• Post published:April 29, 2024
A Note from the Publisher
   I’ve been thinking about war. How about you? And anti-war. And how the arguments of good and bad/right and wrong/righteousness and evil/black and white (and their all too many shades of gray) conspire to obfuscate any definitive answer about how to avoid it. I’ve been pondering the state of our world, from the luck of where I live, in dismay. How about you? It’s not always clear who’s to blame for the strife and sorrow and beleaguered humanity, the hate and the fear and the scared little babies, the extinguishing of life by slow starvation, the perversion of a young life sacrificed for nothing better than cannon fodder, the destruction of entire cultures to prove…what? I’ve been thinking about revenge and retaliation and who started what, about bullets and bombs and weapons designed and made by people and used by people on people, and how they ultimately, inevitably bring about pure, plain grief. These are not the thoughts of a card-carrying Pollyanna, but here they are, looking me starkly in the brain. I want to do something, but what can anybody do, we in our beautiful bubble over here, looking on while powerful leaders make horrible decisions and direct complete devastation, and what happened to checks and balances that could mitigate their power to do wrong. Why is war? What is war? Is war ever justified?
   I can’t figure it out. How about you? I looked it up and “they” say that war is justifiable when somebody attacks your country. Or if all other approaches to getting to peace have been exhausted, and that war has to be the last option. But even if war does come after all that—the shades of gray, the chicken and the egg—who’s to say whose unjustifiable act came first to set off a string of other unjustifiable acts? And, especially, in the end, who “wins”? Where have all the flowers gone? How will the hearts, bodies, and souls of the ones who were sent out to be fighters ever heal from the horrors they witnessed and participated in? Which side is more wounded? When will the rubble that used to be cities be rebuilt and who will rebuild them? The homes, the schools, the museums, the hospitals? When, please tell me, will there be healing? Peace. That is what I’m thinking about, I guess, through the lens of the unthinkable insanity and suffering of war, and just about anything besides war looks better. Again, it’s not always so perfectly clear. I looked for some comfort from the wisest of the wise—soldiers, writers, scientists, politicians—peace-niks, every one. They mainly say, Don’t do it, which seems good advice. Here are a few thoughts they left us:
    “Politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves, instead of organizing nothing better than legalized mass murder.”
            —Harry Patch, the last surviving soldier of World War I, 2007
    “The nuclear arms race is like two sworn enemies standing waist deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five.”                           —Carl Sagan, 1983
    “War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children.”            —Jimmy Carter, 2002
    “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”
             —President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953
    “You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake. War is the slaughter of human beings, temporarily regarded as enemies, on as large a scale as possible.”
        —Jeannette Rankin, the first woman to serve in the U.S. Congress, 1941
  “We never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified is not a crime. Ask the infantry and the dead.”        —Ernest Hemingway, 1946
Thanking these wise ones. How about you? Can we give peace a chance? Really.