Monday, February 15, 2010

Calling All Quakers

pac·i·fism n.
1. The belief that disputes between nations should and can be settled peacefully.
2. a. Opposition to war or violence as a means of resolving disputes.
b. Such opposition demonstrated by refusal to participate in military action

I did finally get around to watching 'Charlie Wilson's War' this weekend and rather enjoyed it. (Though historically, it was strange time to watch it as Charlie Wilson kept bringing up John Murtha and both had died last week...)

What struck me, aside from my previous Charlie Wilson-Ollie North comparison, was a specific scenario to present to pacifists. For some reason when arguing that war is a necessary evil with a pacifist...the 'what about Hitler and slavery' argument never seems to get an answer. But Charlie Wilson's War presented such a detailed glimpse of a tragedy that could have been much worse without million of dollars of Arms...yet another instance in which weapons saved innocent lives.

So, if one of the Friend's Meeting Houses find themselves being targeted by enemy helicopter guns and rockets. Find their children being enticed into the fields by toy mines and having body parts blown off or worse being killed. Having the women raped in front of their children and then their children's throats cut in front of their parents. Having their pregnant women bayoneted through their pregnant stomach and left to die... And then someone comes and offers them weapons that would stop the enemy. Would they refuse? Would they remain lambs for the slaughter and to what avail? Similarly, what would they have had the US do in Somalia, or Rwanda, or Bosnia and Herzegovina. How is it more civilized to allow people to be massacred?

I guess I'm just unsure about the base ideology of pacifism. Are they pacifists because they don't have the right to harm something? Do they not believe in self defense? Do they believe (in the above scenario) the Afghans not doing anything would have made the Soviets rethink their atrocities and go home? I just don't understand the premise. I understand avoiding war at all costs, but I don't understand pretending we live in a world where it isn't necessary...

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