“There is one winner, only one winner, in war. The winner is war itself. Not truth, not justice, not liberty, not morality. These are the vanquished.”
HT: Robert Ellsberg
We live in crisis, and perhaps we find it interesting to do so.
Yet we also feel guilty about it, as if we ought not to be in crisis.
As if we were so wise, so able, so kind, so reasonable, that crisis ought at all times to be unthinkable. It is doubtless this “ought,” this “should” that makes our era so interesting that it cannot possibly be a time of wisdom, or even of reason.
We think we know what we ought to be doing, and we see ourselves move, with inexorable deliberation of a machine that has gone wrong, to do the the opposite. A most absorbing phenomenon which we cannot stop watching, measuring, discussing, analyzing, and perhaps deploring!
But it goes on.
And, as Christ said over Jerusalem, we do not know the things that are for our peace.Crisis:
-Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, p. 66
|synonyms:||critical point, turning point, crossroads, watershed, head, moment of truth, zero hour, point of no return.|Kathy Kelly holds a child at the Chamin-E-Babrak refugee camp in Kabul, Afghanistan, in January 2014, a few days after the child had been saved from a burning tent, during a fire that destroyed much of the camp. (Abdulhai Darya)
"I think in the U.S. people had the impression that somehow the United States was helping in terms of humanitarian issues in Afghanistan. But that’s not really true. There wasn’t a marked improvement in the basics of health care, or in terms of nutrition. Education has not been available to the majority of the people, although it did get better for young girls in in the cities.
"The people who really are the “winners” in all of this — and in the history of U.S. occupation and invasion — are the military contractors, the ones who manufacture the war planes and the bombs and the drones, and the Hellfire missiles and the Apache helicopters and the material for building bases and equipping soldiers. Those are the people who win in these situations.
"I think it’s good to study everything that Pope Francis has said about war and weapons. He has called war-making futile and has asked us to lay aside our weapons. He was so blunt and clear when he spoke to the U.S. Congress, asking why anyone would give weapons to people waging wars. The answer, he said, is simple: It’s money, and the money is drenched in blood.
"But parishes are not necessarily hearing this message of peacemaking from the pulpit. I wish every parish could consider a Pax Christi chapter, would hold study groups to read more about issues of peacemaking. Another thing people can do is welcome refugees into their community, and learn from the refugees."
— Kathy Kelly
From the National Catholic Reporter, August 26, 2021, Q & A with activist Kathy Kelly on Afghanistan, US withdrawal and what’s next
The duty of the Christian in this crisis is to strive with all his power and intelligence,
with his faith, his hope in Christ,
and love for God and man,
to do the one task which God has imposed upon us in the world today.
That task is to work for the total abolition of war.
There can be no question that unless war is abolished
the world will remain constantly in a state of madness and desperation in which,
because of the immense destructive power of modern weapons,
the danger of catastrophe will be imminent and probable
at every moment everywhere.
Unless we set ourselves immediately to this task,
both as individuals and in our political and religious groups,
we tend by our very passivity and fatalism
to cooperate with the destructive forces that are leading inexorably to war.
It is a problem of terrifying complexity and magnitude,
for which the Church itself is not fully able to see clear and decisive solutions.
Yet she must lead the way on the road to the nonviolent settlement
of difficulties and toward the gradual abolition of war
as the way of settling international or civil disputes.
Christians must become active in every possible way, mobilizing all their resources for the fight against war.
from Jim Forest's essay, "An Army that Sheds No Blood; Thomas Merton's Response to War"
“So instead of loving what you think is peace, love other men and love God above all. And instead of hating people you think are warmongers, hate the appetites and the disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed—but hate these things in yourself, not in another (p. 114).”
|Victor J. Blue at the New York TImes|
|Photograph of Gal Vihara by Thomas Merton|
We are all convinced that we desire the truth above all.Nothing strange about this. It is natural to man, an intelligent being, to desire the truth. (I still dare to speak of man as "an intelligent being"!)
“There is one winner, only one winner, in war. The winner is war itself. Not truth, not justice, not liberty, not morality. These are the ...