Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”
The bombing of civilians is simply morally unacceptable. I stand with Dr. King in believing that wisdom, justice, and love will never prevail in a society that looks upon the bombing of civilians as morally permissible.
I don’t know why this hasn’t been true of ages past. I simply cannot account for certain parts of the Old Testament, nor can I reconcile them with my conscience. But I do know about now. We hold our ugliest criminals–the rapists and the serial killers–in the strongest of jails. Our serial killers are objects of fascination, from TV shows to movies to songs. They have been denied human status from Confucius to Kant–proclaimed as nothing more than beasts.
Yet the most heienous of these killers killed less than fifty people. With a simple command, fire bombers dropped napalm on civilians and killed over 100,000 people. 100,000! And perhaps the saddest part of all: we don’t speak of the firebombing of Tokyo, because it only foreshadowed what was to come.
Perhaps a case can be made for why we don’t hold such people in jail: the intent of a soldier and a serial killer are not the same. Yet it is a blatant contradiction to cling to utilitarian views, carefully weighing invading Japan vs. dropping the Atomic bomb (all the while dismissing intent), then disregarding numbers when it comes to intent.
War is the great drug of which our nation is unaware. Military spending for 2010 will flirt with $1 trillion. Not knowing any other conditions, a foreigner would have to agree that something is fundamentally amiss in a nation that spends $1 trillion on war.
“The 2009 U.S. military budget is almost as much as the rest of the world’s defense spending combined and is over nine times larger than the military budget of China.” I do not espouse politics of fear. Yet in this aspect we are a morally inflicted nation. We need a leader to finally say enough is enough. America is better than this. The big stick we often tout does not win friends, and in the dangerous game of nuclear warfare we cannot afford to make enemies.