I’m sure you have seen all the usual statements about those who served during wartime and how they preserved our freedoms. As a peace, justice and sustainability organization, Peace Action of San Mateo County respects the choices made by folks who have served. However, we take a questioning position as to whether lives lost in service due to the decisions made by our policymakers were in vain or were put toward a good purpose. We have to dig a bit deeper than the barbecues and flag displays.
I would surmise that except for two or three of the conflicts we engaged in over our nearly 250-year history, our wars were either avoidable or downright illegal. It turns out that in all too many cases, “military solutions” and stubborn demands appear to have been the practice of choice rather than the pursuit of solid diplomacy and compromise. So yes, we all admire the willingness of the young to answer the call, but was that call a legitimate one? We don’t criticize our nation unduly. Just about every other power — from before the Romans on through our own period of ascendancy — choices were made by the “exceptional” power of the day to use force in order to have things “their way.”
Rather, we think we need to take the long view and have the realization that we humans need to do more sharing on the international and domestic level as well. That ideal would definitely be worth celebrating.
The letter writer is the president of Peace Action of San Mateo County.