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Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Is "The Battle of Peace" Winable?- Reporters talking about the Pope's Christmas address pointed out that the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano had the anti-Iraq war headline late yesterday "Humanity can win the 'battle' of peace." I don't think so. Our sinful nature makes wars all-but inevitable. Diplomacy works if you have two reasonable people and a mutually agreeable solution to the problem. Taking the particulars of the current Iraq issue aside, you will occasionally have people who are not reasonable and have to be dealt with by force. When they are operating on their own, we call them criminals and have police and the legal system deal with them, with a SWAT team if necessary. When they manage to get control of a country, we occasionally have to go to war to stop such people. The diplomats among us will often fall into the fallacy that everyone can be reasoned with if you understand them well enough; the Vatican falls into this frequently. I think back to the president's conversation with the captured alien in Independence Day-"What do you want us to do?" "Die!" Not a lot of room for additional frank and constructive dialogue. We've got quite a few people who come close to that alien ruthlessness. You can make a darn good case that Saddam's one of them. Until we can make sure that we don't get sociopathic wingnuts in charge of countries, we'll continue to face the possibility of wars; that ain't likely to happen until Jesus returns. We might be able to talk Saddam into playing nice with the rest of the world and showing us all his WMD goodies, but we might not be quite as lucky with the next sociopath. War will thus continue be something we'll have to study for the time being.

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