Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Iran and World War One

The more I think about this the more our current world looks eriely similar to the days before World War One. A highly recommended read is Barbara Tuchman's Guns of August, which details the events of the month of August, 1914, the start of World War One. The book description says the following:

Historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Barbara Tuchman has brought to life again the people and events that led up to Worl War I. With attention to fascinating detail, and an intense knowledge of her subject and its characters, Ms. Tuchman reveals, for the first time, just how the war started, why, and why it could have been stopped but wasn't. A classic historical survey of a time and a people we all need to know more about, THE GUNS OF AUGUST will not be forgotten.
World War One could have been avoided, were the leaders of the states involved more sensible and rational. The leaders of all states that participated in World War One wanted war though. World War One was not Germany's fault alone; it was France, Britain, Germany, Austria and Russia, along with the minor powers that participated. They all wanted it. I'm going to do more research on World War I as it seems today's world is beginning to mirror that period very dramatically. Today, you have two countries, Iran and the United States. Both dislike each other. One is building nuclear weapons because it knows the United States will not attack a nuclear state (it never has as the risk is too high). The other does not want that nation to ever have nuclear weapons (it feels the risk is too high). Both feel very confident in their stances. Both are doing what they can to rush their positions of strength before the other can move, i.e. Iran is rushing to build its nuclear technology before the United States has the political capital to thwart its nuclear programs, and the United States is rushing its allies to stop giving support to Iran, as well as preparing for contingency strikes against Iran. All this hardline sabre-rattling feeds the support of both sides, which, unless lessened, will lead to a war. Iran is no Iraq. Iran is not weak as Iraq was in 2003. This will not be a cakewalk. The "Shock and Awe" of 2003 (which for a nation that is used to special effects from their movies made Rumsfeld's Shock and Awe look pretty weak) will not be as successful against Iran. For one important reason, Iran has an air force, unlike Saddam's planes which were all on the ground on March 13, 2003. For another, Iran has a much larger army and a much larger population. March against them and they will not be your friends. They have elections (though tained and not completely fair), so there can't be an argument of "bringing freedom" to Iranians. The Mullahs haven't tortured and killed half its population like Saddam did, so there are no humanitarian reasons to go into Iran. It will solely be a nationalistic reason, i.e. we don't like them, we don't want them to have equal power as we do, so we are going to kill them. It is fortunate that such is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but some still feel justified. Mormons should not be supporting such a war. There is no justification worthy enough of such a war. Christianity has, in its past, attacked and killed Muslims because of distrust and dislike. It's nothing new. But it is shameful that it continues to happen today when we should be at the very least, slightly more enlightened than in the Dark Ages! For my fellow Mormons, I refer you to 3 Nephi 3:20-21. For non-Mormons, in the Book of Mormon, these verses take place about 10 B.C. in a time when the population known as the Nephites were being terrorized by a group of robbers known as the Gadianton Robbers. They hid in the mountains and were rather formidable, because they could easily escape into the mountains and hide if a large army approached them to take them out. By this time, the people got angry enough that they asked their prophet of God, Gidgiddoni to go after them in the mountains. What Gidgiddoni says is very profound, especially for Mormons today who seem a bit anxious about taking a fight to the enemy..... 3 Nephi 3:20-21
20 Now the people said unto Gidgiddoni: Pray unto the Lord, and let us go up upon the mountains and into the wilderness, that we may fall upon the robbers and destroy them in their own lands. 21 But Gidgiddoni saith unto them: The Lord forbid; for if we should go up against them the Lord would deliver us into their hands; therefore we will prepare ourselves in the center of our lands, and we will gather all our armies together, and we will not go against them, but we will wait till they shall come against us; therefore as the Lord liveth, if we do this he will deliver them into our hands.
That last line is the most intriguing. It doesn't say they laid up their arms and gave up. It doesn't say they were cowards who did not want to fight. It says they "trusted in the Lord". One of the earlier prophets in the Book of Mormon, a man named Nephi (the founder of the Nephite nation), said the following: 2 Nephi 4:34
34 O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.
I quote again Elder Robert S. Wood who in the recent General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints said the following in regards to how we treat others and what the church stands for: Instruments of the Lord's Peace
President George Albert Smith observed, "There is nothing in the world more deleterious or harmful to the human family than hatred, prejudice, suspicion, and the attitude that some people have toward their fellows, of unkindness." In matters of politics, he warned, "Whenever your politics cause you to speak unkindly of your brethren, know this, that you are upon dangerous ground." Speaking of the great mission of the latter-day kingdom, he counseled: "This is not a militant church to which we belong. This is a church that holds out peace to the world. It is not our duty to go into the world and find fault with others, neither to criticize men because they do not understand. But it is our privilege, in kindness and love, to go among them and divide with them the truth that the Lord has revealed in this latter day."
The World did not learn its lesson from World War One it seems and is very willing to go at it again. It seems we have not killed enough people around the world yet for all of us to be sick of death and blood. How much killing will it take for all of us to finally say, "No more!" RHMD

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