Human beings have a supreme, honed talent for killing the innocent in their quest to impose THEIR way. I see photos and read historical accounts of the starving Jews in the WW II concentration camps, the napalm burned children of Vietnam, the stacked skulls of the victims of the Khmer Rogue, the almost three million people killed by Stalin in his quest for "greatness", the decimation of the American Indian populations, the Assyrian genocide that Turkey committed during WW I, and the still shots of people plummeting out of the raging infernos of the World Trade Center Towers on 9/11 and I have little hope that humans will ever change. No nation possesses hands that are free from the stain of human blood.
But I also know, as much as I hate war, if I were ever attacked I would put my loved ones as far out of harm's way as possible and then I would pick up a weapon and protect myself. I expect my country to do the same. I want to live and let live, but I know this isn't always possible. With the advent of a modern Global Economy most countries just want to be left alone to live in peace and prosper. We are more interconnected than we have ever been, and maybe that's the problem. It is religious extremist organizations who freely filter back and forth over myriad borders who have become the bane of 21st century man's existence.
And what do THEY want? Mostly for others to believe in THEIR god and to live according the THEIR religious laws of control. These are the most dangerous types of human beings that exist. Their ignorance, their lack of education, their blind faith, their unresolved fears of their eternal existence (no matter their verbal assertions, they all have that quiet voice inside that says that maybe this life is all there is. Most humans possess an ego that can't even fathom the possibility of non-existence after death). All wars, and the horrors and atrocities that accompany them, have their roots in this one basic fear of non-existence after death. THEY draw comfort from converting, by force if needed, massive numbers of people who believe they way THEY do because numbers give more weight and validity to the beliefs. If nine million people believe the same thing then that belief has to be more correct than if only a hundred people believe, right?
Until we can change the basic nature of mankind and ease the fears, war will be with us. The faces and the players may change, but the atrocities will stay the same. But can we change the basic nature of mankind? Can we ease mankind's fears and make people impervious to extremism? History proves we cannot. If nothing else, history has taught us that a zealot belief in a god can be very bad for one's life expectancy and the condition of peace. But the beat goes on and the children keep dying and the answers grow more tangled. Which sides are merely protecting themselves and which are attempting invasions? Which god will save us and which will condemn us? Does it even matter? I think that, in itself, is the answer.