Posted by: Inside-Out Peace | April 22, 2009

Excuse Me, While I Have A Massive Inner Conflict

This comment, by “ThoughtfulTed”, was posted in response to the Washington Post article “At Risk in Sri Lanka’s War”, by James Traub:

This piece is perfectly indicative of the kind of stupidity that we’ve seen repeatedly in the Arab/Israel conflict.
A government seeks to defend itself against a bunch of psychopathic murderers.
Before long, the pacifists, do-gooders, and murder apologists get into the act, forcing that government to cease before it had accomplished its goals – thus setting the stage for a renewal of the conflict and further death and destruction.
I understand the compassion for civilians and other innocents caught in the crossfire, but we must realize that this endless round of interference on the part of those not involved, can only lead to more horror, not less.
Groups like the Tigers, Hamas, Hezbollah, AL-Qaeda, and the Taliban have no compunction whatsoever about murdering anyone who stands in the way of their insane programs. They are not amenable to anything but the full implementation of their policies. No compromise is possible.
The only way to end this scourge is to destroy them completely, without mercy – they have no compunction about doing this to their enemies, and refusing to wipe them out is tantamount to condoning the murder of innocents.
As tragic as these conflicts may be, nothing good ever comes from ignoring reality and pretending that there’s another solution.
There isn’t.
Instead of excoriating the governments who try to solve this problem, the UN and the rest of the world should be sending massive amounts of aid, including troops if acceptable, to wipe out this modern scourge and impedimemt to peace and freedom.
The UN should be in the forefront of this battle. Yeah, right. It can’t even distinguish between self-defense and racism. Its organizational structure is in the hands of those who prefer the Jihadi killers to the victims.
No doubt Traub would have counseled George Washington to stop the revolution in order to avoid civilian casualties.
According to Thomas Jefferson, freedom must be maintained by blood.
Human nature is such, and to ignore it in favor of dopey and unrealistic ideologies is to invite abject slavery and even worse misery.
Those who will not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Traub is an enabler.

I’m posting it here because it represents a viewpoint I’ve been very conflicted about lately: Do there truly exist, people with whom peace is ultimately unachievable?

This problem began occupying my mind several days ago, when I heard a news report saying that Somali pirates had vowed to “retaliate” for the deaths of the three killed by US Navy SEAL snipers, who were working to free the pirates’ hostage, Captain Richard Phillips. My immediate reaction was to think that for the pirates to use the word “retaliate” was completely absurd.  They took Capt. Phillips hostage, and they had a gun pointed at him at the time the snipers fired.  You cannot use violence, and yet claim victimhood when violence is then used against you in response. 

Now despite how logical that feels to me, I am not at all comfortable with the implications of that statement, for it seems to suggest that there are situations for which violence is justified, and possibly even necessary — as ThoughtfulTed argues in his comment.  So, my quandary is to reconcile my opinion that the pirates are wholly unjustified in calling for “retaliation”, with my conviction that violence is always wrong.  The simple way out is to say both the pirates and the snipers were wrong, but I do not think it is that easy.  It is like peeling the layers of an onion, or solving the chicken-and-egg problem, to say who gets to take the last shot.

Clearly, violence begets violence.  Yet we – meaning all the people on this planet – continue to act as though we can use violence to bring about peace.  ThoughtfulTed, for example, seems to really believe that if we could just, finally, once and for all, kill everyone who’s fighting us, then there will be peace.  That those “other” people will never stop fighting until they have killed all of “us”, and therefore “we” have to kill all of “them”.  But this is hypocritical.  If we want to kill all of “them” then, by our own logic, we would be justifying our opponents’ attempt to kill all of us.  If we ever decide, as a society, that the only effective answer is to simply kill all of the “others”, then there would no longer be anything distinguishing us from what we believe “them” to be.  Both sides would have the mutually exclusive goal of annihilating the other side.  So this line of thinking cannot be a means for accomplishing peace.

And yet….  when I read ThoughtfulTed’s comment, I became aware of a small, nagging doubt — a recognition of an assumption I had not been fully aware I was making — a shocked, horrified, mind-bending wonderment that perhaps there actually are people who do not wish peace to be.  I honestly cannot begin to describe to you the depths of the personal philosophical abyss that the thought of this possibility has put me at the edge of.  What If that is indeed the case?  I want to simply refuse to believe it and go on as before – after all, “why would anyone not want peace??”  was such a comfortable worldview.  But it presents a problem of such magnitude that I feel I cannot go on thinking or writing meaningfully about peace if I ignore it:  What is the nonviolent way ( if there even is a way!) to peace, with a person or a group who does not want peace?


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