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Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016

Distant war could claim many lives

Sunday, June 2, 2002

India and Pakistan - two neighbors locked in yet another religious/political battle - are on the brink of war. Under most conditions, this would be simply troubling. But India and Pakistan both possess nuclear capabilities and both have virtually pledged to use those weapons if tensions escalate. As usual our federal government is trying to broker a peace plan. It may work today but someday down the road our efforts won't be enough. In India and Pakistan, an estimated 10 million people will die if nuclear weapons are used. Some put the number much, much higher.

What are we to make of this latest international hot spot? And other than on moral grounds, why should the United States play the role of international peacekeeper? These are questions that come to mind as the conflict escalates.

Oh and by the way, we're still waging a war on terrorism and trying to balance a peace between Israel and the Palestinians in our spare time.

Perhaps war is an inevitable component of humanity. The Bible is most certainly filled with wars and violence and prophesies of more to come. Historians point to countless brutal conflicts that predate the written word. Recent research pinpoints violence and the weapons of violence in the very earliest history of mankind. In other words, violence and conflict are nothing new and will not go away probably ever.

An estimated 60,000 Americans in India have been advised to leave the region immediately. That falls short of an order to leave but that move could come as early as this week. The mood is tense and the weapons are pointed.

I'm not at all certain what American interest is threatened in this regional conflict though the thought of millions of dead is certainly sobering. But perhaps we as a free nation can do absolutely nothing to settle every conflict of mankind. Those conflicts will ultimately lead someday to sophisticated weaponry that will spell mass destruction. It's just a matter of time.

When we try to broker peace between waring factions that have fought forever, we fool ourselves into thinking our role is greater than it truly is. Far too often in the past we have resolved conflicts by spending hard-earned tax dollars to buy peace. That will no longer work.

It's easy to sit back and view the unfolding nature of world events and wonder if we Americans are the only sane nation on the face of this earth. But that view is arrogant and incorrect as well. At the same time however we must appreciate that religious wars are beyond the scope of resolution by anyone other than those engaged in those conflicts. To try to insert American thinking into a religious war is foolhardy and misguided.

I know absolutely nothing of the differences between Hindus and Muslims. But that difference - whatever is may be - is about to claim more lives than any single conflict in history. Let's pray we are on the sidelines and far from the playing field. One American life lost in this distance battle is one too many.

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