When they returned from the Gulf War of 1991, some of the
reservists where I work brought back photo albums of
Dismayed, unwilling to look, I listened to the comments of those leafing through the albums, and I remember wondering what went on in the souls of those whose job it was to do some of that killing. It crossed my mind that living through war had to be one of the worst things a person could go through; and then to return into the apparent normalcy of home, inescapably changed by what you saw. Being killed in a war might be much worse, but you could at least go out somewhat martyred or sacrificed in service to one higher cause or another. Do the exigencies of modern combat create a homeland populace as immured to the horrors of war as the soldiers? As this present war worsens, I have to wonder if wars create more dilemmas than they solve.
The American Civil War, seen as very noble by many, seems to have solved the problem of a nation fragmented by slavery – but did it really? Was sharecropping so great an improvement? Racial prejudice, unabated, continued for decades to spawn lynchings, injustice, and an inbred intolerance passed from parents to children.
As “the war
to end all wars,” the First World War resulted in a truly staggering amount of
bloodshed, aided by the introduction of new methods of killing. At its end, in
1919 – as many historians have pointed out – the treaty of
World War Two has been alluded to as a just war, used as an example when arguments are made about the necessity for armed conflict as a problem-solving tool. But when we consider some of the consequences of that conflict – nuclear weaponry and the birth of a Cold War – it becomes clear that even the “best” of wars have unforeseen, far-reaching, and long-lasting results.
Gulf War did, perhaps, fulfill its promise of liberating
might be the future problems now being created by the
I have only
considered a few
As they seek to achieve personal gains, and to settle old scores, our leaders here should pause in their prayers to consider what karmic monsters they are releasing upon not just the people of Iraq, but upon themselves and upon the collective consciences of us all.
Copyright © 2003 Thomas N. Dennis