It would seem appropriate today to ponder the deep philosophical question upon which so much ink has been spilt since the beginning of recorded history: to wit war.
This humble scribbler has on occasion attempted to address the subject and has never been satisfied with the efforts. Today however, a cogent as well as poignant treatment of the subject is presented by my colleague Francis Porretto at Eternity Road:
War is terrible. No decent person wants war, ever. Among Mankind's finest dreams is that of a world cleansed of war. Mighty efforts of thought and deed have gone toward that dream. All have failed. Why?
Ask a hundred people and you'll get a hundred different answers. I presume you're reading this because you'd like to know mine. As I work in the military industries, among persons much younger than myself who frequently ask my opinion on such things, I'm not disturbed by the subject. In the abstract, at least.
We make war because we are men.
Man's essence embeds two drives that can never be stilled: hunger and fear. The desire for more -- of everything -- is ineradicable from a creature of volitional consciousness trapped in the matrix of Time. Our fear of one another, and of the unknown, is merely a recognition that the Universe is populated by others like ourselves. We arm ourselves, and wield our arms, for those reasons, which are inseparable from Man as God has made him.
Forgive me if I've made it sound as if all of us hunger for war all the time. That's not the case, as you know. But to those of uncontrolled voracity, war often looks like the easiest way to get what they want. To those who fear "the other" too greatly to sit still, war often looks like the simplest way to quench their fears. When they march, so must those of us who are charged with stopping them.
As long as there are men, there will be wars, and soldiers, and great fields of graves where those who fell in battle must rest.
Even soldiers who've gone to war to further the evil designs of an evil government deserve a bit of forbearance. The great majority of these had no choice in the matter. Of the others, many were deluded, incapable of seeing through the lies of their political leaders, and were merely following the best they thought they knew. It's wrong to hate them -- indeed, it's wrong to hate anyone -- whatever the cause for which their masters hurled them into battle. Pray, rather, that their souls find the peace their rulers denied them in life.