I told my wife, Paula, that I was going to do
a blog called “War and Peace” and she told me not to write about
war and suffering and death and depressing stuff, because nobody
wants to read about that. Okay, so I won’t talk about those
Of course, it’s hard to ignore the fact that
one billion or so humans have died as a result of war throughout
human history, or that 187 million died in wars from 1900 to the
present, or that there were conflicts somewhere in the world every
single year in the twentieth century. But that’s not what I want to
I try to ignore all the information in the
media about current conflicts going on around the world. The
Russian invasion of Ukraine is on the news every day. Afghanistan,
Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Libya, Mali, Somalia, South
Sudan, and Syria are all currently experiencing civil wars. There
are tensions between the United States and China, and then there’s
North Korea who is always threatening to blow us up. And now, we
have this crap-hitting-the-fan war in Israel, which will likely
ignite the whole Middle East once again. I already talked about
that in my apocalypse blog, so that's not what I want to talk
I suppose we should also
ignore a 2021
FBI report highlighting an increasing risk of violence against
government institutions, private organizations, and individuals.
The possible perpetrators are primarily “lone wolves,” but
potentially also militias and other organized groups such as animal
activists, anti-abortionists, and white supremacists. The
implication is that Americans are at risk of a civil war. But, no,
I don’t want to talk about that.
My grandpa served in World War I and my father served in World War
II. I served in the Vietnam War and my little sister served in the
Gulf War. I’ve traced my family tree back to family members who
fought in the Civil War and the Revolutionary War. So, my family
has a long history of being directly involved in war. But I'm not
going to talk about.
In earlier blog posts, I’ve mentioned that I am a Rotarian. For
those of you who may not be familiar with what that is, the Rotary
is an international organization focused on philanthropic endeavors
which include fighting disease, providing clean water, sanitation,
and hygiene, supporting education, and a bunch of other good
things, including promoting peace. There are over 46,000 clubs
worldwide in more than 200 countries.
I do have something on my mind about wars and peace.
As a Rotarian, I receive a periodic magazine imaginatively titled
The Rotary Magazine. Each edition has several articles about Rotary
projects and people from all over the planet. Now, I must admit
that I don’t read every single article in every issue. But I do
scan through them, and I found a short piece in the latest edition
that caught my eye. It was titled “Our Clubs: Leading with Hearts”.
I might have skimmed over this article too, except for a small map
of Vietnam pictured on the first page. I read the
The thing that hit me like a brick was the fact that there are now
six Rotary clubs in Vietnam - spread out over both the north and
the south of the country. Of course, today there is no North and
South Vietnam. There is just Vietnam. For some reason, this simple
revelation of the existence of Rotary clubs in Vietnam struck me as
I departed the Vietnam conflict in December 1972, but the war raged
on until April 1975, when North Vietnamese tanks rolled through the
gate of the Presidential Palace in Saigon (which isn't called
Saigon anymore). It wasn’t a popular war here in the US, so if you
were a military person returning home, you kept your head down and
didn’t talk much about serving over there. As many as 2,000,000
civilians, over 1,000,000 North Vietnamese soldiers, and over
58,000 Americans died in that war. Millions more were wounded. But
I promised not to talk about that stuff.
What I wanted to talk about is this: I’m not sure I can explain
why, but I was totally surprised that, after the horror of all that
fighting and misery and death (not to mention the fact that we
actually didn’t win the war), nearly 50 years later, there are now
Rotary clubs in that country. And this sparked another memory. As
early as the 1990s, American businessmen were traveling to Vietnam
on business trips to create commercial relationships with the
Vietnamese. I remembered being asked to join one of these
delegations. I declined because all I could remember about that
country was the animosity and cruelty between the warring factions.
After slaughtering each other for years, we were now going to be
business partners with “the enemy”?
Don't get me wrong. I'm not holding any grudges against the
Vietnamese. I'm glad U.S. relations have normalized with this
country. But this Rotary article caused me to think about what my
grandpa and my father must have thought many years after the “big
wars” were over. We all know that Germany, Italy, and Japan are now
our strategic allies and critical economic partners. To someone in
my generation, as well as subsequent generations, this seems like
no big deal. There are many Rotary clubs in all those countries.
And now there are Rotary clubs in Vietnam.
So, what I'm thinking is that war and peace are apparently just
inevitable components of an insane cycle. When a war is finally
over, Rotary clubs pop up to spread good will and peace. What a
world, what a world. Maybe we should put those kinds of efforts at
the front of the cycle?
We seem to be trapped in this absurd cycle, like Sisyphus pushing a
boulder up a mountain only to see it roll down again as it nears
the top. Why? Why in the hell do we, mankind, keep finding reasons
to go to war with each other when there are obviously better
options – like peaceful coexistence, mutually beneficial business
ventures, respect for cultural differences, and Rotary clubs
working together to make the world a better place to
This is actually a rhetorical question. I
believe the answer is quite obvious. Many of you already know my
view that the world is full of assholes, and it only takes a few of
them to create conflict by stirring up those segments of a local
population who are gullible, easily misled, and predisposed to
being manipulated. But I don’t really want to talk about that
either. (For more information on Assholism, however, you can click
on the tab “Assholes” on this very webpage.)
What I really want to talk about are puppies –
When things seem too awful to think about or
beyond my endurance for coping, I think of puppies. There’s nothing
like a basket of squirming, squeaking puppies to take one’s mind
off vexing problems. I can find lots of puppy videos on TikTok.
Paula wants to get a puppy, but I’m not so sure. It’s a lot of work
raising a puppy, but they are cute. I’m sure I’ll come home one day
and find a puppy addition to the household. Then I'll have less
time to stew over conflicts and assholes.
Some people get a puppy and then don't take
care of it, or they deliberately train it to be mean. But let’s not
talk about that.
Donuts are much easier to deal with and
they provide a lot of joy and nutrition. I think they should create
a new food group for donuts. I love donuts. I guess there
are some people who don’t like them, although I can’t imagine why.
How can you not like fried sweet dough with icing on top. Crème
filling inside makes a donut even more orgasmic!
I’m sure there is some
health-crazed person out there somewhere who is contemplating the
introduction of a beet-flavored donut with artichoke icing. Gag me
with a spoon. Ugh. Let’s not talk about that.
There are Rotary clubs in China and Russia, so
maybe there is a glimmer of hope that we can sort things out with
the people in those countries without having to go to war first.
Unfortunately, there are no Rotary clubs in North Korea or in
Islamic controlled countries. I can’t help but wonder if the Middle
East, the cradle of humanity, might someday also become the grave
of humanity. But I don’t think we should talk about that.
If you're wondering why the spot for the
picture that suppose to go with this blog says "Image coming soon"
- there's a bug in my platform's application. They're working on
it. Meanwhile, you can picture in your mind the photo that is
supposed to be there. It's a sixteenth century painting of Sisyphus
rolling a giant bolder up a mountain.
Let’s just think about puppies, donuts, and