Parishes | Schools | Priests | Masses |
More in this section MAIN MENU

Afghanistan's clear lesson: 'War is not the answer'

English Spanish Tony Magliano Profile

Was it good that the United States and its allies fought a 20-year war against the Taliban in Afghanistan? Was all of the blood, sweat and tears worth it?

How can any honest, moral, objective view conclude that all of the money wasted, good will lost, Americans and allies killed and countless innocent poor Afghan children, women and men sacrificed on the altar of war was worth it (see: https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/figures).

In his famous speech, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” – delivered exactly one year before his assassination – Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. prophetically declared that “War is not the answer.”

He added, “We must find an alternative to war and bloodshed.” The war we are fighting “has strengthened the military industrial complex.” This war “has played havoc with our domestic destinies ... it has put us in a position of appearing to the world as an arrogant nation. ... The judgment of God is upon us today.”

These words spoken by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. concerning the Vietnam War could just as easily be spoken about America’s violent involvement in Afghanistan.

Yes indeed, like the Vietnam War, the armed conflict in Afghanistan, not to mention the known wars in places like Iraq, Syria – and God and the CIA only knows where else – “has strengthened the military industrial complex” once again.

Weapon producing corporations like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics reap huge wartime profits at the expense of the poor and war-torn.

At Vatican II, the world’s Catholic bishops prophetically declared: “Since peace must to born of mutual trust between nations and not be imposed on them through fear of the available weapons, everyone must labor to put an end at last to the arms race.”

Furthermore, Pope Francis has repeatedly added his voice boldly condemning the arms race and those who profit from it (see his striking video: https://bit.ly/3yvpCsL).

Imagine the good that would be accomplished and the goodwill that would be established if we converted our weapon plants into factories that construct goods that protect and enhance life – especially the lives of the poor, vulnerable and the life of our common home planet Earth.

Instead of producing instruments designed to kill like M-16 rifles, F-35 Lightning II fighter jets, M1 Abrams tanks, and abortion vacuum aspiration machines – which are instruments of war used against unborn babies – we could massively produce humane products like low-cost house building kits, water pumps, water filtering kits, modern latrines, farm tools, wind turbines, solar panels, mass transit trains, affordable electric cars, schools and hospitals.

For those who think this is naïve, consider that the reverse happened during World War II. According to historian John Buescher, no American cars, commercial trucks, or auto parts were made from February 1942 to October 1945. “The auto industry retooled to manufacture tanks, trucks, jeeps, airplanes, bombs, torpedoes, steel helmets, and ammunition under massive contracts issued by the government” (see: http://teachinghistory.org/history-content/ask-a-historian/24088).

The Catholic bishops at Vatican II taught that in order for peace to be built up, injustice must be uprooted – especially excessive economic inequalities.

St. Pope Paul VI famously said, “If you want peace, work for justice.”

All Catholics, other followers of Christ – the Prince of Peace – and all people of goodwill need to pray, dream, dialogue, educate, plan and build a world where everyone is seen as a brother or sister and everyone’s basic needs are met.

The world’s Catholic bishops at Vatican II challenged us to put an end to war by boldly declaring: “It is our clear duty, then, to strain every muscle as we work for the time when all war can be completely outlawed by international consent.”

Are we finally up to it?

Tony Magliano
Visit blogger's profile >>

Comments from readers

Valli Leone - 09/20/2021 11:18 AM
I agree that war is hell, and I will never fully understand the basis for most wars. Scripture asks us where do these wars come from — and then answers: They come from the evil passions in men’s hearts. We need only recount the capital sins — pride, arrogance, greed, gluttony, lust, envy and slothfulness. The last of these, the laziness to do what Jesus tells us, in my opinion is the main weakness of our world. It often emanates from ignorance. That’s why people perish— for a lack of knowledge. Father, we repent; forgive us for loving armaments of arrogance and weapons of war instead of loving you and your people. Lord Jesus, help us to seek your truth; and set us free from these horrific and needless killings in spirit, soul and body. Holy Spirit, show us how to turn our swords into plowshares; have your way, oh God! ✝️⚓️💜
Jose M Lorenzo - 09/20/2021 11:09 AM
Tony, In my humble opinion you are right in the money that war profits weapons industry producers but also banks institutions, pharma industries, oil producers, technology at large and much more institution that predates in human blood for very large profits. War is the greatness business in earth. My father ones told me in July 5, 1962 : " war is money do not believe in nationalism or justice war is only business my son." My farther who facilitate the GI's landing in 1943 in Oran, Algeria told me this lesson living our native country Algeria forever after 4 générations of Lorenzo's born there. He also told me this other lesson: I was 11 years old at the time. "Go to America is the only country that is blessed by God." Today at 70 I know that he was right like you are too Tony. My humble theory is that as long that we did not start loving and blessing our enemies it always be WAR and blood socking business on hearth. We Catholics carry a great burden and responsibility to change the planet by first changing ourselves and taking this GOD's commandement to the Letter: "Help your neighbors and love your enemies." Very respectfully, Jose M Lorenzo

Let's Talk Blog

Meet the Bloggers