26 October, 2008

The First Decisive Measure

One of my favourite books during my teens and twenties was The Once And Future King, by T.H. White. I haven’t read it in the last twenty years, but I pulled it off my bookshelf the other night, and I’ve been reading it in short bits and spurts. (This silly jet lag is causing ruckus to my sleeping patterns.)

I’m very much enjoying reading the book after such a long time. In particular, what draws me is the discussion on war between Merlyn and the newly crowned King Arthur.

There is one fairly good reason for fighting – and that is, if the other man starts it. You see, wars are a wickedness of a wicked species. They are so wicked that the must not be allowed. When you can be perfectly certain that the other man started it, then is the time when you might have a sort of duty to stop him.” (spoken by Merlyn)

Later, there is a discussion between St. Toirdealbhach and Lot’s sons about why he (Toirdealbhach) stopped fighting wars. Toirdealbhach says that when the numbers fighting the war increase to a number where people fighting are no long knowledgeable about the true reasons for fighting, nor do they know who they specifically were killing, he (Toirdealbhach) lost heart.

Which brings me to a conversation I had with a dear old friend of mine in Montreal. She stipulated, if Mr. Obama is elected and if he wanted to send a resounding message to Americans and the rest of the world that America is absolutely serious about taking decisive measures to re-establish its integrity and dignity as a world leader, the first measure Mr. Obama could take would be a fairly easy thing to do. He would just have to close down the prison at Guantanamo. If he did that, he would not only instill great hope to the people of the world, but also achieve great applause.

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