Photo Prayer 2023-04 -- Targeting Civilians

Armed soldiers should not target unarmed civilians. That seems clear enough to me sitting thousands of miles from conflict, but those at war soon lose such clarity. For those at war, entire populations become the enemy. During World War II, the world condemned the Luftwaffe for bombing London and other cities in England, but then, later in that war, British Bomber Command undertook the systematic bombing of German cities. The United States did the same in Japan. When civilians support their country’s war efforts, it seems they become legitimate targets for their country’s enemies. Such is the blunt logic of war. My question is, do we have to be logical?

Photo of young people playing in fire-hydrant spray at the July 4 Games, Arden, Delaware.
Photo copyright 2013; text, 2023; by Danny N. Schweers.
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Anne wrote:
Wonderful photo and necessary reminder of the true, hidden costs of any conflict. Why can't we get along with each other? Agree [with Danny’s reply that] Sanctions hurt the "least of these" the most.

Tom wrote:
Creative use of a peaceful photo, Danny. Thanks for the message! Following up, it's true that wars are with hindsight both stupid and tragic, and that we should do everything we can to prevent them from starting. Most combat veterans agree. But once they have started what then? I think it's arguable that both peacemakers (war preventers) and warriors have important roles to play in securing peace. When I came back from making war in Vietnam I wanted to become a peacemaker, and found Quakers to be excellent guides in that vocation. Recently, stimulated by the war in Ukraine, I researched whether Quakers have ever decided that the Spirit called them to set aside their commitment not to bear arms in any circumstance. I found that some members of the Wilmington Friends meeting did in fact fight for the Union because they were convinced that the only way to prevent the spread of slavery was to defeat the Confederacy militarily. After the war those warrior dissenters were excluded from the meeting for a number of years, but then later were readmitted. As Christians we pray to God: "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." How does one in good conscience work toward that goal? Certainly by doing everything one can to prevent wars from starting. But once they have started? Well, some, like those dissenting Quakers, may decide that the only way out is through.

Julie wrote:
War is illogical to begin with, so application of any logic at all seems worth a shot. Logic might point at less aggressive strategies.

John wrote:
Photo is great. Comments are very inciteful.

Ernestine wrote:
Someone, or leaders need to think how logical it would be to not harm, kill or destroy human life because of the selfishness of these war campaigns. Logic would be to love our neighbor as we love ourselves; however, I guess that would be the logic of true Christians. But, I would imagine all are not Christian. What do we do about that. Peace, Love and Blessings 🙏🙏🙏

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