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Altruism in War Making

Marlene Geiser

Posted on July 7, 2018 15:37

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What continues to bother me is that altruism has not always been the essence of war making. Perhaps we need to re-consider this issue as a nation.

July 8th is my husband's eighty fourth birthday. We plan to celebrate in a rather unusual way.

As he is a member of a group of retired war veterans, he and I have decided to call a man who too was a veteran, but is stuck in the house with physical problems. We had a chance to speak with him the other day, and he sounds as though he will be a fun person to spend time talking with regularly.

It seems to me that it is very important that we acknowledge those wonderful people who have given their all defending this country in wartime. However, I must ask a question. Why have we spent so much time on war making and not enough on making peace?

Undoubtedly, I admire men who have served. But I struggle with the reason why they have done so. My struggle stems from a sense I have that war has not accomplished a great deal from the earliest days that humans have lived on this earth.

Naturally, the people who have given their all in an effort to defend a specific way of life felt that it was appropriate that they do so. But in reality, perhaps we need to consider whether in most instances, the product of war is more often injurious and leaves the participants with wounds both emotional and physical that weren't necessary.

My goal here is to ask my reader to re-consider whether those in control selected war as an opportunity to gain power, and less in making their world a better place to live. 

Undoubtedly, if we look at the Second World War, our effort to destroy the Nazi regime and what it was causing seems appropriate. I have no problem with this country's decision to stand against men like Mussolini and what he represented. In addition, the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese was also a power ploy that needed to be dealt with.

What continues to bother me is that altruism has not always been the essence of war making. I remember a man who was the chairman of the Sociology Department in the college where I did my undergraduate studies, and he made an important point in our discussions after class.

He spoke of the men who wore the black hats and others who wore the white ones, and from his perspective, the wearers were interchangeable.  Humans from his point of view had historically been bent on gaining power, and war was rarely for a good reason.

Perhaps we need to re-consider this issue as American citizens. 

Marlene Geiser

Posted on July 7, 2018 15:37

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