a sense of well-being.

Evil is contagious. No one grapples with it without contamination…and….When we resist evil with evil, when we lash out at it in kind, we simply guarantee its perpetuation, as we ourselves are made over into its likeness.


Dave said...

This is a profound post, Bilbo. I enjoyed reading it and I hope many others find it and take the time to consider your thoughts.

War has an appalling fascination for so many people - I remember in the first Gulf War, feeling that thrill of excitement watching the bombs explode on CNN when the new technology brought the wonder of "precision guided munitions" into our vocabulary. To think about such force unleashed by "our side" on our "enemies" taps into something very primal and hard to resist, especially if the sentiments are encouraged and endorsed by the respectable leaders of society. War, in a very real sense, is a colossal act of manipulation - especially for our nation, which hasn't really experienced too many direct attacks in a long long time, and even fewer that really threatened our prosperity, infrastructure, ability to self-govern, etc. Compare that to people whose lives and very way of life are truly on the line in so many countries of the world - and how often is it that some interests based in the USA are pulling strings and levers somewhere behind the scenes of the conflict. Not to mention blatant examples like Iraq...

The idea that WW3 "needs" to happen is indeed sad, alarming, tragic... scandalous really. Especially since the person saying it is probably doing so without the slightest sense that his own life could be threatened by such a conflagration. Really, people seem so lost in some hideous abstraction of what war is when they say or even think stuff like that. But with so many End Times preachers out there describing Armageddon in lurid detail as something that is inevitable and God-ordained, I suppose that kind of teaching has shaped a lot of attitudes as well.

pmande said...

We are a warring planet, so strange but true. I have no answer for the masses, but as for me, I sing HU.

Kansas Bob said...

My son's experiences in his two Iraqi deployments have made me a one-issue anti-war voter. I think that many of these hawks would change their tunes if they had kids on the front lines.. of course some would be hawks regardless.

Bilbo said...

Dave...I repeatedly encounter that a lot of people honestly seem to believe that there are no realistic options than to use military force, no matter what the consequences. They seem trapped in some kind of fatalistic universe of the mind.

Paula...What's HU?

Bob...Welcome aboard...My father was a disabled Veteran of the Korean War who lived his entire adult life as an alcoholic...and...my brother was a Green Beret during the Vietnam War...and...Their experiences have shaped my own perspective on the nature of war. I know I can sometimes theorize about the war but it is the experience of war and it's effects on my family that trumps all other arguments. It sounds the same for you.