Stop the War Please

Stop the War Please
people wandering around a smoky pile of rubble in the aftermath of war

War. Just stop it.

Failing leaders particularly love war. Especially when they’ve torn a country apart. Because war—at first—unites a population. 

People set aside their political differences. They mobilize to help one another. “Let’s get through this crisis,” they say. “Then we can worry about our  own government.”

But first the threat has to be real. If an invading enemy takes lives, the threat is established. The failing leader has their cause. 

This changes the stakes. The leader takes up new tasks. And if they do them well, then their public support rises. And their ruling position—whatever their motivation is for holding on to it—is secure.

There is no bloodless war. The tactic is to injure people and destroy infrastructure. To batter the enemy until it gives the leader whatever victory they need to secure their power.

There is no ethical war. The statistics are clear. Soldiers who survive live with trauma; their families often fall apart. More civilians die than soldiers; more children die than adults. Men rape women. Civilian survivors flee; they become refugees. Some never find a permanent home again.

At first, the unity feels great. To most citizens, anyway. Their lives grow in purpose and meaning. They give and receive mutual support. Maybe they take pleasure, at first, in an enemy’s losses. A wise leader praises the people’s sacrifice. Calls them partners. Listens to their concerns and at least pretends to take them seriously.

But as war drags on—days, weeks, months, years—the cost becomes too great. Surviving citizens are grieving, injured, desperate, exhausted. Fighters are weary, frightened, uncertain. And all of the leader’s political capital drains away. Only grief, trauma, scarcity, and devastation remain. Likely for generations.

Please. Israel is tiny. Gaza is tinier. The costs are too high. Stop the war. 

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Influences: Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain, Chris Hedges, What Every Person Should Know About War. Image: Detail from cover of Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of WWII by Keith Lowe.

4 Comments
  1. Dearest Laura,

    Sending you boatloads of love.

    War stinks. This one isn’t only about giving the leaders what they want, albeit they must be held accountable. We can’t stop now. Hamas vowed to do again, what they did on October 7th, only worse. They are an existential threat to Jews/Israel and they are seeking to be this on a global scale. It’s also horrific that their infrastructure/base of operations is underneath all things civilian in Gaza. And it’s not only in Gaza. The US struck Hezbollah sites in Iraq earlier today. Islamists are an existential threat to humanity everywhere.

    Great humanitarian aid and effort would be to help with the trauma and re-education, when and as people are ready. I pray for peace, from within to be spread through-out, from all people everywhere, for all people everywhere.

    Trauma specialists and healers, and re-education assistance is one of the greatest humanitarian efforts that can be provided. It’s a huge task, but all it will take, is good organization with a great deal of caring, kind, balanced people involved. This means, politics aside, and “politic” being implemented. Sagacious, wise, clear-headed, suitable leaders, sensitive to people’s needs and meeting those needs. Including, when and as necessary, defense from evil ne’er do wells, simply because it’s the right thing to do.

    Love your light, Laura. Thank you.

    1. Love you too, Donna. We agree on everything. I’m just still praying for the miracle of immediate successful negotiation.

  2. This is an inspiring post. drawing as it does upon ancient wisdom. Thank you. As a non Jewish person I struggle to find the truth during this terrible time. Your writing rings true for me. Thank you.

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