Memorializing Peace

Sound track:

Nearly every soldier who has ever fought has fought for one thing.


Young men, soldiers, are attracted to honor, to glory, to adventure, to duty, to ‘manhood.’ But when the fighting starts and the horror is upon them and their comrades are dying …every soldier finds out what s/he is truly fighting for.


The end to this war, to their war, if not the end to all wars. But the Old Men want war, they have never ceased wanting to send the young men and now women off to to war, off to die. As they age they forget, or simply stop caring about life, the life ahead of the young person that they are willing to kill….for their own, safely removed, Very Important Reasons.

The Old Men, I am sure, even justify their own Very Important War as being necessary to prevent the Next War. The War to End All Wars has been fought innumerable times. Every War is, somehow, The War to End All Wars. If We can just kill enough of Them….

The latest wars are the product of these same Old Men. The war in Iraq is by far the best example in modern times of not just an old, withered, coward, too afraid to fight himself, but willing to kill on a massive scale for some….to him and those around him….Very Important Reason. It is also the latest of the worst kind of war, The Crusade. It is also the Supreme War Crime.

“To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

The Nuremberg Tribunal

It not only contains “the accumulated evil of the whole” of war, it contains the accumulated evil of the whole of humanity. The willingness to kill Them, because they are somehow different, somehow lesser than Us. It contains the worst thought of humanity, the thought that leads to Holy Crusades, the thought that leads to Dachau and Rawanda and the Killing Fields it contains the thought that They are less than Us, and that so then, we are justified in killing them.

It not just contains, but insists that, some of our Brothers and Sisters deserve to be killed. Not for what they have done…..but for who they are.

The Holy Crusade, and make no mistake, this was a Holy Crusade, was waged because the Muslims, Them, The Others, wanted to kill Us, for wanting to kill Them, for wanting to kill Us, for wanting to kill Them, for wanting to kill Us…….in an unbroken string. In a string that the Old Men see as unbreakable, because as young men, the Old Men of their generation saw it as unbreakable and thus sent their young brothers off to fight and die for it, and those deaths and the deaths that THEY, Them, The Other, suffered prove that the string of deaths must continue…..because They want to kill Us, for killing Them…

Us, and Them

And after all were only ordinary men.

Me, and you.

God only knows its not what we would choose to do.

Forward he cried from the rear

And the front rank died.

And the general sat and the lines on the map

Moved from side to side.

War is a choice.

War is an easy choice, for the Old Men who sit and watch the lines on the map.

Humans make a great show. We make a great show of patting ourselves on the back for what rational and logical….apes….we are, now. WE only kill Them for a Reason. But we are not rational and logical. Rationality is not what drives the Human Race. Emotion is what drives the Human Race.

War is not, is never, a rational or logical choice.

Peace is a choice. So far in human history, it is a theoretical choice. We have never actually chosen Peace, on a meaningful scale. Peace is a choice. A dynamic choice. It is not something that ‘happens.’ In this highly paradoxical human world where we speak rationally….but act emotionally…..

Peace must be fought for.

Though of course it is NEVER possible to Kill for peace.

Peace is an action…..not something that happens between wars.

Peace is a choice.

It is when we begin, finally, to make that choice that we will become rational beings. It is when we say no to the fear inside of us, no to killing our Brothers and Sisters……when we say no to the Old Men of War and their fears and ambitions, that we will become fully human.

Until that day, all we can do is memorialize, all we can do is to remember that there is another way, a way unchosen. All we can do is to lay a wreathe for the way of Peace, the idea of Peace. An idea that dies every time we go to war. And hope and pray and work for the day that we stop remembering it, and begin to live it.



Skip to comment form

  1. Photobucket

    • RiaD on May 25, 2009 at 8:45 pm

  2. “The War Prayer,” a short story or prose poem by Mark Twain, is a scathing indictment of war, and particularly of blind patriotic and religious fervor as motivations for war.

    The piece was left unpublished by Mark Twain at his death, largely due to pressure from his family, who feared that the story would be considered sacrilegious. Twain’s publisher and other friends also discouraged him from publishing it. According to one account, his illustrator Dan Beard asked him if he would publish it regardless, and Twain replied that “Only dead men can tell the truth in this world. It can be published after I am dead.”

    source: wikipedia

    A few excellent youtube versions of this timeless classic for this Memorial Day.

    “Willie Nelson presents “The War Prayer” from the very rare collector’s DVD “Peace” by Willie Nelson, Family and Friends”

    “Chris Wallace performing Mark Twain’s The War Prayer from his one-man show, THE MARK TWAIN YOU DON’T KNOW. ”

  3. And the perfect remembrance of those who died for peace.

  4. …The day to remember those who have been brainwashed with imperial propoganda to feed the ego of national pride.

    Oh the poor young men and women.  They should be taught Smedley Butler from an early age.

    • on May 25, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    • Edger on May 25, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    • rb137 on May 25, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    The opposite of war isn’t peace, it’s creation.

    I suppose he means that peace is the result of that action.

    • zett on May 26, 2009 at 12:38 am

    were also (at least some of them) touched on by Elizabeth Kucinich when I heard her speak earlier this month…how peace is a choice, an active thing.

    I always feel conflicted about Memorial Day. I often wonder to myself if we are not glorifying war and indirectly aiding the Old Men by continuing to honor the war dead more than the other dead…

    Part of that feeling, however, is because I come from a tradition where “Decoration” wasn’t about the war dead specifically, but about all our dead loved ones.

    I know that kind of comes across as pissing on the war dead and their sacrifice, but I don’t mean it that way. That’s part of the conflict – I don’t want to hurt any veteran’s loved ones by not appreciating that they gave their all, but I am roiled by the question: What did they give it for, really?

    I can only think of 3 wars that this nation fought that truly have anything to do with freedom: The Revolutionary War for it freed us from Britain and helped create our nation; the Civil War because it was about saving the Republic undivided and helped bring about the end of slavery; and WW2 because Hitler would have enslaved and killed all over the world if he could have gotten by with it (not to mention the other Axis powers). The rest of the wars – I can’t see where they added one iota to the Bill of Rights or protected the Constitution, but I can see the hand of the Old Men in them very clearly.  

    I agree with another poster who said we should make our young read General Smedley Butler.

    Corrections welcome.

  5. throw up both my hands’

    Marvin Gaye

    • jamess on May 26, 2009 at 1:19 am

    a War of Choice, by definition betrays,

    whatever important reasons, are used

    to rationalize that Choice.

    a War for Resources, by its action betrays,

    whatever claims of ownership,

    the conquerors have brashly asserted.

    the War of Ideas, that shamans of each age,

    engage in, to perpetuate their power,

    for yet a time longer,

    have yet to account for all damage,

    all their reckless warring has done.

    Imagine Peace, while you still can.

    If you still can.

    Be the Change, you hope to see.

    Speak out against the madness,

    whenever you can, wherever you can still see it.

    Crosby, Stills & Nash – Long Time Gone (1977)

    Turn, turn any corner.

    Hear, you must hear what the people say.

    You know there’s something that’s

    goin’ on around here,

    the surely, surely, surely won’t

    stand the light of day.

    And it appears to be a long,

    appears to be a long,

    appears to be a long

    time, yes, a long, long, long

    ,long time before the dawn.

    Speak out, you got to speak out

    against the madness,

    you got to speak your mind,

    if you dare.

    But don’t no don’t now try to

    get yourself elected

    If you do you had better cut your hair.

    `Cause it appears to be a long,

    appears to be a long,

    appears to be a long,

    Time, such a long long long long

    time before the dawn.

    Peace, in our time —

    It IS Possible!

    Wooden Ships

    Who won?

  6. to all of the above.

Comments have been disabled.