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Learned lesson favors peace

I have written pieces about the futility of war before, and I was pleased to see, "A Canadian's view" in the June 8 issue of the Duluth News Tribune.

He ended his piece with words spoken by President Franklin Roosevelt, my first American president whom I remember fondly, when he spoke at Kingston, Ontario, in 1938, speaking to Canada's 150th birthday. He said about American and Canadian relations (and every word is still true):

"We as neighbors are true friends, because we maintain our own rights with frankness, because we refuse to accept the twists of secret diplomacy, because we settle our disputes by consultation," he said. "We seek to be scrupulously fair and helpful, not only in our relations with each other, but each of us at home in our relations with our own people."

He could have added, since 1812, when both countries learned a costly lesson.

Today, Canada and the United States share a lengthy border. Relations are good since the only war, 1812. It was difficult to say who winners and losers were of that relatively brief war between England and the U.S. However the American Indians were most definitely losers because they had joined the Canadian side and had little "fight" left to stop the western expansion.

But Canada, Mexico and the U.S. have maintained good relations in the newly-established borders. FDR said it best, that it would last indefinitely.

I mentioned earlier my fondness for FDR. His guidance now would help solve the decline in democracy, and expanding wealth inequality. FDR said in his economic bill of rights for Americans should contain decent work, world-class public education, affordable housing, guaranteed health care and retirement security.

Let's look at home today: According to Google statistics, our astronomical military debt keeps growing. In 2010, our military budget was around $700 billion. The total cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan exceeds $1 trillion. In those two wars more than 6,800 Americans have lost their lives and over 40,000 have been wounded. Is that the answer or should we not be working instead for peace, justice and human dignity.

I hope for my five great-granddaughters, my three grandchildren and everyone in the world that we will discover that war is not the answer and will provide needed help for those who truly need it.

I'm closing with two quotes that were published in the Nov. 11 Denver Post Edition, by Mack McVay, a Vietnam veteran now living in Golden, Colorado, whose guest commentary, dismissed war better than I can.

One, written by Ernest Hemingway, states: "Never think that war no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime."

And one by the man who saw it up close and personal, Dwight Eisenhower, and stated bluntly: "I hate war, as only a soldier who lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity."