Wednesday, June 06, 2012

D-Day + 68

War is always a dirty mess. It kills and maims. It scars the minds and hearts of many who never take even a scratch. From this fact of war's sheer dreadfulness, some people draw the pacifist's conclusion that war is never moral or necessary.

I draw a different conclusion. Violence -- and its supreme expression, warfare -- will always be the single most powerful tool of those inspired by evil. In this fallen world, evil will always be with us, and so war will always be with us. And it doesn't take two to pick a fight. If evil is not to control this world through war, it must be defeated at war. And that, to my mind, says we've got to pick up arms and defend each other when evil reaches for its favorite weapon.

We should loathe the prospect of fighting. And as far as I can tell, most people who have actually been in combat never, ever want to do it again. Yet they'll go back into it over and over, to help their friends who are still on the battle line.

Perhaps, if it were just our individual selves that were threatened with violence aimed at our individual death or enslavement, we could honorably decline to resist by arms, and give ourselves up to evil's designs. But in war, it isn't just our individual selves. It's our neighbor who is threatened, too. We may sacrifice ourselves, but we have no right to thereby sacrifice others. And when push comes to shove, our neighbor is even worth dying for.

Who is our neighbor? You'll find that question very wisely discussed in the tenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke. Something about a Samaritan.