I once asked my dad, a World War Two veteran, what he considered a “just war.” He replied, “All war is insanity.”
I agree with my dad: even necessary war is insanity. People sometimes do in war what they would never consider doing under other circumstances.
Still, a soldier, sailor, airman or marine may be given opportunities to step aside from the insanity of war.
A young Marine officer - recently back from the war in Iraq - came to a men’s breakfast at our church a few years ago. He told the story of his platoon coming under fire while moving through an Iraqi city.
He heard the firing but no return fire from his platoon. He angrily moved forward to confront his Marines for holding fire. “Why aren’t you returning fire?” he demanded. The sergeant answered, “Sir the fire is coming from the middle of a crowd of civilians - men, women and children.”
The lieutenant eyed the crowd and paused. Then he ordered the sergeant to hold fire and take another route to where they were going.
My take-away: You need not join the insanity every time you’re given an opportunity or excuse.