War Is a Last Resort: Do Not Spend Human Lives in Vain

My generation’s war was the Vietnam War, which stands in stark contrast to World War II, a war with a clear, moral purpose, if it is possible to say that about any war. As Vietnam unfolded, our patriotism and zeal were at first buoyed by the older generation’s convictions and passions from that just war only 20 years earlier. They assumed Vietnam was similarly righteous despite the recent stalemate in Korea.

But we were drawn into Vietnam little by little, inexorably, and its purpose was at first tied to anti-communist Cold War themes which resonated with the public. But as the war wore on, that early conviction became murky, politicized, managed by policy wonks in the White House, and in no small way propelled by the Military Industrial Complex, who a hero of World War II and our President in 1960, Dwight Eisenhower, warned us about in no uncertain terms as he left office. http://youtu.be/8y06NSBBRtY

I saw renderings of the Vietnam Memorial planned for the Mall in Washington when it won the design award, and I was, frankly, underwhelmed. But when we later visited the Memorial in person, and saw the nearly 60,000 names arrayed before us, I found my knees buckling and tears streaming down my face. So many of our children, our most priceless possession, can never again be spent so profligately, so incompetently and so recklessly on a battlefield lacking purpose and conviction by a series of dithering Presidents from Kennedy to Johnson to Nixon.”

Thank you to all the fallen and maimed for the selfless service and duty to us, your countrymen. We are eternally in your debt. In your honor we will fight with all our might to stop war unless there is absolutely no choice. Then, if we determine we must go, we will all do so, elites included, with conviction and purpose, having thought through the aftermath, and intending to win behind our commanders on the field, who know what they are doing and care more than anyone else about the men and women in their charge. But under all circumstances, let us first do everything in our power to stop war cold in its deadly tracks.

I believe the words on a T-shirt I saw recently are a propos for almost every circumstance: “I am already against the next war!”