Thursday, February 25, 2016

From the Home Front

It is hard to be a pacifist in the face of something like ISIS. But the sad fact remains that wars are rarely fought for the stated reasons even if the soldiers and their supportive home front believe they are. Also, the victims of war are remembered only for a short time, then slip into that terrible word, 'statistics.' Stalin was right when he said, “One death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.” He should know he was an expert at creating such statistics. The problem remains twofold: people fight, and when they fight they target whom they can. The targets are often those who got in the way, and their deaths, though lamented and avenged in the immediate, are forgotten in the long run. Those in power shrug. There is plenty more fodder for their war machines. Stalin knew. His state sponsored terror killed millions. Millions more sacrificed their lives in the struggle against Hitler's armies. But they remain nameless. Stalin we remember. ISIS destroys relics and churches and murders people. They are easy to hate. But, after the dead are buried, ISIS are the ones we think about, talk about, prepare to meet head-on. The living concern themselves with the living, often with murderous rage. The war mentality feeds itself happily. And someone, somewhere, is callously counting his profits. There are fortunes being made from all that carefully directed hate. Maybe it's not so hard remaining a pacifist after all, if you think about it.

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