Monday, May 30, 2005

In Memoriam 

I'm a veteran of the U.S. Army, so that might qualify me to talk about Memorial Day -- at least a bit. I have wondered for years why we have the dead. There are just wars, but too many are inexcusable wars. The nadir of insane and unjustified conflict was World War I where millions of men died for no good reason. And, worst of all, nothing was concluded except the preamble for yet another war.

There are evil men who must be deposed for the good of mankind, but it is possible to stopper dictators inside their borders as we did with the Soviet Union, with Cuba and with North Korea. By leaving them to their own devices, they rot within. Regrettably with the proliferation of nuclear warheads and cheap missiles, it is less possible to bottle a country.

So we must have armies, and they must be prepared to fight and in fighting, people die. It is a sad that after millennia, the human race hasn't figured out how to get along without mass killing. Yet, it is increasingly important to go to war slowly and to justify clearly the necessity. Iraq, we know now, was a mistake and a bitter lesson of how little we understand an enemy's intentions. I hope we remember that the next time as we honor the dead today.


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