* The title is the first line of a powerful Stephen Crane poem.
I have been thinking about war a lot lately. Some people have said to me in the past that I can’t possibly “understand war” or that my opinion is worthless because I have not joined the military and seen action on the “front lines”. Let me just say on that point, that I support the draft, just like Thomas Jefferson did. I believe that everyone should experience military service and thus be able to make more qualified judgement as a citizen when congress decides to declare war against another nation. My belief is that, in that case, many more citizens will speak out against (and prevent) wars of questionable intent and justification such as the current two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But the lack of a civilly-educated citizenry and the dominance of a culture which looks down upon those that speak out against a war creates a foreign policy of constant escalation. John F. Kennedy said it beautifully:
“War will exist until the distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige as the warrior does today.”
I got this quote from Thom Hartmann’s book Rebooting the American Dream