The picture above was posted on Facebook by a person who thinks war is bad. Apparently, she believes that some of us disagree, and that seeing it might change our minds.
I find it dishonest and offensive, for several reasons.
1. It is dishonest because it suggests that the problem lies in the existence of armies, and not in human aggressiveness and acquisitiveness. Even if we could press a button and all military forces would disappear in a flash, the money spent on them magically appearing in national treasuries, is it likely that hunger would be eradicated? In the so-called “developing” world, where the great majority of the population lives on a subsistence level, aid money is routinely stolen to finance the lifestyle of a few kleptocrats. Why would this be expected to change?
Eliminating armies would not end aggressive behavior. If Israel, for example, didn’t have the IDF to protect it, it would be gone in a matter of days, its borders overwhelmed. The Arabs wouldn’t need armies to accomplish this.
Of course, there is no magic button, so the only way to implement an end to armies would be unilaterally. No sane person could suggest that this would work. How would Vladimir Putin, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or numerous others react to the announcement that the US had decided to end military spending?
2. It is offensive because it suggests that those of us who support the military or serve in it don’t care about human suffering, particularly the suffering of children. It suggests that we believe that war is a good thing. It implies that soldiers are either immoral or dupes.
But I and many others distinguish between just and unjust wars, and believe that it is not a crime to engage in a just war. The fact that it may even be an obligation, in some cases, to fight does not imply that it is a welcome thing.
3. It is offensive because it implies that those opposed to the military are morally superior to those who support it, when it may be that they are simply confused about the difference between the real world and an imagined and unrealizable utopia.
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