War Lessons Unlearned

Peter Oye Sagay

Oct 30, 2017

Cognitive beings defend being and space instinctively when faced with existential threats. The development of sophisticated weapons by humans over time, has consistently caused the redefinition of what constitute existential threats and as a result what constitute acceptable defense in the presence of existential threats. Specfically, at a time when humans possess weapons of mass destruction that can be effectively deployed within hours to any space on earth, when must the instinct to survive override civility? This question is fundamental to peace on earth. Leaders who answer it correctly are peacemakers while those who answer it incorrectly are warmongers. The former will not pre-emptively attack any space. The latter believe that the best defense is an offense and so will attack before they are attacked.

The best defense is an offense philosophy is only tenable in a sports arena where no one gets killed. This philosophy is existentially illegal in the context of war where many innocent people die. In other words, it is a natural crime for a space to pre-emptively attack another space thereby killing innocent people. Nature eventually punishes such a space through its wrath. Nature mandates that an attack is just only if it is a response to an attack that has occured or an attack in transit (on its way to being an actual attack). An attack in transit will certainly become an actual attack unless a response attack neutralizes it (e.g a defensive missile blows up an offensive missile in space). A pre-emptive attack based merely on the fact of possession of weapons of mass destruction is wrong particularly when the attacker possesses weapons of mass destruction.

Many inventions of humans are existential threats (knives, guns, automobiles,alcohol, etc). Whether or not they are weapons of mass destruction depends on how they are adapted to kill many people (we have seen recently how automobiles have ben used to kill many innocent people). There is no law in any civilized space that criminalizes the possession of knives or automobiles in homes. In the United States, the right to carry arms is fiercely defended by virtue of the Second Amendment. Suppose some individuals decide to invade the homes of knives, autos and guns owners on the claim that their possession constitute existential threats to them. The invading individuals will be quickly arrested and eventually punished according to the severity of the consequences of the invasion. No lesser response should be directed to leaders who foolishly invade other spaces based merely on the fact that the invaded spaces possess weapons of mass destruction. The world can not continue to tolerate the deaths and sufferings of many innocent people and the overall disequilibriums caused by unnecessary wars.

It is human to be foolish. Anyone who lives long enough will be foolish at least once in his or her lifetime. The wise person wishes not to be free from foolishness but to learn the lessons of past foolishness. The fact that many sophisticated human spaces are easily ready to go to war despite past bad experiences of war, indicates that there are still many war lessons unlearned.

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