The Opposite of War is Not Peace

Thomas Frey: In 1976, President Gerald Ford issued an executive order forbidding the assassination of any foreign head of state. This order was issued when word leaked out that the CIA had made several attempts on Castro’s life as well as other “enemies” of the US. 


This is a topic that I’ve often struggled with because today’s solution to global conflict is often measured in the destruction of the many as opposed to the destruction of the few.  Not that I was in favor of assassinating Castro, but placing boundaries on the fighting of a war nearly always insures a larger, longer military engagement than simply removing a few problem people at the top.


The way I see it, the larger the death toll and the greater the path of destruction, the longer it will take to heal the deep-seated emotional wounds festering among the masses. While property damage can be repaired, and economies can be rebuilt, it is the emotional wounds that carry hatred and other significant problems from one generation to the next.


Peace-loving people are everywhere, working tirelessly to create a more peaceful world. However, peace is a very complicated topic.  It is important to understand that when a war ends, it does not mean that peace instantly breaks out. The scars of war remain. The hostilities felt by people who lost family and friends may some day go away, but not instantly.


Contrary to the commonly held belief, the opposite of war is not peace. The reality is that the opposite of “war” is “not war” and the opposite of “peace” is “not peace”.


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