Just War

I woke up in the middle of the night, and as often happens, the demons in my head took hold and won't let me get back to sleep. This time it's that I'm trying to reconcile killing someone for my own convenience.

The United States is at war with Iraq. What that means is that there are people sent by the U.S. who are encouraged by us to stay. There are a lot of people in Iraq, on the other hand, who want those people to leave. We sent our people there with all sorts of weapons so they can kill the people who want us to leave — and likewise, the people who want us to leave try to kill the people who we sent.

This will continue until our President shakes hands with somebody and people sign some papers and then the people we sent will come back home.

So switching to the concrete, there is someone in Iraq right now whose direct relative has been killed by an American. That is, there is someone whose brother, sister, father, mother, husband, wife, son, or daughter has been killed by an American.

There is no way anyone can convince me that this is a good thing.

The reason that person was killed is because the U.S. sent someone there who killed them. If that American were never there, then that person would not have been killed.

I pay my taxes and I will continue to do so. If I don't, I'll go to jail. My life will be disrupted in an unfavorable way, but there is pretty much no risk that I'll die if I don't pay.

However, those taxes have been used to fund the war. If I had not spent that money, perhaps there would be one person who didn't go to Iraq. And because they wouldn't have been there, then some person in Iraq wouldn't be dead tonight. And their living relative would not have to experience the unbearable loss of their kin.

That's the nature of the faulty logic of my sleepless mind.

However what keeps me from going back to sleep is that someone is dead — and more importantly that someone is being killed right now, and tomorrow it will happen again. And again and again.

Think about the person you love the most in the whole world right now.

Now bang: they're dead.

Somewhere there's a person who knew this was going to happen. What he did to stop it was to write a couple letters to people telling them he thought it would be a bad idea. But he also sent those people money — a lot of money — knowing full-well that they intended to use it to kill your loved-one. To be completely fair, that person would have his life disrupted — he'd go to jail if he didn't pay the money.

So on the one hand, you've got the corpse of your loved-one. And on the other, you've got someone who wasn't willing to spend a couple years in prison to stop it. Both are cases of lost years, but in one case it's the absolute remainder of one's life and in the other, a few years of my life.

I can't figure out the morality of the whole thing, but I sure feel terrible that someone's loved-one is dead because I didn't want to stop it.

Now maybe I can shrug and go back to sleep.

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