Even a Pacifist Has a Place in a Fight

For The Wall Street Journal’s Future View on how young people would react if the U.S. were attacked.

While it is certainly courageous and honorable to take up arms against invaders, there are other duties we can fulfill to defend our homeland and loved ones. Yes, the brunt of the fighting is done by soldiers facing gunfire on the frontlines, but the soldiers’ bravery also demands logistical efficiency at home.

Participants practice urban combat tactics during a firearms training session in Lviv, Ukraine, April 2. (SETH HERALD/BLOOMBERG NEWS)

Exemplified by America’s wartime economy during World War II, an effective war effort requires all hands, armed or not. This is what is happening in Ukraine today. Volunteer truck drivers are essential for delivering supplies and weapons from bases to combat zones. Journalists are risking their lives to document Russian war crimes. Medical volunteers are evacuating civilians and treating the injured.

As a Buddhist attending a Quaker school, I hold the values of pacifism. In the event of war, I would stay and help the fighters in every way I can, but I myself cannot hold a gun. And that’s all right. Whatever our religious or moral stance, our country’s resistance will have a place for us. Even during war, we can contribute without compromising our personal beliefs.

Originally published at www.wsj.com on April 5, 2022.

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studying politics, philosphy, & economics + art history at Swarthmore College

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