Saturday, August 06, 2005


The morning newspaper depressed me more than usual today. 60 years after Hiroshima. The Globe & Mail gave an account of some of the Canadian PoWs "held" by the Japanese from the Chinese conflict. They all confess it's difficult feeling too badly about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, since the atomic bombs brought the Pacific War to an abrupt conclusion and effectively saved their lives. (Personally, I could further argue that those bombs saved the life and some shreds of my great-uncle's soul, who fought in Europe and was determined to transfer to the Pacific when Berlin fell, because he was not at all, let's say, "confident" he could adjust to civilian life after all the carnage he'd witnessed and taken part in.)

So, here am I, an Anabaptist compelled to follow through several generations' worth of pacifist experiment to its inglorious conclusion. A civillian with a limited experience of violence (but enough experience, I think, to agree with Gandhi's sentiment that no-one should bother with pacifism if they haven't taken up arms first). I understand that the Japanese atrocities in China were horrific, and had design and scope that defied mere "cruelty". But the numeric logic of war still bothers me. It bothers me that the only conceivable way one group can put a stop to another group's atrocities is to answer back in the language of attrition.

It's been recently pointed out that the canard, "There are no foxhole atheists," is a myth - that the reality is in fact quite the opposite. And I suppose that informs some of the despondence I feel today. Here beneath the shadow of weapons of mass destruction, are we all merely potential casualties, or the final orphans of God?

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