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Thoughts on pacifism

Posted: May 13, 2009 8:48 p.m.
Updated: May 14, 2009 4:55 a.m.
I would point out to Phil Rizzo ("Full Speed to Port," The Signal, May 6) that English pacifist groups in the early ‘30s were heavily funded by the Nazis who knew full well their tactical value.

A pacifist can be many things. I was an infantry sergeant with the 101st Airborne in Vietnam; our medic was a pacifist.

Yet he did not think that his beliefs should shelter him from his obligation to his country. In the end, he armed himself; not to save his own life but to save the life of the wounded to whom he was ministering (while working on a wounded soldier, he was rushed by a North Vietnamese solider who would have killed them both but for an alert trooper).

I would ask you to consider the thoughts of John Stuart Mill: "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

And as Oscar Wilde wrote: "Conscience is but the name which cowardice, fleeing the battle, scrawls upon its shield."


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