The last three years at Malone I have been encouraged to think, question and learn. Many new ideas have been presented to me. One of these new ideas was pacifism. For a while I thought I could be a pacifist. I do not want to solve our problems using violence. But realistically, I do not think pacifism will ever work.
This past summer my brother enlisted in the Marine Corps. Because of this, I’ve had the privilege to meet and get to know many Marines over the past couple of months. They have completely changed my thinking on many things. One of the biggest things I have changed my mind about has been war.
As a naturally inquisitive person, I began to research war and its necessity to a society. There are a wide variety of opinions on the matter. Through my research I learned the term “crisis war.” By definition, a crisis war is where most of the people feel that their country’s existence is at stake or their certain way of living is being challenged.
The last crisis war that occurred in America was World War II. Americans watched Hitler’s armies take over France and bomb England. These actions paralyzed Americans with fear. American citizens realized the need to become involved in this war.
Since World War II, there have been many other wars. The main ones including the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the 1991 Gulf War, the Iraq War and now, the ongoing battle in Afghanistan. These wars have not terrorized American citizens the way World War II did. In fact, these wars have lacked large public support that WW II did.
Learning about “crisis war” led me to the belief that Americans should not engage in war unless our homeland is threatened. I do not support the shedding of blood, but there are times when a nation must do so to preserve its sovereignty. Diplomacy should always be the first option. Violence must come as an absolute last resort.
After spending an entire summer with members of our current Marine Corps, I came to realize that our military is made of men and women just like us. They do not have the innate desire to kill another human being. They just love our country and have a desire to defend it at all costs.
I would make the argument that the American military does not have the desire to kill; instead its desire is to protect its citizens. Unfortunately, sometimes this involves bloodshed.
I wish there was a way to avoid war altogether, but we live in a fallen world. It sounds like a great idea to refuse to succumb to violence, unfortunately, that idea can only work if everyone buys into pacifist ideals. We can see evidence of unwarranted violence in every era of history from Cain and Abel to the Battle at Jericho, to the Holocaust.
A utopian society free of violence seems ideal. However, I still wonder how we are to preserve a peaceful society without the use of violence to contain those who wish to harm us.
Christina Graw is managing editor and contributing writer to The Aviso.