May 27, 2007

WAR AND PEACE

I found a new blog today called The Shield of Achilles. He had a link to the story behind his blog's name, which comes from the design on Achilles' shield in The Illiad:

The engravings include two cities, one at peace and one at war. In the city at Peace, a man had been murdered, and an argument was ensuing over payment of blood-money. In the city at war, besiegers were divided over either sacking the city, or allowing it to pay a tribute for peace. Among other messages, one was clear: Times of War and Peace are both filled with conflict. Moreover, wartime is not always evil and peacetime is not always virtuous; while there is suffering in War, there is also courage, heroism and honor, and during times of Peace there is still murder, cowardice, and greed. Even people negotiating Peace sometimes have self-serving aims.

This is just genius. What a fabulous name for a blog.

One thing that has always frustrated me is the naive idea people have that war is the opposite of peace. All the people who want to Bring the Troops Home Now seem to think that if there's not officially a war going on, then there will be peace. But peace for whom? Before we went into Iraq in 2003, there was not peace in Iraq. There was no peace for Adnan Abdul Karim Enad, the man who tried to climb in Hans Blix's car to escape Iraq. There was no peace for the children who filled jails or the folks who went through a plastic shredder. There was no peace for the women raped by Uday or the families gassed by Saddam. Just because we weren't there, it doesn't mean everyone was flying kites and eating gumdrops.

Conversely, there's no "war" going on in North Korea or Zimbabwe, but I'm not sure I'd want to live in their "peace" either. France is at peace, but that doesn't help you if your car is set on fire during the night. And peace didn't do much for Pim Fortuyn either.

There will always be terrible, awful, inhumane, horrific things going on in the world. Most of them don't fall neatly under the bumper-sticker label of war. There is no such thing as peace; there's just calms between the storms.

Posted by: Sarah at 05:43 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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1 That was excellent, Sarah. I don't understand how people can miss this idea - as if lack of the title "war" suddenly makes us all smiling happy people holding hands. Or as if proper labeling suddenly makes us all slavering bloodthirsty beasts.

Posted by: airforcewife at May 27, 2007 01:25 PM (0dU3f)

2 afw.."as if lack of the title "war" suddenly makes us all smiling happy people holding hands"...I actually think that there are a lot of people who *think* in words and phrases, and rarely if even consider the reality behind these verbal expressions.

Posted by: david foster at May 27, 2007 03:53 PM (gguM0)

3 Hello Sarah! Wow, someone called my writing "genius"! Just by sheer luck I decided to check out some of my backlinks and found your blog. What a compliment! Thanks a lot. Great web site you have too!

Posted by: John Rohan at May 29, 2007 04:15 AM (BfPzY)

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