This is what I have figured out after 19.5 years in the real world:

Pacifism sucks.

I'm a bleeding heart pacifist, and I admit that it sucks. Pacifists don't get to be rich or happy. Instead, they get to be old, ugly, and gaunt, and they either die from a bullet or a horrible illness. If they're lucky, they might get to be famous along the way... but that's a long shot. Most die uncelebrated, and I know that I'll die uncelebrated, too.

Sure, I can argue in political science class that war is an evil. The professor, himself a liberal, tells me that I'm on the Good Ship Lollipop. The conservatives in the next row shoot down my assertions, saying that war against evil is good. Before long, we have a long list of excuses for killing. So, feeling put out, I can simply ask God to deliver everyone from evil.

Guess God's not taking calls. After all...

Peace never exists.

There were wars all the way through the Pax Romana, Pax Brittanica, and Pax Americana, whether your history book mentions them or not. If you think peace is at hand, you're not looking around enough.

The reason for this is simple:

Wars never end wars.

I wish they could, but they don't. We can sacrifice millions of lives to stop genocide in Germany, and it merely pops right back up in Russia and China. By the time we get rid of genocide in Russia and China, it's popped right back up in Cambodia and Bosnia and Iraq. The Rape of Nanking happens every year, like clockwork. As soon as Saddam Hussein is gone, you get to deal with Kim Jong Il.

So we're going to war. It doesn't matter whether it's over oil, a personal vendetta, missiles, ethnic cleansing, Israel, opinion polling, the United Nations, or Osama bin Laden. We're going to war yet again, and by the time Baghdad falls, there will be another war to fight, bigger bombs to drop, and more fodder for CNN and Fox News.

What's the bottom line?

The real war continues.

There are two kinds of people in this world: people who fight, and people who make peace. Unfortunately, the people in power are the ones who fight: you can't get power without fighting for it. So the people who make peace are stuck filling the nodegel, teaching elementary school, and feeding orphans in Calcutta. It's a fulfilling line of work, but it won't get you a Maserati anytime soon.

Everyone wants to invoke God to prove that they're right. The people who truly have the power to invoke God, however, don't need to say His or Her name. They carry a light of hope that people might stop killing each other someday, and then they go the way of Fred Rogers, earning a footnote in history below the warmongers.

But you know what?

In the real world, it's okay to be a footnote.

And indeed, the footnotes are the ones who achieve eternal life, because they create rather than destroy. Maybe these "God"ly men should listen to The Word before they stand poised over the button.

/me misses innocence