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.