Readers Write: Soceity makes war honorable; a new approach in Syria is needed

Letters to the Editor for Dec. 1, 2014 weekly magazine:

Kauffman: I wonder if humans don’t all carry an innate horror of violence and warfare. But we are socialized to think that “necessary war” is actually honorable, and those who engage in it are heroes.

Frank: What the US is currently doing in the region isn’t working, and we are running out of choices.

Scott Peterson/Getty Images/File
November 8: Sergeant Kevin Boyd of Pittsburgh, PA., gets ready as US Marines of the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance company prepare to assault Fallujah at battle positions on the northern lip of the city on November 8, 2004. US commanders hope that seizing control of the insurgent nerve center of Fallujah before January elections in Iraq will decapitate the anti-US rebellion across the country.

Society makes war seem honorable

Thank you for the Nov. 10 cover story, “Band of brothers,” in which the reporter followed up 10 years later with some of the US soldiers who fought in the siege of Fallujah.

I wonder if humans don’t all carry an innate horror of violence and warfare. But we are socialized to think that “necessary war” is actually honorable, and those who engage in it are heroes. 

I have only compassion for close friends who served in the Vietnam War, but cannot help seeing them not as heroes but, rather, as people who were lied to by society regarding the “necessity for” and the “justification for” the violence of war. 

The military machine makes young men and women into ruthless killers without thought or regard for what becomes of them later. For most of them the social and religious rationale they have been fed does not really carry much weight against their own internal realization that what the war accomplished was ultimately unjustifiable.

Maybe the only real remedy for the demons of veterans is for them to recognize the pain from training for and participating in combat violence as guilt that requires confession, forgiveness, and healing.

Kenneth W. Kauffman
Hubbard, Ore.

New approach in Syria needed

In regard to the Nov. 17 online article “Islamic State video intensifies concerns about foreign jihadis” (CSMonitor.com): The beheading of Peter Kassig is tragic. Nevertheless, giving aid to the Syrian rebels, along with conducting airstrikes against the Islamic State group, is only getting the United States in deeper and deeper in the region’s turmoil. 

What the US is currently doing in the region isn’t working. It is obvious that a new approach is needed. We could send ground troops to Syria, but that won’t solve anything and could make matters worse. And as the conflict continues, we are running out of choices. The world needs a strong leader with extraordinary leadership ability who can make difficult decisions. It’s the only way to peace.

JoAnn Lee Frank
Clearwater, Fla.

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