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Is War Better Than Peace?


The extreme absence of peace in the Middle East stems from political and religious differences, a situation not easily resolved through diplomacy. Now with fresh scars of war blemishing that region, anti-American sentiment continues to slow the advance of peace on earth. But is war really the greatest enemy of peace?

On the surface this question borders absurdity. Yet under careful study history reveals that chaos has a strong tendency to bring about order. In short, human beings behave more like human beings when their freedom comes under attack.

Take September 11, 2001, for example. When the shock of that horrible morning finally settled into the collective consciousness of the world, there emerged a general sense of urgency towards responding to anyone in need, particularly those in New York City and Washington D.C. who were directly affected by the terrorist attacks. Even though an ever-present fear of new attacks loomed in the background of nearly everyone’s minds, we felt again a long-forgotten desire for unity, ironically not driven by fear, but by respect. People smiled and spoke to one another in passing as an attitude of goodwill existed even through the stress of busy work schedules. The “me first” faded as life took on a deeper sense of meaning and purpose than had been present on the tenth of September. In our desperate need to reassess and regroup as a society—not just in the United States, but on a global scale—life appeared to be increasingly governed by peace.

Alas, this state of bliss lasted every bit of six months before the corruption of greed and self-indulgence which had thrived prior to September 11 began to rear its ugly head. The American government declared a semi-official war against a phantom menace called Terrorism. Even so, the world began to settle back into its pre-attack routine, and human value diminished noticeably. After months of heightened terrorist alerts during which nothing happened, we became callous to the threat that we could all die any day, and peace slowly became taken for granted. In war there appeared unity.

In peace, division.

Which leads to the question: Is war better than peace? Not in this journalist’s opinion. But an ancient proverb says that it is better to be in the house of mourning than in the house of laughter. My interpretation of this is that being cornered in an unpleasant situation forces higher intellectual processes to discover creative solutions which otherwise are seldom found.

Prior to the official declaration of war against Iraq by President Bush in March 2003, rumors of this looming conflict sparked massive anti-war protests by millions of people worldwide. The objective mind could easily find itself torn between the need to disarm the evil regime of Saddam Hussein before it became a major global threat, and the burning question, “Why now?” Of course, President Bush had his reasons which compelled him to choose this course of action, yet the outcome may have actually widened the political chasm between the United States and much of the rest of the civilized world, increasing the threat of more war.

As the aftermath of the September 11th disasters showed, true peace comes from deep within the human spirit. It is born out of love and respect for every living thing in existence. Humanity is a team which excels when all work together, reaching new and unprecedented realms of discovery and creativity. But when each member works only toward his or her own personal fulfillment, indifferent to the needs of others, this team becomes dysfunctional and ineffective. It is a sad testament that we only vigorously pursue human togetherness in times of peril. Peace on earth is not an easy goal, but it is attainable. War then, it seems, is not the enemy of peace, but the natural by-product of its absence.


Categories: Humanity, Politic'd
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