Prisoners of war

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The questions accompanying the release of Bowe Bergdahl — was he a deserter, did the president break laws by not notifying Congress, does this set a precedent for dealing with terrorists?— obscure profound and troubling issues that are manifest across the planet, most recently, for example, in the insurgencies in Nigeria and Iraq.

Despite millennia of human evolution, we still are more prone toward and proficient at waging war than waging peace. Youths, in some cases even children, are taught to hate and trained to kill, with increasing efficiency, others of whom they have little or no direct knowledge.

In preparing for and executing wars we despoil the environment — plant, animal, land, air, water — transforming the riches of the planet into means of destruction and death. Casually, we speak of the next generation of weapons — try an Internet search with the terms F-35, T-50, J-20 — perhaps unwittingly sealing the fate of our progeny for generations. We resolve differences by eliminating the different.

Are these just inevitable manifestations of the principle survival-of-the-fittest applied to the human animal? Are there no greater principles that will reorient us toward prioritizing peace? Or will we all be forever prisoners of war?

These are not idle questions; they are ultimately important, pointing to fundamental issues of the nature of our humanity, the future of our evolving planet, and the relation between the two.

JOHN A. ROGERS

North Point Breeze


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