Rules of War

I heard Senator John McCain say during an interview, “It was a violation of the rules of war.” He was referring to the gas attack by Assad’s forces in Syria.

THE RULES OF WAR! What about rules of peace? You would think by this time in our technological and spiritual progression; humankind would have a different set of rules. Rules of peace.

What the Assad regime did was barbaric, cruel and a crime against humanity. He and those participating in this reprehensible act should and will be held accountable. I believe President Trump’s decision to bomb the offending airbase was a measurable response of global indignation.  It was an emotional response, not a policy projection.

But back to my question. Why do we have rules of war? Why are we still a bellicose society? I can answer my question by the following startling statistic.

The United States is 240 years old. We have been at war, in some form or another for 219 of those years. To say it another way, since our founding, there has been only 21 calendar years of no war.

One thought on “Rules of War”

  1. A distinguished educator and leader, Dr. Ernest Boyer once asked, “why do we teach history through war?” His position was, we currently learn about history through the lens of killing and might makes right. He wasn’t a Pacifist, but his reasoning was we learn history as it was played out on the battlefield with power and death. The outcome, the winners died rightfully and the losers lost because they were wrong and their people deserved to die. It also meant, whoever had the biggest and best weapons won. It was never about how we could have worked together to seek resolution and peace. So we still learn about history through that lens and we continue in the same path toward “mighty and waring resolution.”

    Several times I have visited the KZ – Gedenkstätte Dachau and have been moved to tears as I walked those grounds. I have stared upon the sculpture in Dachau, it speaks to the agony of war and the people who suffer. The words underneath this profound work of art is: ” Never Again!” That should mean that not only was the anger and killing not acceptable then, it is not now! It should be our mantra for learning about history through a different lens, a lens of peace. Maybe this would be foundational in our approaching conflict with sanity and “common sense” in the future.

    As Dr. Martin Luther Kind reminded us: “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” This must be the way we proceed, the way we deal with conflict, especially in a time when anger and retribution with the catastrophic weapons we have, could end life as we know it on earth. Peaceful solutions are the resolutions because “War is not healthy for children and other living things.” (A famous phrase that arose during the Viet Nam War…and we still have not learned to think of things through a lens of peace)

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