Monday, July 9, 2007

7-9-07: War and Peace

So many people nowadays are convinced that there is such a concept as world peace, and that if only we'd stop fighting wars, we'd find our way into the magical land of happiness. Ask any Miss America from the past 20 years. She's won money from supporting that cause.

I'm not the first one to ask for a definition of world peace during this discussion, and I won't be the last, but WHAT is world peace? Before we get into the nitty gritty of HOW we can achieve world peace, let's start with nailing down a definition. My definition may be far different than yours. Let me just give you an example: I work at a significantly large defense contractor. I see and know many people who are deeply proud of what we do, and am proud to work for my company. The company is not particularly well known, but you see our products in almost every single war movie made since 1970. But, we also make products that save people's lives. We're proud of that too. So, when I walk around on our factory floor, watching men and women of various ethnicities making our products, I know that they are probably happy, too. It gives them a bit of peace in their lives knowing that they are making something that people know and recognize.

My company has profited from war, but not in any illegal way. We are simply a manufacturer of something that people who become engaged in combat like to use to gain a tactical advantage. We have large contracts with multiple branches of the military, a few of which are in the multiple BILLIONS of dollars. Most of that money goes into the products we make, but a great deal of money still goes to the proud people who design and manufacture the products. I'm an electrical engineer, and I'm a bit different than the guys on the floor, but we share a bit of joy in what we do. Every time I get bored or slightly dislike my job, I remember what I am doing, and become a bit revitalized. I realized that today, actually, when my co-worker asked if I ever get excited. I replied "Not in general," but realized that I get a bit excited about being a part of something greater than myself. It gives me peace.

My definition of world peace: MOST people are happy. Not every one, just most. Can that happen without war? Sure. Will it? Probably not. WHY? Because people often fight wars because they aren't happy, and just because a war isn't being fought doesn't mean people are happy. It's simply bad logic to assume so. Look at the conflict in the Middle East. Sure, there are times of peace, but it's a relative peace. The Palestinians are always going to be pissed off at the Israelis. It's just how they are brought up. It is part of their culture, and it's how they derive at least some of their pride and heritage. It's what separates them from me. I don't hate the Palestinians or the Israelis, but I hate Al Qaeda. It's part of being a proud American. HATE is not all that bad, actually. It gives me a chance to unite with other people. It gives me peace.

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