Each night after dinner, my wife and I watch the national news. It has been so depressing lately that, even though I want to be informed, I can hardly stand watching. The constant news of war and people killing each other in the name of religion, territory or riches is simply senseless.
You know that I have often predicted in my annual prognostications that this would be the year of confirmed alien contact. But let me tell you, if I was an intelligent alien, I would stay way, way away from this planet. War is barbaric, uncivilized and the case can be made that wars do not solve any problems.
I certainly see that in recent wars. We sent our sons and daughters to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan and I would challenge anyone to give me a list of problems that they have solved. In both cases, the situation is worse, not better, and thousands and thousands have died and suffered.
The Israelis and Palestinians have been fighting my entire life, and while I unequivocally support the right of Israel to exist in safe and secure borders without rockets raining down on them, I cannot justify the indiscriminate violence against Palestinian civilians which is causing such dramatic suffering. Of course, I do not have a solution to the stand-off, but it saddens me and alarms me that each side so easily slides into war as the answer.
Syria, Ukraine, Somalia, Nigeria, Central America, Central African Republic and literally dozens of other smaller wars are causing such widespread suffering, displacement and death that I just start thinking about Albert Einstein’s famous quotation, “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
Until we eliminate war as a means of “solving” problems, the most important challenges facing humanity — poverty, hunger, climate change, health care, education — cannot and will not be addressed, and we will slip deeper into the haves and have-nots. The strong, the weak and ultimately, innocent people will continue to be the victims.
War is simply a failure. A failure of humanity to think clearly. Before our country went to war in Iraq, we put out a big sign in front of our headquarters that had the simple message “NO WAR.” I think it is time for us to put up another that says “END WAR.” Dwight D. Eisenhower, a notable military man, President, and General, has perhaps summed it up best:
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”