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War And Peace

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War and Peace

"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.

It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."

(William Pitt, 1783)

This powerful statement brings into reality the depth of feeling that can bring a nation or a people to war. As we study wars of the past, we can see individually, the major factors as to why the war was waged. For example, nationalism, alliances, and military strategy are cited as the main causes of World War I. World War II can be attributed in part to the Great Depression. The Vietnam War was the U.S.'s attempt at supporting the South Vietnamese government against a corrupt North Vietnamese government. We are now in the midst of not only one war, but two; one with its roots in an attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and one as a result of Saddam Hussein's failure to disclose weapons of mass destruction, as per his agreement with the United Nations.

We cannot effectively study the causes of war and come to conclusions about each, without delving into the human mind and heart. While history shows that each incident is fought for different reasons and with different intent, each cause can be linked to an underlying need for power, a need for freedom, a need for expansion or even a need for survival. Wars are also based on a need to be right or even righteous, as well as a need to hate. War then is not just a matter of X happened, so Y must happen. It is deep-seeded in the feelings of every human, and can be traced back to their perceived need.

No matter what side of the proverbial "line in the sand" you stand on, war, to you is devastating. No matter what the reasons or how well intended they may be, war's lasting effects can be numbing. That leaves the question, "Is war avoidable?" Are we to spend our lives on this earth on a constant roller coaster of war and peace?

While it seems like someone is always at war, one can argue the existence of a utopia--argue whether or not a utopia has ever, or will ever, exist. It has been defined as, "an ideally perfect place, especially in its social, political, and moral aspects." While I don't believe that true utopia can ever exist on the earth, I do believe we can only be at peace with one another if we study and learn form the past.

Knowing history is imperative to our understanding of human nature and our ability to change a course of events to avoid those things that would lead



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