Why War?

11 Jun

We are a politically active family and lately my eldest son has been asking a lot of questions about what started the current war as well as how all the other wars in the past had started. It is a difficult question and shows a lot of thought on his part. The difficulty in explaining this comes from the fact that there is NEVER one instigating factor. It is also difficult to pinpoint a single cause when reading through history books because, as we pointed out to him, history is always written by the winners. So how do I explain this to him?

“Suppose we are sitting around eating hamburgers. I walk up to you and take a bite out of your hamburger. What are you going to do?”

“I don’t know, maybe just get another hamburger or tell you to eat your own.”

“Okay, so the next day we are eating hamburgers (because in this story, we eat hamburgers everyday) and I do it again, walk up and take a bite out of your hamburger. What are you thinking? What do you do?”

“Well, I’d be pretty mad. And I’d tell you that it makes me mad.”

“Suppose now that it’s been a whole year. And every day this year I have taken a bite out of your hamburger. Now what?”

“Well, that makes me really mad.”

“Do you think you’d fight me?”

“Yeah, I might punch you.”

“Okay. Now I tell everybody, “Can you believe what C. did! All I did was take a bite of his hamburger and he punched me!’ Then what?”

“Wait! Mom, they don’t know the whole story!”

Exactly. That is exactly right. We didn’t even have to get into a scenario where I, as the parent figure, disciplined him for punching his mother. He got the point before that. “They don’t know the whole story.” And that is the problem with justifying any war. We don’t know the whole story. There is no need to go into any kind of political debate about who was right and who was wrong. All we need to understand is we don’t know the whole story. And from that understanding, whatever your political stance or view, now you can have a real discussion about war.


2 Responses to “Why War?”

  1. Rodrigo June 26, 2007 at 2:35 pm #

    Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.

  2. Kat Master July 4, 2007 at 3:40 pm #

    Thank you, Rodrigo. It took me a while to translate your comment.

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