Sunday, November 20, 2005

War and Peace

As Sesame Street would say…”Some things just go together” and this is never so true as with the following snippets.

Freedom, Love, Righteousness, and Peace.

Force, Hate, Unrighteousness, and War.


The above eight words are forever interconnected. In order to have Freedom we must have Love, Righteousness, and Peace and vice-versa.

Peace is something that cannot be legislated. It must come from each individual’s heart. It must be planted, nurtured, and harvested by individuals. It cannot just be plucked from a tree.

It must come first from the old phrase “Live and Let Live." In my discussions with a fellow blogger, I have been unable to show him that his view of force can never be able to coexist with peace and freedom, for freedom is really only possible with the concept of “My neighbor must keep out of my business, and that includes forcing me to care for one of my other neighbors welfare.” I either want to or I don’t. I am morally responsible for his welfare, but if I am “forced” to do it, then there is no real freedom and hence no real peace.

Freedom is more precious than peace or even life. There is no peace in compromising principals. As Emerson said, “Nothing can bring you peace but triumph of principles.” To be makers of peace requires respect for law, the living of law, the willingness to preserve principles, and forthright facing of facts.


In the early history of the world, wars were of extermination or enslavement. But, when the Roman Empire became powerful, it adopted rules that honored it’s enemies, treated them with respect, and in fact on one occasion the Romans declined to recognize one of their generals in a victory that he had won by using bribery, and on another declined a certain victory by use of poison.

After the Dark Ages, along about the 1500’s a man named Hugo Grotius prepared the first great work on international law, and in the preface he said, “I saw prevailing throughout the Christian world a license to making war of which even barbarous nations would have been ashamed; recourse being had to arms for slight reasons or no reasons; and when arms were once taken up, all reverence for divine and human law was thrown away, just as if men were thenceforth authorized to commit all crimes without restraint.”

Because of this condition Grotius wrote his work “De Jure Belli et Pacis”, which was the beginning of the bringing into war of something of humanity, if humanity may be properly spoken of in connection with war.

First an effort was made to draw the distinction between combatants and non-combatants. Wars were to be waged between armies and not civilians.

When our great Nation was formed, we brought forth the concept of neutrality, (again, the old Live and Let Live philosophy),the intent thereof being to confine the war conflagration in as narrow a space as possible. We knew that “global war” and “total war” was a curse.

Then came our own “Civil War.” Many were treated as “traitors.” But then came Francis Lieber, a political refugee from Germany, and he drew up for Lincoln what became known as “General Order 100.” These Orders went to the Federal armies and prescribed how to conduct the war.

The rules forbade the bombardment, without notice, of places where there were civilian peoples, provided protection of museums, libraries, and scientific institutions. Undefended towns were not to be attacked. They provided that poison gases and poison it self should not be used. Pillage, rape and arson along with all like crimes were forbidden.

Then came World War I, and we began to sink back to barbarism. All distinctions between combatants and non-combatants disappeared. This was partly due to the type of weapons used.

Then came World War II and the Atom Bomb. We wiped out hundreds of thousands of civilian populations with this bomb. Few if any of these people were responsible for the war. We lost all that we had gained from Grotius (1625) to 1912. And the worst was that not only did the people of the United States not rise up in protest against this savagery, but it actually drew approval from the nation at large.

We could have done something else to demonstrate our “Walk softly but carry a big stick (atom bomb)” philosophy. We could have at least “warned” the towns first. We could have dropped the bombs on a deserted island, etc.

We were again not thinking with our morals when it came to Nuremberg. As Lincoln said about the opponents of the North in the Civil war, (the Southerners), “no one need expect he would take any part in hanging or killing these men, even the worst of them.”

Men should not be convicted for acts, which, when committed, were not contrary to the law of that nation, but were declared so after they were committed. This is violating one of our fundamental constitutional concepts that “ex post facto” laws are not tolerable. (Dina, you will certainly appreciate this one.)

When we, as a nation, support such un-Christian plans as the “Morgenthau Plan”, (to starve Germans living in the South – See Tobacco Road), we need to reevaluate our national principals.

What are the conditions of Justifying War?

First the reasons that are not justified to begin a war;
1. Territorial Expansion.
2. To impel others to a particular form of worship.
3. To enforce a new order of government.

Reasons to Justify entering a war are as follows:
1. An attempt to dominate and to deprive another of his freedom.
2. Loyalty to his country.
3. Defense of a weak nation that is being unjustly crushed by a strong, ruthless one.

The reasons to justify beginning a war are:
1. When we are attacked.

Now, we were attacked and that part justifies the war. However, having said that, we were not attacked by a nation, but rather a group of people who truly want to destroy us. And we do have the right of self-defense. So, the question remains, do we have the right to use the methods that Bush applied to defend us?

That question is very hard to answer, and I must say that it may be that only the Classified documents that the White House has and only those in power really know the real reasons to justify his actions. In other words, more information is needed to answer this question. There is a right and wrong answer, it is just that I am not sure that I, or we, have enough to decide at this point. I have laid out the moral rules for war, help me decide.

Now for the reality check. Should Saddam be tried for crimes that were not illegal in his country? If they were not illegal, then I don’t think so, because of the “ex post facto” circumstances. However, there was supposedly written laws in his country, and I wonder if rape, and murder by the government were legal because they were written as law. (sts and I are having this discussion now with respect to stealing, (transfer payments), by the government being O.K. because he believes it is in the law.)

In the end, peace efforts are useless without Righteousness. War in our midst is inevitable without people searching for Freedom, Love, and Righteousness. We have too much hate in this country, and often by the very same people crying for peace. They hate the Christian, the Republican, and the Conservative. Now, some of the aforementioned also have hate, so we all need to pull back a little and not be so easily offended and not try to use force to get our way.

Peace can never be legislated. We will never have….”so let it be written, so let it be done” as long as man is running things.


At 9:32 PM, Blogger Roseville Conservative said...

Good Stuff, FAR...

At 10:54 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

Thanks RC.



At 11:00 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

While we may be guilty of some "collateral" damage, at least we do often try to minimize civilian death, while the Wahabists try their best to inflict civilian damage to it's fullest, but yet often get a free pass from those who oppose the war.




At 8:43 AM, Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

How do you know that "we" try to minimize "collateral" damage, i.e. slaughter of civilians?

At 9:34 AM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


You always ask great questions. :)

We, meaning the military, use "smart bombs", we try to take out just the house that some terrorist is hiding in and are very careful to not do any more damage than necessary. They are called "surgical strikes."

For those of us that have been in the military and have seen the precision that we use and recieve breifings all the time to "avoid civilian casualties at all costs", we are heartend with the caring for innocents that is shown.

We have suffered a lot because of not wanting to harm civilians, but it is the right thing to do.

How do "I" know? Been there, done that. I was stationed at Ben Hoa Air Base in Viet Nam and have first hand knowledge.



At 11:20 AM, Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

I appreciate that you were in Vietnam, but you aren't in Iraq. America is a different place these days. I don't recall hearing that leaders actively advocated the use of torture during the Vietnam years. The fact that Americans of all stripes are suggesting that is okay speaks volumes about moral decay in this society. Forget gay marriage - a society that says it is okay to torture has no soul.

But, to the point of your post. It is reminiscent of something my dad said the other night. In Buddhism, there are things called quans - they are unobeyable commands. Things that you were never meant to obey, but serve as wisdom. My dad referred to several of Jesus' teachings as quans. For example, love your neighbor as you love yourself is an unobeyable command. You cannot love someone because someone tells you to. Love comes from within and is not and can never be a product of force. Loving your neighbor as you love yourself is a result of divinity within yourself, not force from without.

Similarly, as you say in your post, peace cannot be legislated. It must come from within.

At 3:14 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


I asked people in Viet Nam if we tortured our enemies, and from every source I was given great details of studies that showed torture did not work. I was told sodium pentathol was more effective and therefore we didn't need to hurt anyone. These were people whom I trusted with my life telling me these things.

While it has been a while since I was in the military, my youngest son was just recently released from the military and he has not only kept me up to date, but so have some of his friends who are still in.

They tell me things are still the same. The military resits change even more than Conservatives do. :)

My sons best friend Ryan is in the MP's and he has direct knowledge of orders from the top on what is allowable and what is not.

He asked me a very important question that I don't hear in the MSM..."What is your definition of Torture?"

Is it scraping fingernails on a blackboard? Is it being kept up all night? Is it playing rap music all night? To me, those are all not really torture, they may be very uncomfortable, and I have been told that some of these things are permissable under our guidelines.

To the enemy, torture is slowly beheading a "Sunday" or "Saturday" person. Or, pulling out finger nails, and I have been told by very reliable sources that extream physical pain is not allowed and is seldom effective when it was used by our enemies in the past.

People will tell you whatever you want to hear when they are being tortured. Yep, the moon is made from dead bodies, or whatever you want me to say.

The commandment to "Love thy neighbor as thyself" is a commandment to "do your best to do" amd in my opinion what he was referring to was "The Golden Rule" as the method of showing that love.

I think the Golden Rule is very possible and thus we can love our neighbor as ourself, because it is really just another way of saying the same thing.



At 4:44 PM, Blogger GNN Staff Writer said...

Excellent post. Thanks!

At 7:36 PM, Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

We can love our neighbors, but we will never do it because we are commanded to. It's only when we have it within our hearts.

Perhaps the debate about torture is the definition, but when the VP lobbies Congress to strip a bill of a ban against torture and the President says that we shouldn't outlaw torture because he needs all tools, then there is a problem. It is toubling to me that the leaders who make these decisions never served in the military in any real way.

At 11:47 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


Maybe we will try if asked, (commanded), where we otherwise would not even try? At least the seed was planted?

Most things must be tried first in order to be accomplished.



At 11:50 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


But did you like the post? Did my views suprise you? Am I consistant?



At 8:25 AM, Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Oops, I should have said I liked it before I started all the commentary. I am easily distracted. :-)I have to admit I was quite surprised by it. Pleasantly surprised that is. You are consistent with your values and it gave me a greater respect for your thought process.

Do you think you have to try to love your neighbor before you can? That reminds me of the saying in India that justifies the arranged marriages - we don't marry who we love, we love who we marry. Seems backwards to me.

At 1:24 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

The key to understanding a person's position is by understanding their thought process.

The only time I have difficulty in explaining my consistentcy is in my positions on "The sanctity of life" and "the Death Penalty."

But after seeing how I arrived at my conclusions in my new post, hopefully people will go beyond what they percieve to be a contridiction.

As I said in my new post, it would be soooo easy to just say..."I am not in favor" and then all would love me.

"Do you think you have to try to love your neighbor before you can? "

Yep, My Children didn't like to go to church for a long time, but now that they are all grown, two of my three go to church, and the third one will once he settles down.

Once we try for a while, then it becomes second nature. It all starts with "respect." Once we learn to respect people, we can then learn to love them.

I think God knows that if we respect others freedom to do silly stuff, (as long as it doesn't infringe upon others), then we can learn to love them for who they are....Individuals.

Hate doesn't come naturally. It must be taught, but love is in all little children at birth.



At 8:51 AM, Blogger mrsleep said...

FAR, I noticed you gave your personal views on Torture, and indicated you have done some research on today's practices.

However, you didn't reply directly to the Adminstrations stance on the topic, and specifically Cheney's intense lobbying a positioning. I know II didn't ask you a question about it.

What are your thoughts about Cheney's actions and words relative to using Torture?

At 7:19 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

Mr Sleep,

Asked: "What are your thoughts about Cheney's actions and words relative to using Torture?"

He should not be asking for anything more than the ones that I outlined in my definition of what should be allowed.

The Golden Rule should always be our guide. ALWAYS.

If we trade places in a given situation and our views change, then we are not a fair person.

I could see that if I was captured and the other side wanted to use sleep deprevidation, loud music, varing the temperture, etc, then I would be O.K. with that because I have said that I thought it was O.K. to do to our enemies.

If Cheney believes that he would not mind any of the tourtures he is asking for, (and would not change his mind if he were captured), then he is a fair man.

But, he would not be Following the Golden Rule if the guy he captured would not use the more severe tactics.

Does that answer your question?

No side stepping from me on purpose. :)


At 7:22 PM, Blogger Free Agency Rules said...

Oops, to clarify.

I said: "But, he would not be Following the Golden Rule if the guy he captured would not use the more severe tactics."

But should have said: "But, he would not be Following the Golden Rule if Cheney suspected that the guy he captured would not use the more severe tactics"



At 9:11 AM, Blogger mrsleep said...

Good answer. Enjoy your Thanksgiving.


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