My meanderings in old cemeteries offer frequent reminders that poverty and hunger, natural dangers, and lack of medical advances or resources were far from the only causes of early and numerous deaths among our forebears. Chief among the causes is—and I fear, will always be—ignorance. All one has to do is spy a few headstones marking the graves of persons killed in The War, the World War, or even the so-called Great War to realize that despite terrible, lengthy, massive battles and wars in ages past, our more recent ancestors still believed that one war would ‘end all wars’ and that it was an anomaly. We should be so astute and peace-loving. Instead, we always find new ways to mistreat and murder our fellow beings, and the rate of discovery for cures and self-improvements never quite keeps up with the pace of our ills, let alone outruns them.
The Emperor’s Newest Costume
An Empire never gave good reason why
It ought to rule instead of native sons
And daughters, who, if they survive the guns
And carpet-bombing, still might long to die,
For terrible and bitter is the rule
Of anyone who dares to steal the throne
Of any land or country not his own,
Who often trades a despot for a fool,
Or worse, fool for a despot, and the land
And all its people suffer at the change,
No better, oft enough, and ever strange,
Without the hope and strength to countermand
The awful miseries imposed by those
Who choose to rule as wolves in ovine clothes.
Excellent piece. Our leaders never learn from history
One hopes that we *all* would learn.
A very thoughtful post, as always. Many thanks.
I guess that these recent walks in the graveyard reawakened my sorrow that so many have lost their lives in the causes of war, both those who dared to stand up as soldiers or civilians for what they believed was the righteous cause, and those inevitably caught in the crossfire.
You have over simplified a highly complex issue. As a veteran who answered the call of his country, I am highly offended by your thoughtless words. And you offend all those who have given their lives to protect this country.
Sir, I would absolutely never denigrate the commitment and sacrifice of any of our dedicated and courageous military members. I have the utmost admiration and gratitude for that selflessness and for all of the people who work to defend the helpless and protect those who need protecting.
I am referring here to leadership in places all around the world where greedy and hubristic people of all kinds have chosen to overrun weaker countries and communities for their own gain, where the invasion of lands and the genocide of cultures and nations is chosen because some terrible persons or forces think it to their own advantage, regardless of the cost to the defeated. I respectfully ask that you understand that I neither can nor would address the whole of the complexity of war in one small, personal post. This is merely a meditation on that one aspect of it, from my perspective.