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Why I oppose ALL war

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Many are rightfully horrified and disgusted about the Russian war in Ukraine and are vehemently opposed to it. I am as well. But I am opposed to all wars, not just Russian wars. Here are my reasons for opposing ALL war…

  • I oppose all war because it represents a failure of our ability to resolve conflicts without violence.
  • I oppose all war because it always results in war crimes.
  • I oppose all war because it always kills and hurts innocents/civilians.
  • I oppose all war because it always results in the destruction of lives, infrastructure, cities, and societies.
  • I oppose all war because it always results in disease, poverty, homelessness, starvation, lack of clean drinking water, lack of medical care.
  • I oppose all war because it always damages both the bodies and psyches of its participants and its victims.
  • I oppose all war because it always creates refugees.
  • I oppose all war because it always damages the environment.
  • I oppose all war because it always undermines democracy and our liberties.
  • I oppose all war because it always creates hatred and a desire for vengeance.
  • I oppose all war because it always fosters bigotry.
  • I oppose all war because it always demonizes/dehumanizes other human beings.
  • I oppose all war because it fosters many other forms of violence in our society.
  • I oppose all war because we could and should be doing other constructive things with the resources we waste on war and war preparation.
  • I oppose all war because it distracts us from the real threats that face all people of all nations…including pandemics, climate change, and nuclear war. All of these threats are global threats, and no nation can address them alone. They require international cooperation and collaboration. We have got to find a way to end the old paradigms of conflict, endless arms races, might makes right, and zero-sum games. Militarism cannot address these threats. In fact, it exacerbates them.

 

Martin Luther King was correct when he said that we must learn to live together as brothers and sisters or perish together as fools.

John Miksad

7 comments

Piberman April 23, 2022 at 5:46 pm

Some pre-eminent historians suggest the most important event in human history was the discovery of the new world by the Europeans. Conquering the native peoples of the New World involved the loss of many tens of millions of lives, perhaps even more.

The “great civilizations” that we read about – Egyptians, Greeks, Roman, Islam, etc. were all slave based through the spoils of War.

The 2nd world war unleashed by the Germans ultimately caused between 60 and 70 million fatalities across Europe. With the Soviets suffering 25 to 30 millions. Never before had extermination camps using modern technologies be used to destroy millions as did the Germans. Did the US err on participating in the European theatre of WWII ? Did we err on participating in the Pacific theatre where amongst others atrocities the Japanese killed between 20 to 30 million civilians ?

Over a long life I’ve observed that often those who demand “an end to all wars’ are not those who put on the uniform and serve their nation to preserve our precious Liberty. Nothing better illustrates the price of liberty than our Civil War. Out of a population of about 31 million almost 1 million soldiers and civilians perished. Had the southern states defeated the northern states and secured their secession additional generations of African Americans would have been consigned to odious slavery. Almost 100,000 served in the Union Army.

Our precious “liberty” doesn’t come without costs. On the upcoming Memorial Day tens of millions of Americans will give thanks to “those who served and did not return”. It’s appropriate for all Americans to honor “those who did not return,” Imagine the lives they could have lived. And the families they could have raised. And the friends we lost forever.
Some of us think about those sacrifices every day of our lives. Could have been us.

Niz April 23, 2022 at 10:42 pm

I agree whole heartily !
What happened to my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins & their spouses, extended families etc… in Kosovë during the Yugoslavian Civil War, to the lands is horrific!! Prior to it other conflicts cause hundreds of years of oppression of the Illyrian / Albanian people. All you listed is so true!
Stay up and be blessed!!

Piberman April 25, 2022 at 11:04 am

Those who “oppose all Wars” need offer us a convincing response to how our society should respond when attacked by foreign agents/nations/etc. Opposing War isn’t a strategy. What would the Editor have done when the Japanese Pacific fleet attacked Pearl Harbor ? Millions of young Americans signed up at induction centers the next day.
And 6 months later our Navy delivered its response at the Battle of Midway. I don’t recall any protests that our response at Mid-way was not appropriate. Not a single Congressmen opposed our declarations of War.

During the War there were pacifists who served the nation as medical corpsmen. Quite a number didn’t return. Some able men of fighting age who didn’t want to serve our nation in any capacity were imprisoned.

The basic challenge faced by attacks on ones nation is how to respond. “Being against War” isn’t a viable response. And doesn’t protect either our nation or the ones we love.
None of our major parties have platforms of “being against War”. Nor do we see candidates running on that platform.

The issue on the table is not whether wars are horribly cruel. But rather how do we respond to attacks promising to destroy our nation. Ukrainians commendably sent their women, children and old folks to other countries. The men stayed behind and with the help of weapons supplied by the US and NATO nations are doing a commendable job.
Most of the world’s nations and population remain on the sidelines. Especially the big nations – China, India, Indonesia and all of Africa and Latin America. These nations aren’t in the forefront of combatting global warming either.

So what does a good sensible America do ? Send monies to the major aid organizations on the ground in the Ukraine. Call and send letters to our Congressmen for more arms to the Ukrainians. And be selective when purchasing goods. No one forces us to buy goods “made in China” for example. Or Russia.

For those of us of a certain age the response by the US and NATO to the Russian invasion is a symbol we’re making real progress. We remember the “indifference” – yes that’s the word – when the Germans in Sept 1939 and months later the Russians invaded Poland reducing that large nation to rubble causing over 6 million casualties. Back then it took the US 2 years and Pearl Harbor for the US to join the fight. By V-E day Germany’s cities were rubble, much of Europe was destroyed and 60 to 70 million lost their lives.

So we’re doing better this round. But like the last most of the world is sitting on its hands. Not their fight. Not their War. That seems true of global warming too. If the problem is not on ones doorstep then pay no attention.

BTW anyone notice the UN has played no major role here. Another disappointment.

Lets hope with Memorial Day not far away more Americans will reflect on the contribution of those “who did not return” from protecting our liberties from those who would destroy us. The problem is not being “against War”. But protecting ourselves and having citizens willing to sacrifice so we protect our liberties from those who would destroy us. We are forever in their debt.

Kenneth Werner April 25, 2022 at 12:27 pm

I oppose war, too. But what do I do when Adolph Hitler or Vladimir Putin disagrees with me?

John Miksad April 26, 2022 at 10:38 am

Some of the comments to this piece cites the US popular version of the story. It portrays, (it always portrays) the US as the heroes and that all the villains are “out there”. Problem is that there are many holes in that story. Allow me to illustrate.

Germans kill Europeans and Jews= Genocide and crimes against humanity
while
US kills 10 million native peoples= manifest destiny

Japanese imperialism= Evil
while
US imperialism= Noble

You had to go back 75 years to find a war that was justified? A lot of war has happened in the meantime.
When was the last defensive war?
When war the last war that defended our liberty?
Let’s look at some recent history. 4 million dead in Korea, 3 million dead in Vietnam, 1 million dead in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Any good wars here? Any of these wars protect our freedoms? War on terrorism for the last 20 years worth $8 trillion?

MLK said in 1965 that the US was the greatest purveyor of violence in the world. That is still true today.

You express outrage over Russian wars. It seems you consider our wars inherently good?
The worst humanitarian crisis in the world right now is in Yemen, not Ukraine. The US is supporting the Saudi destruction of the country, the killing of civilians, the creation of poverty, homelessness, refugees and desperation. Where is your outrage over this barbarity that your country (and your tax dollars) support? The US could stop this war tomorrow if it wanted to.

I find that people in this country are against war, until the next opportunity for war comes.
We’ve been a nation for 245 years and at war for a very large percentage of that time. We are a nation born of war and have been at war ever since!
It takes work and effort to convince people to go to war. The government must portray the “other” as evil. When the US does something evil in its national interests, most Americans shrug. Another nation does the same act in the name of what it believes are its national interests, and it is deemed evil and most Americans believe it.
I say evil is evil no matter who is the perpetrator.

It seems to me that most people desperately want to be associated with the “good guys”. Most people will lie to themselves or ignore the facts that run counter to the story they tell themselves. Just like every other nation, what the US defends is its economic and ideological interests. It hasn’t been about liberty, freedom, democracy, or sovereignty for a very long time, if it ever was. I suspect most people are pretty attached to the little fairy tale about God being on our side. Most empires throughout history maintained that same belief. I’m sure folks sleep better at night with that lie. Cognitive dissonance is tough to deal with.

Democracy being attacked all right. Unlimited money influencing politicians and policy, gerrymandering, making it more difficult to vote in many States, Government-Lobbyist-Corporate revolving door, corporate power, loss of the role of government watchdog from vast portions of media. (Instead we have partisan media aligning itself with a Party and undermining people’s faith in the fourth pillar of government.) Apathy and indifference is high because more and more people see that their choice between two corporate Parties doesn’t make a bit of difference in their lives. Neither party works to improve lives of people and both parties try to outdo the other on who is the most hawkish/hostile toward other nations. As a result, we have low participation rates in our democracy. Putin is not the major threat to our “democracy. He’s not even in the top ten. We are doing a fine job of undermining it ourselves.
From your description of Pearl Harbor, it is apparent that you think history started on 12/7/41. The US wasn’t an innocent bystander in the pacific. The US and Japan were BOTH imperialist powers. The US had taken over The Philippines, Guam, Hawaii. It had performed a coup in Hawaii and fought bloody and brutal wars to crush Philippine resistance to invasion and occupation. The US had been arming the Chinese for years and was in no way a neutral party that was minding its own business. It initiated an embargo and blockade of oil to Japan in the hopes of choking a rival. It moved the Pacific Fleet from California to Hawaii just a year or two before the Japanese attack. I’m not portraying the Japanese as the good guys, but the US was not as good as you think we were (or are). Look up the numbers of dead and the brutality the US military used to subdue the Filipino people.
You cite the supposed noble wars. Here’s what I’ll cite.
-Most nations abolished slavery without a war. The US chose war (of course).
-Many nations gained their freedom from the British empire without war. Gandhi famously chose non-violence and was able to oversee the expulsion of the British occupation. We chose war (of course).
-WW2 could have been prevented if the Allies treated the Germans differently after WW1. The combination of reparations and the great depression resulted in severe economic hardship and humiliation for many/most Germans. Many were desperate. They were primed for a leader who spoke of national pride, victory, and returning to their rightful place in the world. Hitler gave them what they wanted. Seemed we learned our lesson by instituting the Marshall Plan after WW2.
Desperation causes unrest, upheaval, violence, revolution. The larger the portion of the US population (or the world’s) that struggles economically, the greater the threat for unrest. We continue on our current course at our own peril. If you want to learn lessons from history, learn that one.
The US has been the world’s empire since world war 2. There was a conscious shift at that time in the US government that believed the world would be better off with US hegemony. Of course, every empire in history told itself that story. Its primary mission for the last 75 years has been to maintain that primacy regardless of how many democratically elected governments it had to undermine and regardless of how many international or moral laws it had to violate.

We demonize our enemies, but give ourselves and our allies a pass. Belgians kill 10 million in the Congo. Never even talk about it. UK actions result in the death of 35 million in India, no problem. US kills 10 million native americans, bygones. We have selective memory of atrocities. We forget our own and those of our allies. We never forget those of our enemies. The world is far from the black and white place that you portray it to be. We are not as innocent as you think. We have a lot of blood on our hands. The big difference is that the Germans acknowledge their dark history. We tend to ignore it.

Here’s an alternative to war from World Beyond War. It can be downloaded for free or bought in hard copy. I’m not suggesting it is perfect, but it’s a good start.

https://worldbeyondwar.org/alternative/

We currently find ourselves in a very different place than ever before. The world is smaller than ever as a result of communication and transportation (and intercontinental ballistic missiles). There are global threats of pandemics, climate crisis, and nuclear war face all people of all nations. No one nation can handle them alone. Militarism only exacerbates these threats. We need a new paradigm. We have to find a way to work together. We need to get past zero sum games, might makes right, and mutually assured destruction as the dominant doctrine for a handful of misguided nations. We certainly have to get past the demonization of “other”. We need international treaties, strong international law, and a strong commitment to communication and diplomacy. We need to cooperate and collaborate. We need to learn to trust one another. We will never be safe until all nations feel safe. The only way to face the real threats to our safety and security is…together.

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