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Teddy Roosevelt, San Juan Hill, Cuba
"A large leniency should be observed toward the man who uses
influences only to get himself a place near the flashing of the guns."
Teddy Roosevelt



We could not do a section on war poetry without letting Li Po have a comment or two.
It is curious that men went to war, loved it, and then tried to hate it, long long ago.




By Li Po (circa 750AD

Translated from the Chinese by Shigeyoshi Obata

Last year we fought by the head-stream of the So-Kan,
This year we are fighting on the Tsung-ho road.
We have washed our armor in the waves of the Chiao-chi lake,
We have pastured our horses on Tien-shan’s snowy slopes.
The long, long war goes on ten thousand miles from home.
Our three armies are worn and grown old.

The barbarian does man-slaughter for plowing;
On his yellow sand-plains nothing has been seen but blanched skulls and bones.
Where the Chin emperor built the walls against the Tartars,
There the defenders of Han are burning beacon fires.
The beacon fires burn and never go out.
There is no end to war!—

In the battlefield men grapple each other and die;
The horses of the vanquished utter lamentable cries to heaven,
While ravens and kites peck at human entrails,
Carry them up in their flight, and hang them on the branches of dead trees.
So, men are scattered and smeared over the desert grass,
And the generals have accomplished nothing.

Oh, nefarious war! I see why arms
Were so seldom used by the benign sovereigns.

Editor: War is not normal. God created Adam and Eve to live in peace. Then, by their disobedience, Adam and Eve brought sin into the world, and sin brought death. Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

War is just one of many ways to die. But, war, more than any other way to die, is a tribute to man's failure to preserve life. All war, at least in the past 500 years or so, has been passed off in two ways to justify killing one another. First, war is claimed to be the only way left to make peace. This is the most oxymoronic thing ever dreamed up by fallen men, and the most intelligent men will buy into it eagerly. Second, war is said to be God's will. Both sides claim this, and both sides go down to the church house and pray to the same God (frequently) to give them victory.

Li Po was a wise man to be frustrated with war. Men who love war are animals. They have lost the value of life and lust to see men die. Nimrod was the first man who lusted to kill men. Genesis 10:9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.

Now, in spiritual warfare there are several parallels. If Satan had not rebelled against God, he would not be wandering the earth inciting men to live wickedly, and if man had not sinned in Eden, he too would not be lusting to ravage other men spiritually. There is a caution here. While spiritual warfare is required of us, and while Paul teaches us that we are to war a good warfare, spiritual warfare is NOT normal. It is a tribute to the wickedness that is in the heart of evil men, some of them sitting right there every Sunday in church pews. And, some are even standing behind pulpits.

Let us not make a hobby of spiritual warfare. Let us not linger on the battlefield looking for more war when there is none. Let us seek to live at peace if at all possible. Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:



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