If Everyone Wants Peace, Why are there Wars?

Yesterday, along with thousands of other people, I blogged for peace. If you saw my peace post, you will know that my message focused on being at peace with the world rather than world peace. I don’t believe in “world peace” as a cause, though of course, I do wish for a world at peace.

I can feel your hackles rise and can hear your outraged “What sort of insensitive clod are you? How can you not believe in ‘world peace’ as a cause?” For the record, let me state that I, personally, have never started a war. I don’t think I’ve ever even bloodied another person accidentally or otherwise, and even if I were prone to violence, I still would not be creating world havoc. The truth is, wars don’t just happen. Wars are something politicians and other reprehensible characters create, and never on my behalf and always for their own ends. To say I believe in “world peace” would be like saying I believe in politicians telling the truth. It’s a nice sentiment, but isn’t going to happen until those creating the problem decide to stop creating it.

Traditionally, the United States is a peaceful country. Or at least its citizenry is. We have never wanted war. Politicians, military advisors, tycoons, and other greedy characters are the hawks among us, and they not only have created wars, they have inveigled us into accepting their dictates, sometimes on pain of death. During WWI, so many young men ignored the draft that the only way the warmongers could force them to fight in a war that 90% of USA citizens did not want was to make draft avoidance punishable by death.

A few years later, when world hostilities were fomented anew, the citizens of the USA again did not want to go to war. It took Roosevelt’s manipulations to get people irate enough to want to go. Some of you might have heard but do not believe that Roosevelt knew about the attack on Pearl Harbor and allowed it to occur anyway, but it is the truth. The USA and Britain had broken the purple codes (so-called because that was the color of the folder the codes were kept in) in time to warn those at Pearl Harbor, but Roosevelt and his hawkish advisors chose not to give the warning in order to coerce the USA into the war. (They did manage to move their newest and best warships and submarines out of the line of fire, though.)

Killing is not a basic instinct. Many of today’s — and yesterday’s — video games were developed by the military because studies had shown that repeated images of violence and death inured people to killing. During World War Two, as many as 85% of soldiers fired over enemies’ heads or did not fire at all. After World War Two, there was a concerted effort by the military to overcome this natural reluctance to kill, and apparently they succeeded because during close combat in Vietnam, only about 5% of soldiers failed to aim to kill. (These same desensitizing “games” were later released as toys for children. Is it any wonder that teens today seem desensitized to violence?)

Author Lee Child says that we don’t write what we know, we write what we fear, and that certainly is true in my case. I fear the machinations of the powerful, deadly, and calculating men and women who control our lives behind the scenes. This theme is most prevalent in More Deaths Than One (in fact, I came across the information about desensitization while researching the military, soldiers, and killing for that particular novel) though it shows up in milder forms in all of my novels.

So see? We are naturally a peaceful people who do not want war. It is others who force it on us whether we wish it or not.


Pat Bertram is the author of the conspiracy novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+

10 Responses to “If Everyone Wants Peace, Why are there Wars?”

  1. Alexander M Zoltai Says:

    I like your comments on peace and would love to interview you on my blog (Reading, Writing, and Publishing)—let me know if you’d like to work that out at amzolt@gmail.com

    You may be interested in another blog I have that brings discussions on Peace from the virtual world Second Life out to the Internet: https://globalpeacechat.wordpress.com/

  2. Carol Ann Hoel Says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if all that you have said in this post were true, shocking though it may be to all us fairly civilized folks.

    As a Christian, I believe that there will be world peace one day when Jesus returns and sets up his kingdom and rules the earth. Not until. It just won’t happen, so in the sense that you aptly point out, I also think it’s a lost cause for now. Even the Anti-Christ will only bring a temporary false peace.

    (By the way, I lost my husband three weeks ago. It hurts, Pat; but then, I know that you know it hurts. Somehow, no matter how I try to deal with it, there is a cry inside of me that says this shouldn’t happen. This is how I might feel if I were hit in the heart by a missile, and, living through it, should have to carry on with the gaping wound. I know it will get better over time. I wish it were better now. This is not my first time to be widowed, but it’s worse this time than last. Blessings to you…)

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Oh, Carol, I am so very sorry. I know your husband had been doing poorly for a long time, but it doesn’t help to know he’s out of his misery, does it? The physical agony of having him ripped from your soul is still there. You helped me through my pain. Stop by if you need to talk to get you through your pain.

      Blessings to you . . . (And hugs.)

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Carol, just checking to make sure you’re okay. I wanted to let you know I’m thinking about you and sending you my best.

  3. Carol Wuenschell Says:

    Why are there wars? The reasons are complex.
    Because people have conflicting interests. (American revolution, Arab-Israel 6 day war.)
    Because people are not always willing to wait for what they want to come about through peaceful means. (American revolution, Arab Spring.)
    And also, of course, because we differentiate in a rather ugly way between US and THEM. (though that often comes after the shooting starts – “Japs,” “Gooks,” the internment of Japanese-Americans while German-Americans were simply allowed not to fight if they had relatives in Nazi Germany.)
    Occasionally good things do happen bloodlessly. I sat and watched in astonishment when the Berlin Wall came down.

  4. leesis Says:

    I’ve got to admit Pat I have some issues with this one. I understand that many Americans don’t want war. I understand that the governments used to put impossible pressure on folks to go to war…once upon a time.

    But for me at least, wars will stop when individual violence stops and hence I think it misguided to blame governments for wars. Whilst people…husbands, parents, mothers, fathers, young, old and inbetween think that its okay to use physical violence to get their point across or just to release their tension then war will be a reality. We may have a natural reluctance to kill but it is clear we don’t have a natural reluctance to using violence. Nor to react with violence if violence should it be inflicted upon us…9/11 being the prime example. I do believe when individuals change governments change. And I should note that I think it is possible…just a while off yet.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Actually, I don’t believe governments start wars. I think governments are tools for the powerfully rich, and they engage in war as a means of gaining more power and money. (Many wars have oil or drug territories at their base. Some have restructuring the world at their base.) Of course, we are not allowed into that secret, but it’s there for those who are willing to do the research.) War is getting to be passe, anyway. They have more subtle ways of getting what they want such as weather manipulation and bioweapons. [I don’t mind if you have issues with this, too — it does make me sound a bit wacky, which is why I generally keep such opinions for my fiction.)

      But you are right — killing may not be a basic instinct, but for some people violence is. Other people cannot even bear to raise their voices let alone a fist, and they have to be taught to meet violence with violence.

      • leesis Says:

        Nah Pat no issues with what you said in that way…no wackiness :). I understand that there are horrendous purposes behind most wars. I guess the think that prickled me a bit was the sense of it all being outside our control…when I say we I mean those of us in ‘democratic’ countries. I am and have always been a committed pacifist and I recall at about 21 marching for peace. Along side was some co-marchers. We were being heckled my some folks on the side lines and suddenly some of my co-marches lept over and started physically fighting with them. I recall standing there and thinking…oh that’s why we still have wars.

        I also think for example when Australia said it was joining the Iraq war I was part of the 300000 Australians that protested…yet still we joined in. But what if the majority of Aussies had protested…then I think the outcome would have been different. That’s why I look to individual growth.

  5. common sense Says:

    oh please, you make it sound like you and your fellow men are all so high and might and moral and rational and too good to get your hands dirty. look at where you finger is point at? the very obvious targets of those in power, those with the money, those with the responsibility to actually protect and prevent the rest of the country from being rip to pieces. you think that America (or any country for the matter) exist today randomly? the keyboard you’re typing on, the floor you’re standing on, the environment, everything around you, is designed and engineered by men. you’re responsibility may not be much and therefore you do not understand the necessity for war, but lets do some thought experiments:

    you are now given the responsibility by the rest of the people in the land to Protect them. what does protect mean? what does it entails? well prevent foreign things,materials,personnel,etc. of harm or potential harm from entering. Just think of your skin and your immune system. This ‘security’ required Trained men. and therefore you have the military. This ‘security’ requires Intelligence. you’re born with a brain, eyes, other senses. A country don’t. A country has to build / create its own detection systems. Therefore you have the CIA, etc etc etc.now you begin to see how everything has a purpose… lets continue:

    alright so you’ve gotten the security systems handled, now what? the people are ‘safe’ from external threats and problems. although if the people want to explore new lands, territory, space? that would require new forms of security and protection. its like an aura, a cloak. remember your job, given to you by the people, elected by the people, and you wholeheartedly, morally, rationally accepted this responsibility, now you have the power and obligation to fulfill this to the best of your abilities and understanding (a very flawed and biased human understanding, but one acceptable by most nonetheless.) i’ve sidetracked, so to protect your people wherever they go, wherever their hearts and minds desire, you need a a very FAR Reaching ‘aura’ or ‘cloak’ of protection of INFLUENCE and therefore an International Police force. Again you think Americans can just travel to any other country and not worry about being taking advantaged of? its because America is carrying such a BIG STICK in BOTH hands close to the BALLS of everyone else, that Americans can ‘freely’ travel. Freedom requires POWER.

    what about internal problems? people fight, people would kill eachother to obtain w.e. it is that they desire. so YOU given the responsibility to protect EVERYONE, provide a force of Neutrality, aka the police, aka the courts, aka doctrine, beliefs, religion, w.e. as a BUFFER to prevent that guy next to you from stabbing your eyes out and taking your wallet. because the reality is that, there really isn’t anything else preventing them from doing so. an idea, a fear, a threat of police, of isolation in prison, or an inspiration of the unity of men, of country, of nationalism, w.e. it is required to prevent killing (even if the killing of others not of your country) you must do, implement, and enforce.

    until the day everyone in the world becomes united under one nation, won’t happen unless an equal opposing threat exists, just think newton’s 3rd law. so a meteorite impact, alien invasion, that’s why some of us hope for external threats, this would unite all of mankind, but see this then reinforces that war is a very VERY real force and mechanism that unites people,
    peace and freedom is simply the other coin war and destruction.

    just appreciate that right now, this very moment, you can do so much with so little consequences, be those people in power, those people with money and responsibility, those people are keeping YOU alive and protected, and offering you a ‘zone’ a ‘buffer’ of freedom. otherwise we’d all be apes in the jungle fending for ourselves constantly…

    just my 2c~

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