War, the Draft and Population Control
(Note: this is from 1999)
I recently heard that they are sending ground troops to kosovo.
i was told that they are most likely going to start a draft. i am 19
years old and am worried about being drafted. i think it is terrible
what is happening over there but feel that killing is not the
answer. i am strongly against fighting and would do anything to not
go if i was drafted. there are surely better ways to go about
helping other than killing. what i am wondering is do you have any
suggestions on how to dodge the draft and what the consequences of
me doing so would be. also, even if it doesn’t come down to a draft, are
there ways i can help to remedy the situation that do not support the war?
and lastly, where do you stand on this issue? do you feel
there are other ways to go about this other than fighting and
killing? is there a point where i should suspend my beliefs toward
war and killing in order to fight for the lives of others? i feel
like my beliefs are opposing each other on this issue. on one side i
hold the belief that all killing is bad, war is evil and that
peace is the solution to everything, and on the other i believe that
it is everyone’s duty to help others in need. if the only way to help
the muslims in kosovo is war, i am confused. i do not know what is
more important. helping others or having peace. could it be
possible that the only way to create peace between the serbs and the
muslims is war? i hope not but it is certainly a possibility,
as against war as i am, i sometimes
feel it could be a good thing. and while i cannot justify killing
other humans simply because they hold different beliefs, in the long
run, could it be possible that war is helping to prolong the
existence of the human race?
i will attempt to explain what i mean.
in all animals other than humans there are certain limitations set
upon the species which limit the size of the population. these
include but are not limited to disease, fighting and killing due to
competition or need for food, and the size of the animals habitat.
when one elk kills another when competing to win the right to mate
with a certain female, or when a heard of caribou leave a sick member
to die or be eaten by wolves we say oh that is sad, but no big deal,
it is natures way. but as humans we have found ways to cure
diseases that should kill large amounts of people and we have created
special programs to help those individuals who are not able to
survive on their own. we have developed medicines and diets that
allow us to survive many years longer than was ever possible. all of
these developments ultimately increase the number of humans on
this earth and there is only so much room for us to grow. we are
already destroying the habitat of other animals so that we may
continue to expand. i feel that inevitably the earth will be unable
to support us any longer and something will happen to extinguish our
existence. or at least cut our population by a huge proportion such
as the bubonic plague did. perhaps war is the last natural way to
control our population? maybe peace (at least when thought of as
stopping war) is more harmful to everyone than war itself? these are
all questions with which i struggle and was just wondering if you
have any insight which could shed a light on my confusion.
one last thought. . . peace is a wonderful goal to work toward but everyone’s
definition of this should not simply mean ‘no war.’ it is much more
important to be at peace with our individual selves and with the
natural world than to end war. we have committed far greater crimes
to our mother earth and our brother and sister animals than we do
when we kill each other. at least in war the two sides know what
they are getting into and have an understanding for what is going on
and for the consequences. And to the Old Hippy, thank you for your
time. I am sure everyone who writes to you is as appreciative as
myself that there is someone out there to listen to our questions and
provide guidance when we need it most.
Wow, what difficult questions! You’ve obviously thought this out. I wish more of us would think things through before we open our mouths. I’ll try to answer these deep questions.
First concerning the draft and how to dodge it. Thankfully, there isn’t one now and hopefully it won’t be necessary to force people against their will to travel long distances to kill people they don’t even know, or get killed themselves. I wasn’t a draft dodger myself as I was in a lottery and got a lucky number, over 300. Even though I was in school I would’ve been drafted if my number was lower. There really was no escape from the Vietnam era draft in the early years, except to flee the country. Many of our boys went to Canada. I suppose many of them still live there!
Since the draft was stopped, I believe it will take an act of Congress to restore it. One can only hope that should they resort to that desperate measure they’ll use some common sense and not force people to serve against their will and conscience. I know the armed services have had trouble in the last few years filling their quotas. This could mean that they are understaffed for a prolonged conflict on a wide scale. So this IS A POSSIBILITY! It’s good that people are concerned about this because it can happen pretty fast. One day you’re graduating high school looking forward to college and your future when a draft notice arrives and suddenly your future becomes much less certain.
I hope that in the event of another draft, everyone will get out and protest! Don’t wait until YOUR NUMBER IS UP! I believe if you feel it’s your duty to defend “your country” against Serbian aggression, then, hey, go for it. It’s your life. But if you don’t believe that killing others is the solution, then you must say it and SAY IT LOUD!
Now as far as other ways to help the situation. There is always a need for volunteers to help get aid to the real victims of war. Everything from picking up donations to delivering them in the field requires much time and energy. I’m sure there are agencies in your area that are helping out the refugees. In any war there are many ways to assist, and many ways to protest. As we are seeing, much of the war is fought with propaganda, with each side trying to convince the public that they are right. That is also how you protest. You organize, you go out in public, you provide information, and you make your feelings known! You march on picket lines, you sign petitions, you write your congressmen, you boycott, you rally, you get your friends to help. That’s what it’s all about, that’s what it takes to sway public opinion and the political powers that be. We’ve done it before, we can do it again.
As far as the situation in Kosovo is concerned, it is a real mess. At this time we are hearing reports of innocent Kosovo civilians being killed by an air attack on a convoy. This is the tragedy of war. The people who make war, whether they sit in the Pentagon or in some Palace in Bagdad or Belgrade are immune from it’s effects. Our government respects the rights of dictators and mass murderers far more than the innocent people smashed by the war machine. All in the name of sovereignty. Makes you wonder just how much they’ll care about YOU when YOUR NUMBER IS UP, eh?
It took the destruction of Europe to finally get to Hitler. Do you think it will take any less to get to Milosovich? Do you think he would stand down? His power in Yugoslavia is absolute, and so he is absolutely corrupted. Does this mean he would sooner see the destruction of his country and the death of all his countrymen before he would surrender? Let’s hope we don’t have to find out!
So this leaves us with a moral dilemma of global proportions. What have we learned since WWII and Vietnam that can help us with this situation? During the beginning of WWII the U.S. sat on the sidelines being neutral, not wanting to get involved. In the meantime, Hitler’s troops rolled over one country after another, inventing more efficient methods of “ethnic cleansing” along the way. Eventually it got to the point where the U.S. finally felt threatened by the situation. If we had acted earlier, how many MILLIONS of lives would have been saved?
In Vietnam, our government viewed the situation through the lens of the “domino theory” believing that once Vietnam became totally communist, the rest of Asia and the Pacific would follow, in a similar fashion to Eastern Europe. Remember communism was at its peak in the 60s! In this case with Serbia, it’s not an issue of ideology or economic theory. It’s a clear case of ethnic and religious rivalry and greed. In my opinion this irrational hatred is the most serious issue facing the world on the eve of a new millennia.
But these issues are human issues and have been present since man first killed man. According to Eastern philosophy, the individuals involved, whether they have the power to declare war or are the first innocent victims, are fulfilling their karma. To judge these people and their actions in any way draws you into their karmic energy. If the world is a giant stage where we act our parts in some life or death drama then we must choose our role carefully. For we are doomed to act the part over and over again until we get it right. To get it right means that we treat others with love and respect, thereby freeing ourselves from the karmic burden and the cycle of reincarnation.
So to answer the last questions you posed, war is not a solution that automatically brings peace. Yet peace always comes when the war ends! Taking sides in a war means that you are now involved karmically. Calling for peace and helping your fellow man is the path of love and will bring about the best results.
By asking these questions, I can see you are on the right path. Your observations about man and the larger ecosystem reveal your insight into what lies behind Maya, the illusion. The natural forces at work are far beyond man’s comprehension. They have provided us with a luxurious garden that provides far more than we need. We will eventually pay for our lack of respect for this garden, and this time we might be exiled permanently. If the planetary choice is between our species and the health of the planet, I wouldn’t bet against mother nature finding a way to “cleanse the human disease”. By respecting your fellow man, regardless of his karmic situation, you improve life on the planet. Indeed, showing this respect for all life and the planet itself is the only way we can make it through the next millennium.
-The Old Hippy
Posted by: skip
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