Kingman Letters: Is there justification for war?

Image: Wikimedia Commons<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->U.S. Marines wading ashore during the WWII Battle of Tinian.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->

Image: Wikimedia Commons<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->U.S. Marines wading ashore during the WWII Battle of Tinian.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->

The other day I read an article by one Lisa Graff on the subject of her father being a vet of WWII along with her son having enlisted in the military in 2007 and is currently involved in officer training. She noted that for the Vietnam era, she was involved in the so-called peace movement.

Her article revealed that her father did not discuss his experiences during WWII but attempted to bury his memories of the war in a bottle of Southern Comfort. He died in 1981 at the age of 56 having effectively drank himself to death. The fact is that he was not able to resume his civilian life after that life-changing experience. Not at all like the image created in the war movies of the happy, go-lucky troops.

On this note I wish to express some of my opinions regarding war. Though I have never served in the military, I have studied war and pondered not only the impact on nations, but on the individuals. Once war has commenced, there is no way to avoid the impact on the individual.

Thus, on the individual level, war involves weighty issues that should not lightly be overlooked by our leaders. As tragic as the death of a loved one is, those who survived physically suffer within, perhaps to a greater degree. Can anyone of us actually conceive the act of killing another, face to face, eye to eye? The only way that we justify such individual acts is under the guise of defense of mom, apple pie and the flag. In other words, our emotions must be riled to a feverous pitch and kept there for the duration of the war. However, afterward in the still of night, the former soldier must somehow live with the memories.

Over the years I have developed an outlook on WWII that may be unique: That war was the direct result of decisions made by various world leaders over a period of 20 to 40 years prior to 1939. By reviewing those decisions, it becomes apparent that the weaknesses of leaders play a big role in history. Our so-called leaders are not infallible. Simply put, WWII was a mistake directly connected to WWI which was connected to the mistakes made during the 1800s in Europe.

Today our nation is once again stepping into the molasses of another war (while already involved in at least two other wars). Without belaboring the connection of these current wars to the many wars fought by this nation since May 1945, I wish to point out the following: The foreign policy of this nation is one of perpetual war for perpetual peace.

Do not be deceived by claims of our nation's security being in jeopardy. Some 54,000 men and women were sacrificed from 1957 to 1975 under the guise of this claim. Some were my friends, but all were my brothers and sisters. Not a damn thing was accomplished.

Our so-called leaders over the past 70-odd years have found excuse after excuse to convince each of us of the righteousness of their cause. No thought is ever given to the long-term sacrifices of those put in harm's way. Why do we, as mothers and fathers, continue to allow these wars? Is our nation really threatened by Libya? Were we threatened by Panama or Bosnia or Korea? If so, why did we not intervene in Egypt recently or the many tribal wars in Africa in which thousands died?

There is an unspoken truth in the description of our nation's foreign policy as a state of perpetual war for perpetual peace. The questions that need addressing are why war and why some war and not others? Is it all about money and oil or attempts to appear personally as a strong leader with minimum risk to one's poll results.

Clifford Smith