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June 15, 2005
Memorial Day Depression: The Plague of War

I wish things were different. It happens every Memorial Day. I’m all for bestowing every honor and all the appreciation we can on those who served, but it’s the precursor that I wish were different. So many people suffered and so many died to make Memorial Day necessary, and it still continues today.

I caught a short ceremony at a local church. At the flag a wreath was laid and my uncle, a World War II vet, and a few others his age posed for a picture, three old veterans soon to be replaced by new, freshly seasoned veterans. I wish we had only old veterans.

But it seems that humanity is plagued by violence. It’s gone on and on throughout history, and it’s always been justified somehow by those who prosecute the wars, sometimes rightly, sometimes not.

The consistent fact is that there has been one war after another without let up for hundreds of year. Somewhere in the world there is always an organized effort by one group to kill members of another group. It strikes me as an affliction of humanity, and the best efforts throughout history have failed to end it.

There’s always some argument that persuades some portion of a social group to impose the threat and actuality of violence on another group. When I consider this chronic, sometimes acute and wholly persistent inclination of the human race, I can’t help but be overwhelmed with pessimism. We seem destined to kill each other in mass for as long as we exist. Some times more massively than other times, but we are always doing it somewhere.

I have no resolution for it. That war is sometimes necessary--the history of tyrants proves that--doesn’t change the facts of war: people kill other people, often in large numbers. This applies to the “good” wars, too.

In fact, that there is sometimes worthy grounds for war is even more reason for pessimism. The possibility of a worthy war makes it possible to persuade people that a current war is right even when it isn’t.

If military force were never justifiable, the good people of the world would never go along with it. But, to humanity’s ill, societies regularly accept, support and prosecute wars. There’s no reason to expect a breakthrough that will change that.

So where does that leave us? Right where we’ve always been, at war somewhere, somehow. The only difference now and forever into the future is that we have the weapons to make war its own end. We have the weapons to destroy the world. I can only believe they will be used again.

Nuclear weapons will remain in the world for the rest of our existence. If history is a good indicator, small wars and big wars will plague humanity for thousands of years. Eventually someone’s going to push the buttons.

I wish things were different.

Dave Loebig writes and banters out of the Tampa, Fla. area. You can banter with him at
Copyright 2005, David C. Loebig


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