“When the rich wage war, it’s the poor who die.” Jean-Paul Sartre
What never ceases to amaze me is mankind’s apparent compulsion to destroy its own kind. Europe in particular has a long history of wars – World Wars One and Two come to mind immediately, with many more before that. My own country of origin, Holland, once fought a war with Spain that lasted eighty years!
Asia also has a long history of blood on its hands. The names of Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, Attila the Hun and the phrase, “pyramids of skulls” are familiar to many of us.
Our own nation is no exception. Did you know that these United States have been actively involved in twenty wars since the War of Independence? Hard to believe? It’s true; I’ve counted them. Check it out at about.com. That’s a war about every twelve years.
Wars are crazy. They maim and kill millions, mostly innocent civilians, but also the soldiers who have been sent to kill others with whom they did not really have a quarrel. And of course there are the billions in property damage and the destruction of priceless historical treasures that were so carefully constructed.
One would have to be a fool to believe that there is merit in war, yet we continue to glorify it. Our history books don’t tell us much about past constructive movements, but they never fail to tell us about what wars were fought and when.
In the old days wars were fought to gain territory and to plunder the enemy’s riches. Now, like in Iraq, the aggressor wins nothing and the taxpayers foot the bill. Common sense tells us it is time to abolish this barbaric practice.
Don’t get me wrong; the use of force is sometimes the only way to handle a threat. Wisdom alone will not prevent violence. Tibetan lamas are perhaps the wisest men on Earth, but they were easily defeated by a horde of Chinese peasants with guns. So, while the use of force seldom leads to a satisfactory conclusion, it is sometimes necessary. The problem is that once you build up a military force, ready to defend the nation, they don’t want to sit around, waiting for some enemy to attempt an invasion. You train them to fight, they’ll want a fight. It only makes sense.
What to do? It’s a dilemma. We want peace, yet we need a fighting force, just in case. And that fighting force does not want to remain idle for long, or their morale will drop out the bottom. Eventually, they start inventing enemies and they may even create false flag events. (This is speculation, but human nature being what it is, we have to consider that the possibility could exist.) For more evidence that all is not what it seems, view this video interview with General Wesley Clark.
Well, let’s take a look at the problem and let’s get creative. Having a military force prepared to meet the challenges of fighting human enemies, why not balance that destructive force with a constructive one?
There are plenty of other challenges in life. Disaster relief is one. We get earthquakes, floods, droughts, hurricanes and forest fires. What if we train our troops to help out there? And when we don’t have wars or disasters, the troops could help with our nation’s infrastructure – improve the roads, build rail links and install a nationwide fiber optics network, for example. Energy production and distribution and water desalination are further areas where the military could help.
Of course such projects would require safeguards. We don’t want the military to run the country. The idea is for the troops to help out and provide manpower for the public good, not to hand over control to them. Do the job and move out! These assignments should also be made judiciously to avoid putting existing enterprises out of business; they should be approved by the Congress and ratified by the President.
What do you think of the idea? I would like your feedback on this.
Quote for the Week
“Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.” Ernest Hemingway