Picture/Poem Icon January 2002:                      
suggested link

The Failure of War

An essay by Wendell Berry
featured in the new issue of
Yes! Magazine

How many deaths of other people's
children by bombing or starvation are
we willing to accept in order that we
may be free, affluent, and
(supposedly) at peace?"

From yesmagazine.org

The Failure of War

by Wendell Berry

"If you know even as little history as I do, it is hard not to doubt the efficacy of
modern war as a solution to any problem except that of retribution—the "justice"
of exchanging one damage for another.

Apologists for war will insist that war answers the problem of national self-defense.
But the doubter, in reply, will ask to what extent the cost even of a successful war
of national defense—in life, money, material, foods, health, and (inevitably) freedom—
may amount to a national defeat. National defense through war always involves
some degree of national defeat. This paradox has been with us from the very
beginning of our republic. Militarization in defense of freedom reduces the freedom
of the defenders. There is a fundamental inconsistency between war and freedom.

In a modern war, fought with modern weapons and on the modern scale, neither
side can limit to "the enemy" the damage that it does. These wars damage the
world. We know enough by now to know that you cannot damage a part of the
world without damaging all of it. Modern war has not only made it impossible to
kill "combatants" without killing "noncombatants," it has made it impossible
to damage your enemy without damaging yourself."

| Picture/Poem Link Archive 2001 |
| back to Picture/Poems: Central Display |

| Map | TOC: I-IV | TOC: V-VIII | Image Index | Index | Text OnlyDownload | Newsletter | About P/P | About Cliff Crego |

(I.6.2002) Comments to crego@picture-poems.com