Thursday, July 28, 2005

People Don't Want War

The following letter appeared this evening in our local paper. I thought about sending in a reply, but the Letters to the Editor section of the Daily Independant rapidly disintegrates into a bunch of people incoherently trying to change each other's minds about topics where people very rarely listen to opposing views and even rarer still change their minds. But I just couldn't let this letter go by without makeing some comment. Even if my comments are here where no one else will ever read them.

People don't want war; it's the politicians that do

Thursday, July 28, 2005 1:11 PM PDT


Why, of course, the people don't want war.

Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece?

Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor England nor in America nor, for that matter, Germany. That is understood.

But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a Democracy or a Fascist Dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist Dictatorship.

As quoted by Hermann Goering in the Nuremberg Diary (1947), written by G. M. Gilbert, "Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

I wanted to share this tidbit of historical perspective with Ridgecrest. I found it to be very apropos for these times.


I like and agree with this man's basic premise that 'people don't want war'. He is of course correct. No rational, peaceful people desire war. But R.G. Niles doesn't carry this thought to the next step. I grant him that people don't want war. But sometimes a rational peaceful people do go to war, because they have to.

Then Niles quotes Hermann Goering to say that all a political leader has to do is tell people that they have been attacked. Well Mr. (or Mrs.) Niles my political leaders don't have to tell me that we have been attacked. I watched it live on TV on the morning of September 11, 2001. If you don't consider killing four aircrafts full of American citizens and destroying the World Trade Centers and damaging the pentagon being attacked, Exactly how many Americans have to die before you think we have been attacked.

As individuals we do not want war. As a nation we do not want war. I'm even confident enough to say that our elected leaders do not want war. But sometimes a people and a nation have to fight. To not resist the terrorists, to not hunt them down and kill them, to allow them get away with attacking our nation will just empower them to attack us again, and again.

Lastly, of all the great leaders, philosophers, peacemakers, scholars, and people throughout the history of mankind you chose to quote Hermann Goering. The man who after Hitler, was the most prominent man in the Nazi Regime. A man who was tried and convicted of four accounts of Crimes against Peace, War Crimes and Crimes against humanity. Of all the great thinkers, brave heros, and heroic champions in the history of mankind you choose to quote a man who committed suicide during his trial rather than face the charges brought against him.

R.G. Niles, your choice of inspiration alone trivializes the premises of your arguement. Your belief that we are in a war only because our leaders want it makes you a danger to yourself, your family and people who encounter you every day. Refusal to recognize a threat to your safety and wellbeing makes you naive. Refusal to fight or resist that threat makes you a fool.

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