In my early formative years, Hollywood, TV, toy guns, and games inundated and inured me to violence. It was always the good guys against the bad guys. My father fought in World War II and the Korean War, and my brother in the Vietnam War. Later, schooling taught me of other wars around the world.

The one that hurt most and awakened me was the Rwandan Civil War between the Hutu and Tutsi groups. The power struggle resulted in genocide. The Hutu killed thousands of Tutsis on the banks of the Kagera River.

Viewing the 1994 TV newsreel I lost count of the disposed corpses as the current and rapids swiftly carried the bodies through the course of the river. Prior inundation and inurement were of no effect. The scene of bloated torsos and splayed limbs seared my mind’s eye indelibly.

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I was shattered. How could humans collectively and revoltingly murder other humans? As Tolstoy asked and answered: What is war? It is the naked and criminal business of murder!

With the present ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war, what are we to do?

With the on-going invasion of Ukraine and annexation of territories, precious innocent lives are caught in the cruel midst of war. Nothing I write can change things or save them. We must rely upon leaders and diplomats, as they scurry about, to prevent military conflict and escalation. They must not cling to obsolete and outworn ideas. They must not be egoists, lazy or blunted with the attitude of arrogance of power.

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Kyiv has been battling a Russian land assault on its northeastern Kharkiv region since May 10, when thousands of troops stormed the border, making their biggest territorial advances in 18 months.

Whether the table talks slide north or slide south, east or west, let there be talks! Let us not be deceived since we know that some men are unreasonable. Let us also not be deluded – money brings us the war of the richer against the poorer and internecine slaughter.

Is there any way to deliver us from the menace of war? As Cicero put it, we would perhaps do well to consider that an unjust peace is better than a just war.

When shall we learn war no more? When shall nations finally cease with the epithets of war? When shall present-day “men-at-arms” quit and sing “a farewell to arms?”

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When and how did war begin? No one knows. However, by 5,000 B.C. war had become an endemic addiction. Humanity has not changed or suspended the trade of war in more than 7,000 years. And, today due to the incompetent lunacy and shortsightedness of the arms race, and in this world of the conglomerate, the neutron bomb, if employed. can indeed end us.

One past Columbia University historian stated: “No international Eighteenth Amendment will get rid of war or the instruments of war until civilization finds a way for accomplishing what war has done in the past. Simply to prohibit war is not going to get rid of it.”

Reading the United Nations Charter, it is confusing and confounding that some of the obligated member states are not bound to international peace and security. Law of man or force, or a combination thereof, may be required to keep nations to their agreed upon pacts.

Uncomfortably, I conclude there have been times in human history in which it has been necessary and morally right to kill in order to prevent even greater killing. There can be an excess of tolerance and permissiveness.

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Ukrainians must stand up and take the war for all they have and are!

 

William R. Jones ([email protected]) is author of the novella “Beyond Harvard,” and presently teaches English as a second language. 

The views expressed are the author’s and not necessarily of Kyiv Post.

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