September 19, 2001
Ain't Gonna Study War
Back in my college days, I did some work at one of the mental hospitals run by the State of North Carolina. The one I worked in, John Umstead Hospital, was on property that had formerly been a military training camp during World War II. The leftover Quonsett huts had been converted into patient wards.
A motto found at the hospital, on the cornerstone, I think, was that familiar passage from Isaiah that contains the phrase, "They shall beat their swords into plowshares." I hope those of you who are as opposed to the mixing of church and state as I am will forgive this one crossover...its intent was not to evangelize for religion, but to speak against the horrible conditions forced by war.
And I would call on all those who want to bomb somewhere, anywhere as a response to the recent acts of terrorism to think long and hard about the horrible conditions you're asking the world to take on. For starters, you might consider this essay. And this one.
I am not the biggest pacifist on the planet. I know that sometimes countries need to use armed force to defend themselves against enemies. But I also know decisions about such things must be made after careful thought. Especially in light of the fact that no country is directly responsible for the terrorists' actions.
Consider this, please: in some ways, if we wind up in a worldwide war, it will be a civil war, especially for those of us who are connected by the Internet to people in other countries. We may well be sending our troops to kill those with whom we've made friends. And those with whom we do business.
I cannot take that thought lightly. I would hope that no one can.
Yes, we are all angry and hurt and betrayed at the moment. Our own resources (if nothing else, spaces in our flight schools) have been used against us. Our nation hasn't suffered this many casualties in a very long time. But too many people are taking their anger out on the wrong targets, and have decided to put common sense aside for the time being.
I would ask that all consider the consequences before calling for action. Me, well let's just say I ain't gonna study war.