“WAR and peace.” (Leo Tolstoy)


I have come to the conclusion that war is far more popular than peace.  In order to illustrate my point, just go to Wikipedia and search for list of wars. You will be given a list that has to be separated by time frame just to make it manageable. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of wars listed and they date back to the beginning of time. There is even a category for ongoing conflicts, which means the list gets updated all the time. Now, just for the sake of argument, you should search for list of peace. There is no list of peace because peace never gets those catchy names like The Great War, The Hundred Years War, The Napoleonic Conquest, The War of the Roses or The War to End All Wars. We love war but peace… not so much.

It has gotten so bad that now we may have to start reusing names because The Crimean War has already been used once and the only reason anybody remembers that British versus the Russians conflict was because the British poet Alfred Lord Tennyson  wrote “The Charge of the Light Brigade” to celebrate the Battle of Balaclava in 1854. In his version of the truth, the Light Brigade of 666 men was nearly wiped out but in reality only 110 men died. When this little mistake was made known to Lord Tennyson he refused to change it. That’s how much the British love war.

Don’t get me wrong, we Americans have picked up right where our British forefathers left off. So far, in our 200+ year history we have had The French and Indian War, The Revolutionary War, The War of 1812, The War with Mexico, The Civil War, The Indian Wars, The Spanish American War, The Great War, The Second World War (because the first one wasn’t Great enough), The Korean War, The Vietnam War, The Gulf War, The Iraq War and The War in Afghanistan.  I’m sure I even missed some.  We’re doing our part to keep historians gainfully employed. Let’s face it, who wants to write about peace?

I turned 18 in 1972. My draft number was close to 200, so I was pretty safe and I really didn’t want to go to Vietnam. Sorry, time for a historical footnote. Back in the day, everybody was eligible for military service. They picked every day of the year as a lottery and if your birthday was a 1-50 you were going to serve unless you could buy your way out or prove some hardship or leave the country for Canada.  Today, we have an all-volunteer army but given the right set of circumstances, like Russia invading Eastern Europe, we could easily see the draft reinstated. Now I’m worried all over again.

In my suburban cul-de-sac we have seven houses. In those seven houses are eight sons including my own, all of whom would soon be eligible for the call of duty. The most likely outcome would be that some of them never come home. I would miss them all and no amount of media coverage calling it a Great Conflict would make it better. I hate those words. War is not and has never been great. It is Horrible, Futile, Stupid and Wrong. Let’s try using those words when we name the next one. I can just imagine the world’s first truthful recruiting poster; Uncle Sam wants you to die a horrible, futile death. Join Now!

Just once, can’t we listen to Jesus and “Love thy neighbor as thyself”?

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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5 Responses to “WAR and peace.” (Leo Tolstoy)

  1. stormy1812 says:

    Just a couple quick thoughts – first – WWII was a much different beast than WWI (The Great War). As much as I agree with you in terms of war, WWII was simply different and sadly as much as it pains me to say it, had to be fought – we just didn’t know that right away. Second – again I agree it sucks to use words like “great” but I think in those instances they’re not calling it a good thing but rather “great” in terms of size and magnitude. It’s about context there just as they didn’t want to limit the number of dead – it’s more about trying to show glory or whatever – splitting hairs I know but it’s not quite the same – that doesn’t make it better, just a thought. Don’t get me wrong – I totally agree that as humans, we focus too much on conflict instead of resolution. We’d rather “resolve” things with our fists than actually work things out – I think ego is at the core of all of that to be honest – more than even money, politics or religion – all three which are usually the reason for war. We quickly forget the human life/lives that are greatly impacted by such actions because as countries we don’t care. We’d rather be right than do the right thing. It’s disturbing to say the least. I also absolutely agree with the whole “love thy neighbor as thyself” phrase. I pray all the time that people would learn to let go of their anger and hate – it’s so counterproductive. Wonderful post! :)

    • grhgraph says:

      I just hate way we use fear to convince ourselves of its inevitable necessity. Let’s send Congress and the President to fight first then we’ll see their true colors. It doesn’t take any courage to send somebody else.

      • stormy1812 says:

        I’d agree with that too. The saying goes “it’s a rich man’s war but a poor man’s fight” correct? Total crap really. Yeah like I said, I do agree with you – I hate how easy it is to fall into that idea that it’s always necessary because quite frankly it isn’t. We just don’t want to have to actually put in the work that it would take to go for peace instead.

      • grhgraph says:

        Totally true Jen. Peace is much more difficult to keep.

  2. gwenna says:

    Amen to your article, Guy…thanks!

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