Analysis: Remembering the fallen and questioning the wars

triple deuce deploys
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander, International Security Assistance Force and commander, U.S. Forces - Afghanistan, congratulations Capt. Brian Knutson, commander of E-Company, 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, during a ceremony for the 2-22 at the Kabul Military Training Center, Nov. 27. The ceremony officially present the 2-22, or Triple Deuce, with a Meritorious Unit Commendation for their training role with the Afghan National Army. | Photo by Staff Sgt. Sarah Brown, USAF, Courtesy of Army.Mil

Kate Dalley is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are solely hers and not those of St. George News.

OPINION – Memorial Day is such a day of mixed emotions. I celebrate the holiday by going up to central Utah to put flowers on the graves of those that have passed in my family and enjoying a barbecue with those of us that remain.

Having had generations of family members serving in various wars throughout the centuries, I cannot help but get emotional when I see the graves of young valiant men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice with their lives.

As I visit the graves of numerous soldiers, I find that my views on war are changing. Have we come to think that war means patriotism?

We have fought some wars that were justifiable in preserving our freedoms. Then there are other wars that seem to make no sense; fighting someone else’s religious war, fighting wars because we want to preserve precious commodities for international trade, or just to exercise the “American muscle” of authority. War does not necessarily mean power.

“All war must be just the killing of strangers against whom you feel no personal animosity; strangers whom, in other circumstances, you would help if you found them in trouble, and who would help you if you needed it.”
Mark Twain, “The Private History of the Campaign That Failed

During WWI, the soldiers on both sides ending the fighting as they listened to the radio in silence when it broadcasted the song “Silent Night” on Christmas Eve in 1914.

I honor the service members but do not always honor the decision makers who put them in battle.

Hearing these words from the late LDS Prophet Spencer W. Kimball changed my feeling on the wars that we fight. He asked in June 1976 if we were becoming a warlike people.

“… We are a warlike people, … When threatened, we become anti-enemy instead of pro-kingdom of God; we train a man in the art of war and call him a patriot, thus, in the manner of Satan’s counterfeit of true patriotism, perverting the Savior’s teaching …”

True patriots should be reluctant war enthusiasts and lean towards peace to preserve freedom. Should we, as a nation, be more careful to elect those who possess a true understanding of what being a patriot is?

General Smedley Butler wrote the following words in 1935 after receiving two congressional Medals of Honor for his service as a Marine. He retired as a Major General in 1931. “War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives … It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many.”

Whether someone supports war or not, all of us should be mindful of the courage it takes when these young service members know that it may cost them the ultimate sacrifice and sign up anyway.

To the service men and women of this country, I applaud your willingness in serving our country in whatever capacity you serve in. You fight to protect individuals everywhere, regardless of their citizenship, and you serve for the good of humanity everywhere.

To the superiors and leaders of this great nation, I humbly ask that you serve the people in your role as true patriots and elected officials. Just because you have the ability to place thousands of our brave young men and women in harm’s way, does not mean that you should.

Our service members have never died in vain. They have signed up to serve based on their love of country – something greater than a love for themselves. Our humanity towards one another can result in more lasting peace than battles won or lost.

To all of those that we have honored this past Memorial Day, veterans or not, we are who we are because of your place in our lives. Memorial Day should forever make us grateful and mindful for those that have gone on, those of us that remain and those that are to follow.

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1 Comment

  • ron June 3, 2012 at 7:22 am

    Much wisdom here. Thanks for helping me shape my thoughts on this whole issue. I agree with everything you are saying here.

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