What's the price of peace

Wednesday, March 19, 2003
Dawn Cribbs

I can't help but ponder the difference it would have made to our world if the League of Nations had stopped Hitler in his tracks when Germany first began its rearmament.

Imagine, no Holocaust.

Austria remains ... Austria; Poland ... Poland ... No blitzkrieg over London. No need for the liberation of Paris.

No U.S. soldiers on the front lines would have meant they'd have remained at home. So, no "Rosie the Riveter" because Ricky Riveter would have been on the job.

Development of atomic weaponry, largely influenced by Germany's advances, would have remained in the realms of science fiction, where some would argue, it yet belongs.

Imagine, no Cold War, no psychologically damaging "duck and cover" exercises; perchance no Korean conflict nor any "police action" in Vietnam.

With no lives lost in Vietnam, there'd have been no need for the "make love not war" campaigns in the streets. Perhaps the whole free love movement would have died before it changed the social mores of the world.

A different world? Certainly. A better world? Certainly better by far as measured by those lost in the conflict, living out the full number of their years. Certainly better by far as measured by those whose husbands, sons, brothers, and fathers would never have had to die, far too young and too far from home.

But, the League of Nations did fail. They chose the path of appeasement, banking on that being enough to secure the peace. History teaches us it was not nearly enough.

I'm sure many technological, medical and even national good came from the world-wide conflict.

It played an important role, after all, in developing a homeland for the nation of Israel. Establishing a homeland brought an end to the seemingly endless wandering experienced by those forced from their homes and communities during the Holocaust. It seems the only reasonable reparation for a people made utterly destitute by a madman's dream. A dream he nearly fulfilled before the world finally stood up as one and said, "Not one step farther."

The need to fly higher, faster and farther was born in the aerial battles of that war, contributing to the advances made in the exploration of space, unthinkable just a hundred years ago.

Surgical procedures, executed in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of front line hospitals no doubt contributed a wealth of knowledge to the medical world.

The Cold War inspired even more technologies, with satellite imagery, computers, wireless communication -- who can tell the full extent of technological advances that can be credited first to the furtherance of national security during the long years of the Cold War?

A high price, too high, was paid for these advances. The cost -- estimated at 55 million civilian and military casualties -- too high by far. Better by far that this suffering and catastrophic loss had never occurred.

And so, today, we embark on a different course. Apart from the United Nations' full support, a definitive deadline has been issued to a despot who has proven to be, at best, inhumanly cruel, at worst, a mass murderer intent on his own agenda regardless of the cost.

Indeed, by the time some of you are reading this, the conflict may be upon us. Will it make this a better world? Will it protect us from a repeat of September 11 or something worse? Will the Iraqi people be liberated and free to establish a new and free society? Will true peace finally be purchased on a bloody battlefield? Can it be?

Time and history tell us the answer is "no." Man has warred against man since the dawn of human history. When Cain slew Abel those long years ago, was it not an act of war? Cain sought to end his conflict with God by destroying his brother and challenged God with the question "Am I my brother's keeper?"

This, therefore, will not be the war to end all wars. That war is battled on a different field, in the higher realms and that war, will finish war forever.

Until then, we seek only today, and each day, to answer the question "Am I my brother's keeper?" in the affirmative.

We know that God's cause is justice, that he has a heart for the oppressed, the brokenhearted and the poor, and it is his desire that we live just lives and that we, too, have a heart for the oppressed, the brokenhearted and the poor.

And so, today, and each day, we seek to "act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God." (Micah 6:8) This pursuit of justice extends beyond our borders, and since all that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing, we send our brightest and our best.

Only in trusting God, walking humbly with him, can we find peace. Only in acknowledging his sovereignty can we find the confidence to continue to serve justice while loving mercy. And even as we struggle in the midst of these trials and tribulations, our serenity serves as a testimony to those who do not know God.

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair." 2 Corinthians 4:8 (NIV)

-- Dawn Cribbs writes, often through tears, at man's inhumanity to man, while longing for true peace to reign.

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