For whom is this a victory?

“When soldiers return from war, they cry because they are alive.  Their parents, wives, husbands, children and friends cry for joy. But when the parades end, what do they have?  What do the wives, husbands, children, brothers, and sisters of soldiers receive when their loved ones return from war after so much fear, hatred, and killing?  Soon the war wells up from within their deepest consciousness.  Their families and the whole of society endures their pain for a long time.  For whom is this a victory?

We must look deeply into the the souls of the soldiers who have returned from war so that we can see the real suffering that war causes, not only to soldiers but to everyone.  When we train young people to kill, the damage is deep. They have known anger, frustration, and the fear of being killed.  If they survive, they bear scars for many years.  These kinds of wounds last for a long time and  are transmitted to future generations.  We cannot imagine the long-term effects of watering so many seeds of war.”

—Thich Nhat  Hanh


From: Hallock, D.  (1998).  Hell, Healing, and Resistance: Veterans Speak.  Farmington, PA:  The Plough Publishing House,  p. xi-xii.