The Hard Way to Peace: A New Strategy

The Hard Way to Peace: A New Strategy

The Hard Way to Peace: A New Strategy

The Hard Way to Peace: A New Strategy

Excerpt

On September 21, 1956, test pilot Thomas Attridge was flying a single-seat jet over the Atlantic Ocean near Long Island. He test-fired his guns; a few minutes later he crashed without warning into some woods about three miles from where he had fired. His jet was hit by three of his own bullets. Flying at a speed faster than that of his shells, although following a different course, test pilot Attridge had entered the bullets' trajectory and shot down his plane and himself. Often it seems that we are set on following his course: clinging to arms that are supposed to give us protection, we ourselves become their target. He who fires the thermonuclear guns might well be hit by their fire, destroying both the ship and those on board. And we are all on board.

Most people, most of the time, wish for peace. But human history can be recounted as a series of interludes between wars. There is no simple remedy for healing such a vast gap between man's sincere desire for peace and his historical experience of frequent war. There is no easy way to peace.

"But the bombs will protect us," say the complacent ones. "There will be no war." A thermonuclear war, they say, would bring the annihilation of us all; therefore nobody will drop these bombs. They feel as safe as did Attridge, placing his trust in guns, as safe as felt their forefathers who said that the cannon, and the machine gun, and the bomber were so deadly that they made war impossible. These weapons only increased the number of casualties in each successive war. The same holds for the new weapons. The number of Americans who were killed or died in World War I was 126,000; in World War II, it was 397,000; estimates of those to die in World War III range between 10 million and 160 million Americans alone.

Every generation believed its war to be just, defending values . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.