We must get out of the business of making war

letter, Daily Local News, 12/12/14

I find myself in sharp disagreement with Sunday’s editorial, “It’s Time We Learn From Our Past Mistakes.” It is not lack of preparation for the next war that is the mistake, because preparing for war is part of what guarantees that war will come. Rather, the mistake lies in not realizing that war itself is our main enemy.

I like George Santayana as a philosopher, but I like his Harvard colleague William James, on the topic of war, much better. James was a pacifist who realized that war has its allure and that we need a “moral equivalent of war” (a war on poverty or grotesque inequality might be one example) rather than the “injuring contest”— as Elaine Scarry has aptly called it — which war essentially is. This nation has had far too many wars in its history, and while not forgetting the sacrifices of those who have served, we must work to get our country out of the war business altogether.

F. R. Struckmeyer Chester County

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