From: George Moles, Stockleigh Road, St Leonards
Richard Stevens, speaking on behalf of the Royal British Legion, is dismissive of what he calls “unrealistic pacifist utterances”, but we much ignored and disparaged pacifists are proud idealists.
I would ask your readers to consider dispassionately the substantial theoretical and pragmatic case against war.
The pacifist focuses on the fundamental, underlying question whether it can ever be right to kill one’s fellow human beings in war.
All men are brothers and have the right to live. Human life is sacred and, at the risk of sounding controversial, war is no exception to the holy commandment “Thou shalt not kill.”
No offence against a human being is more heinous than murder.
The pacifist accepts that, as a last resort, an individual can kill in self-defence, but argues that it is a fallacy to extend this principle to the completely different, artificial, state-created situation in which whole nations are pitted against each other in war.
With regard to the practicality of pacifism, it is an obvious, but profound, truism, albeit a sad reflection on the aggressive element in human nature and our present benighted, misguided generation of politicians, that only non-violent statesmen in the mould of Gandhi can realistically bring us peace.
Far from leading to peace, war is likely to make things ten times worse – just look at Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.
Finally, I would like to reassure Mr Stevens that the pacifist does not deny the bravery of soldiers in facing death in war, but believes that their energies are misdirected.