A One-Sentence Peace Treaty


Yesterday marked the five-year anniversary of the war in Iraq. President Bush marked the occasion with a “stay the course” speech. He admitted that the war has produced “a high cost in lives and treasure,” (approximately 4,000 US soldiers, 80,000 Iraqi civilians, and 500 billion dollars) then added that those costs “are necessary when we consider the cost of a strategic victory for our enemies in Iraq.”

It just made me think about this short essay from an old Tennessee farmer named Will D. Campbell (the inspiration for the comic strip character, Reverend Will B. Dunn), published way back in 1999 in his little book, “Soul Among Lions: Musings of a Bootleg Preacher.”

A few weeks ago I happened upon two middle-aged men fighting. Not a schoolyard scuffle, but a genuine ball-fisted, bloodletting kind of adult jawbreaker. Emergency room stuff. “What’s going on here?” I asked a bystander.

“A fight,” he shrugged, grinning at my dumb question.

I begged the men to stop. One yelled back for me to mind my own business unless I wanted a beating myself. I didn’t, so I chose his first suggestion and drove away.

Another war in the Persian Gulf seemed certain at the time. I thought of that and of the two men fighting. Neither made any sense to me. “But still they have weapons of mass destruction,” we are told. Really? We have enough such weapons to kill everyone on earth many times over.

A fistfight is about hurting someone. But war is about killing. Most sadly it is about killing children. That should bother everyone. For certain, our nation has done its share of killing children. From the Trail of Tears to Dresden to Hiroshima to My Lai to Waco. Ah, we have killed children, all right. I believe that taking human life at any age or stage of development is wrong. And please don’t tell me that’s none of my business.

Why can there not be a one-sentence peace treaty: “It shall be a violation of international law for any nation to kill a child of another nation.” What nation would not sign the treaty? And how would war then be waged?


6 Responses to “A One-Sentence Peace Treaty”

  1. DeJon Says:

    This war has been so unpopular for so long it makes me wonder if there’s a point where even W admits that the benefits in no way justify the massive costs.

    I wish.

  2. alsturgeon Says:

    Just doing a little math…

    On average, every day for five years now…
    * 2 American soldiers are killed
    * 40 Iraqi civilians are killed
    * 273 million dollars is spent on the war

    Reports say that just over 1/3 of civilian deaths come from U.S.-led forces and about 1/5 of civilian deaths are women & children.

    You can read about the stats at

    It says that IBC is criticized by the right (numbers too high) and the left (numbers too low), but they only report numbers of civilian deaths confirmed by media reports. Their low-high numbers as of today are between 82,000 and 89,000 since the war began.

  3. urbino Says:

    There are also, IIRC, roughly 700 more American dead, not accounted for in the above. They are — were — civilian contractors, doing jobs soldiers used to do.

  4. DeJon Says:

    Its not flawless, but I like this short video that recently earned a youtube award. (Youtube gives out awards? Yes.)

    Stop the Clash of Civilizations

  5. DeJon Says:

    My HTML shortcomings are well documented… Attempt #2

  6. DeJon Says:

    Also, I believe this oddly entertaining short film applies… Maybe. It provides a history of modern warefare using ethnic foods to represent the warring sides .

    Food Fight – History of War Told Through Food

    [Spring Break has given me just a taste of free time.]

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