It was 100 years ago today day, April 6, 1917 when the United States entered the so called, “Great War” following a 373 to 50 vote in favor in the House. The Senate, even more hawkish voted 82 to 6 to send American “doughboys” into harms way. An estimated 17 million people had already died in the conflict. Oddly enough, President Woodrow Wilson won re-election months earlier on a “peace through neutrality” platform vowing to keep the United States out of the turbulent, brutal world conflict that was claiming millions of lives since 1914. The insanity saw the rise of mechanized warfare and chemical weapons. The war will rage on until November 11, 1918, but the terms only set the stage for WW II to be fought 20 years later. That war was followed by American engagements in Korea, Vietnam, Panama (yes, Panama) and Iraq.
War does not end war. The proof of it was visited upon the world just Tuesday when a chemical attack on a Syrian rebel stronghold, allegedly by strongman Bashar al-Assad, forced Donald Trump to realize his own “line in the sand.” This after years of criticizing former president Barack Obama for not taking action when al-Assad tested that president’s metal with a similar attack on his own people. Obama was taken to task for drawing a line in the sand and allowing al-Assad and his Russian sponsors to not only cross it, but to dare the US and the United Nations to do anything about it.
Now the US is faced with having to up the ante with not only al-Assad but with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un whose provocations appear to escalate almost daily. Students of history and international policy all know that it is easy to shout, “WAR!” It’s peace that’s hard to find. It is hard to justify ware as a means to the end, especially when war in the nuclear age could lea to total mutual annihilation.
So let’s not let the significance of this day pass without notice. The Great War proved that war is not great. It is just a pipeline to another round of hate enhanced by technology that only heightens the number of deaths.
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