By Ryder Harris, Beaverton High School sophomore and guest writer
Pacifists have always existed. These days, they are more prevalent than ever. The adage “Make peace, not war” is scattered across the world on bumper stickers, flags, and posters. But is pacifism the answer?
Those that claim that war is not the answer, that violence should never be pursued, should open a history book. Could slaves have ever been free without fighting back? Most slave owners never had an open mind about freeing their “property.” Could Jews have ever been liberated if America had sat back and watched the Nazis inch the Luftwaffe and the Wehrmacht across Europe, taking France, Spain, England, and the Nordic regions? Certainly not. Justice could never have been achieved without soldiers.
What about terrorism? Could we have ever stopped the Taliban from using human shields? Fundamentalists, whether they be white supremacists, Islamic terrorists, or eco-terrorists, are nearly impossible to sway from their position, which is what makes them extremists. When one is unwilling to compromise, how else will lives be saved?
War is horrible. Very few want war to happen, and it may be argued that those who do have little to no regard for human life, but is it not immoral to avoid war when more lives will be lost and more suffering will result from complacency? Wasn’t it a moral imperative for the Allies to declare war on Hitler rather than let him do what all humans know deep within themselves to be wrong? War should never be incited with a light heart. When President Truman dropped the bombs, he did it after much deliberation because he knew that the consequences would have been greater if he hadn’t.
War is a necessary evil. As the Romans said, “Si vis pacem, para bellum.” If you want peace, prepare for war.
Taxis to Hell – and Back – Into the Jaws of Death. Photo by Robert F. Sargent.