Tuesday, July 15, 2008

We are in Love with WAR

We Americans have a tragic facination and love of war. Anytime someone learns that I'm against war people ask me about WWII. This has been a sticking point for many Americans as they feel we were justified completely in ending this war against a facist tyrannical and genocidal institution. It's our favorite war. Many have fallen in love with this war and try to make all other American war actions equal or somehow related to this war.

I know what war does to people who fought in it. I've seen what it did to my Grandfather's psyche and the effects it has caused on our family. It is tragic that such a young man had to suffer and spend the rest of his life the way he did. Yes, there are acts of heroism and yes it was good of us to stop a massacre. But that's not why we went into that war. We didn't fight in that war to protect other people or to restore peace. We fought that war (and all wars in my opinion) for economic purposes. A recent WIRED article, found by Rachael, states that most reasons for fighting are clouded by our the subconscious mechanism of self-preservation that causes us to grossly overestimate the danger of highly unlikely threats (West Nile virus, terrorist attacks, abduction, plane crashes, shark attacks) and underestimate far more serious, if mundane, threats (car accidents). The fact of the holocaust should have been enough to enter in and fight, but this fact didn't become known until way after the war. So then WWII isn't as neat and clean or valliant as we Americans would like to believe.

Here is my over-simplified way of thinking: Before I'm an American, I'm a Christian. Before I'm a Christian, I'm a human, like everyone else. War is the practice of prioritizing unneeded things over humanity. This practice is wrong every single time.War is never good. War can never be justified. Peace is not A way, it is the ONLY way.

This is not anti-military. You may notice that when i say hi, i salute (a proper one at that), and in this gesture i'm honoring my grandfather, my uncles, and many friends in the military. I am a patriot, not a nationalist. I love my country but fear my government.


thanks to Nick for the video find!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

check out a related post over at Sam's blog, Opossum's Creed:Our Final Undeclared War.

14 comments:

John T. said...

Hey Luke

"War can never be justified. Peace is not A way, it is the ONLY way."


Well bud, Im going to disagree with you on this point. War may not be justified, but it sure as shit may be necessary. The truth is not everyone has "peace" on their mind. I may not provoke a fight but if necessary I will definately defend my family against any hostile invasion. I havnt quite evolved to the point of "turning the other cheek"

You still Rawk though :)

Luke said...

i understand the self-defense part of it. i don't think i could turn the other cheek in that area either. however, i do think we've gone to war too easily in the past (at least since the last invasion of pearl harbor) and we should be more outraged.

war is easy, peace is much more difficult because it requires understanding.

thanks for the post, even though you disagreed! i love to know ppls thoughts! and the fact that i still RAWK! ;-)

societyvs said...

"War is the practice of prioritizing unneeded things over humanity. This practice is wrong every single time. War is never good. War can never be justified. Peace is not A way, it is the ONLY way." (Luke)

I agree. In, war is too easy a solution for life's problems - and requires less than of the self than pursuing peace.

I find war to be the unneccesary evil of our times - the horrible thing that is defining humanity at it's very worst. War causes people to committ acts in the name of the 'group' they would normally never committ - but they feel less responsibility for their actions because of what psychology calls a 'mob mentality' - where the more people - the less easier to ascribe responsibility (companies also work like this).

I also have had many family members fight in wars - some died in WW2 - but I also honor them for their voluntary sacrifice. They are actually very honored veterans in the Aboriginal community where I am from.

I am not sure how Christianity can support war - that's tantamount to supporting war 'in the name of God' (in some senses - being a rep for the faith we claim is from God). To me that seems irresponsible on some level.

But then again - war is the evil that exists because wars need to be fought amongst proud nations who cannot back down from their pride/power. All wars exist in this realm - concerning power. It's the main reason i will not support any war - since I am not supporting country - I support another kingdom not concerned with that kind of power.

Luke said...

"I support another kingdom not concerned with that kind of power." SVS

this is what so many of our fellow brothers and sisters in the faith fail to realize. we are not concerned with power or favor... in fact one could argue Christ did the exact opposite of these things.. for all intesive purposes he lost and lost because he didn't have the favor of those in power.

it really gets my bug when "Christians" will brag that they have the truth because they have the numbers and then get really concerned with the growing Muslim population or some such nonsense. just because your church has a 1,000+ members doesn't mean it's right. right?

J said...

I suspect the tragic fascination and love of war is not unique to America, nor to this point in time in America. While I agree with the statement, I'm also don't find it to be that breathtaking. Humanity loves war.

Regarding peace, I'm reminded of something Reagan once said, about lasting peace being the end goal, not a policy.

I'm also particularly a sucker for the War of 1812 more than WW2.

John T. said...

Societyvs

"It's the main reason i will not support any war - since I am not supporting country - I support another kingdom not concerned with that kind of power."

Now JB........with this kind of statement you make it sound like youre a pacifist. If that is true how do you reconcile the fact that you like to watch some violent sporting events? Do you not see a problem with that?

SocietyVs said...

"Now JB........with this kind of statement you make it sound like youre a pacifist. If that is true how do you reconcile the fact that you like to watch some violent sporting events? Do you not see a problem with that?" (John)

For me it is an easy one. Non-violence is the highest standard I will support - and it is the very best standard in human relations.

I do not see governed and sanctioned fights as actual 'war' or 'violence' unmitigated. There are rules and refs involved there - there is whole system in place to make sure no one is seriously hurt. I am yet to see someone die in a MMA fight to be perfectly honest - and if it happens - it is a break from the norm and to be deeply mourned.

War, on the other hand, is not fought within rules - and even when it is - those rules go out the window irregardless (people are fighting for their lives in these battles). War is humans at their very worst and very degraded. It is a unlawful mess that words cannot accurately describe - except with terms like degredation.

I think there is qualified differences in the two things - war and sports. In the MMA ring people usually leave with a handshake and some hugs - even respect for the other martial 'art' of the other. I can dig that commrodarie.

In war, people leave in bodybags all the time - or in stretchers without limbs and sometimes with mental deficiencies from what has happened (traums). The actual intent of war is to kill the other side - there should be no questions about that when you're carrying a military assigned rifle - and there are no humane ways of blowing someone's head off.

That's the difference - the intent of each. In sports it is to be the best you can be - and maybe to hurt the other for a time - but not to maim or kill the other (this is all monitored mind you). War, is pure sh*t. The intent is to kill or be killed for the sake of the power of your chosen country or cause. I cannot support that - because I support the ideas of life and not death (at least that's what i think the teachings of Jesus are leading to).

I think for me that is the qualitative problem in all of this - war must exist - but must I support it? As a Christian, I cannot reconcile the idea I have to support war - but just to know they will happen - but I do not fight for that idea - and neither did Jesus as far as I can tell.

Peace is the greatest gift we can give another in my opinion and where our faith will lead us to. i cannot now turn around and say 'wait - peace only if...'. I have set the standard for myself to be peace at all costs - for human dignity and respect - and anything outside that is a corrupt of the highest ideal I hold for humanity - and when I fail - I admit this.

John T. said...

JB

I do not see governed and sanctioned fights as actual 'war' or 'violence' unmitigated. There are rules and refs involved there - there is whole system in place to make sure no one is seriously hurt. I am yet to see someone die in a MMA fight to be perfectly honest - and if it happens - it is a break from the norm and to be deeply mourned(societyvs)



First let me quantify this. I like watching the fights too, but dont kid yourself, its violence regardless of how you choose to see it.I get the fact that some fighters are respectful and such, but there are the other ones too. I remember a commentator of an MMA fight talking about one of the fighters background. I couldnt believe he said this on air but he made reference to the fighters home life as a kid and its violence and he said it was a great breeding ground for our fighters. Hes probably right but I couldnt believe he said it on air.


"Peace is the greatest gift we can give another in my opinion and where our faith will lead us to. i cannot now turn around and say 'wait - peace only if...'. I have set the standard for myself to be peace at all costs - for human dignity and respect - and anything outside that is a corrupt of the highest ideal I hold for humanity - and when I fail - I admit this."

Come on man, how can you make this statement and still watch violence at any level. I like the way you write and what you have to say, but this just wreaks of hypocrisy.You may have high ideals but your "actions" dont quite match them yet.

Luke said...

john t, you make an interesting point here.. if we're against war, does that mean we're also against violent sporting events? i think there's merit in this.

one lady here at the seminary is an ardent pacifist and won't even watch violent TV shows and what not. this leaves her behind in many of the conversations about pop culture. she just can't relate.

so it's not so much that i'm against violence... and i think this is what SVS is saying as well... that it's the degree and point of the violence that matters. if i say i'm against violence and watch football (American that is, not your more difficult Canadian version ;-)) then that makes me a hypocrit. violence is part of our wiring.. esp. for males. my speech is quite violent in some respects. i have an inherent agression that i get out through sports.

even Jesus was violent. he withered a fig tree (Mark 11:12-14), sends demons into pigs who then die in the sea (Mark 5:9, Luke 8:30, Matthew 8:28-34) and then there's the ever famous Temple incident (Mark 11:15–19, 11:27–33, Matthew 21:12–17, 21:23–27 and Luke 19:45–48, 20:1–8 and John 2:12–25)

so humans are violent.. i just pray we can keep it in check. sports are a good way to do this.. i dunno about UFC bouts... and after talking with a few people on this subject i think i best change my views myself... if a war could be justified, i'd support it.

I have learned that there are specific rules about Just War. They include having a just cause, assuring that noncombatants will not be killed or injured, using no more force than necessary, ending it as soon as possible and finally establishing a just peace. It does not seem to me that, using these rules, humanity has ever engaged in a Just War. what do you think John T?

John T. said...

Luke

Its interesting, there may never have been a just war, but Im sure there have been many combatants fighting for(in their mind) a just cause. I know you guys think violent sports are ok with rules, but isnt that why we have the geneva convention for rules of war? Same Sheit different stink. I will be the first to admit that I havnt quite evolved past my propensity for aggressive, or sometimes violent expression. Thank God I limit it to my sports now. ;)

societyvs said...

“I get the fact that some fighters are respectful and such, but there are the other ones too.” (John)

I have also pointed this out also – there is a difference between a sport like MMA and street brawls – having seen a lot of both. No one pulls knives in a MMA ring or breaks out the bats. Street violence is similar to war in my opinion and not truly a martial art of any kind…plus it is unmitigated violence (aggression going unchecked and following no rules).

I am not sure why I have to like war to like sports? Are the not different by the basis of very definition? Is MMA different than War is question I am asking? If you say ‘no’ then it must be comparable in more than just the aggression part. I see how they seem similar – no doubts – but are they really that similar?

“Come on man, how can you make this statement and still watch violence at any level. I like the way you write and what you have to say, but this just wreaks of hypocrisy. You may have high ideals but your "actions" don’t quite match them yet.” (John)

I don’t see the hypocrisy myself but if it does exist then it needs to be ‘fleshed out’. I am gathering you mean ‘I like violence’ on one level but ‘hate it’ on another level. I can make these claims because I am neither violent and live by the very ideal I am speaking of – peace. I do not actually commit a single act of violence in watching a video game, movie, or sport – or am I somehow? If so, explain that to me?

I can say clearly ‘I hate war’ because I know I do. I will not join one nor will I truly fully support one – since this is the degradation of humanity that I cannot support – since I have made a commitment to God to support life (war is not adding to life).

As for my actions, watching UFC and disliking war are not really actions per se. If I am to be judged fairly on this issue – and I don’t mind being judged for it – then it has to go by my actions on a personal level…what do those things make me do? If they make me a worse person to humanity then I am definitely in the wrong – I would agree. But if they do not – then I am not sure I see the real problem (the liberty argument or we are what we watch).

I claim they do not make me a worse person and I can back that up 100%. But I know people that buy into war and street violence – and some of them have made concessions that are causing very questionable behaviour from them to another. For me, breaking relationship in any manner or ‘damaging your neighbour’ are not teachings I will pick up and use – they are problems leading to more problems. That’s a personal choice I make to promote peace in all areas of my life – from the wife, to the family, to the friend, to the neighbour, and to the stranger.

It is an ideal I live by…I haven’t committed an act of violence since I was a teenager (maybe 16 or 17). The reason I made this choice is because I come from a violent neighbourhood(s) – and the only way to change that is not to play the same game – but to be the thing they least know…and maybe peaceful solution is that thing. That’s what I choose – to be the change that is not currently there. Now maybe I am mistaken and it does not work – but my life is fairly enriched by it.

It don’t see the hypocrisy myself – since I am making clear distinctions between things and laying that all out – plus I neither practice being physically violent (or violent in general). Isn’t a hypocrite someone that says something then turns and does that same action. For example, I smoke and drink – and you do not see me out there being extremely harsh on these things and then in turn doing them…I would be a hypocrite (an actor). I can admittedly say with violence – I am not doing that at all.

Luke said...

"Im sure there have been many combatants fighting for(in their mind) a just cause."

that's true. my gpa said so and so did my buddy who went to Iraq at the beginning of this mess. he now has retracted that statement. but guys going over there now say the same thing "we caused it, we best clean it up. that's the just thing to do." and i see their logic and agree with it. my only gripe is that we started it in the first place.. which is theirs' too.

"I will be the first to admit that I havnt quite evolved past my propensity for aggressive, or sometimes violent expression." -John T.

agreed! i'm known for saying "if they don't do this, i'll punch them in the throat!" or some such thing. i'm still very violent. no masking that. and i LOVE conflict. conflict is the way to get things done vs. being all pissy and passive-agressive about stuff. it's not the best way, but it is my way and it's worked so far ;-)

but peace in my mind is not the absence of conflict. it's conflict without the escalation to war.

"I have made a commitment to God to support life (war is not adding to life)." SVS

that makes sense to me. try to get actions to add to life, not subtract. subtraction is always too easy on this side of the vale. sports in my mind, add. war subtracts. simple as that.

John T. said...

Come on boys...........you should know your scripture. Far be it for this little laymen to show you the error of your ways ;)

Matthew 5:28

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a fight lustfully has already committed violence with them in his heart.

Luke said...

John T. hahaha! love it! also forgot "Thou shall not love war or war-like sports and esp. not any pay-per-view fights" Mark 20... uhhh... it's in the 20s ;-)

just heard an ol' song that i thought you'd like John T from Tom Waits: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExyRMqX8eOA

kinda sums up our current state of affairs in the US i think. what do you think?