Dear Enemy

By Frank Goetz

Dear Enemy,

Are you surprised by my salutation?  Please let me explain.

I know that you and I are at war with each other.  As such we shouldn’t really be talking lest someone accuses us of aiding and abetting the other.  God forbid.

Because at some point my superiors may command me to take you out – I don’t like to use the kill word.  I’m sure you, being well up the line of command, are in a similar position.

But I was thinking you just may be a lot like me.  I know we speak different languages and live on opposite sides of the world.  But we both have great love for our country and will do almost anything, even kill if necessary, if we are ordered to do so.  We both have loving families who want us safely at home as soon as possible.  And you know, neither of us is that different from our military and civilian compatriots in this conflict.  We are directing all available resources to defeating each other rather than rationally resolving our differences.

What are the chances for you and me to become friends?  I guess it would take a miracle.  As long as the war persists we must do what we are ordered to do or be accused of betraying our country as well as those who fight beside us.

The miracle would be ending the war.  Your commander in chief and mine would have to agree with it.  Just two people!  However, we know that since both of our counties are heavily invested in war it would take tremendous courage for these two to change the course of history and call a truce.  I know, dear enemy, that you think this is impossible so let me show you the way.

The world’s best kept secret is that your country and mine are signers to the Kellogg-Briand Pact.  Our constitutions elevate such ratified treaties to the supreme law of the land and they have outlawed war.  This same treaty which both of our governments have ratified outlaws even using the threat of war as an instrument of policy.  All we have to do is educate the public.  When enough of us – perhaps hundreds or thousands or millions – demand accountability of our leaders for conformance to this law against war they will either comply or face the International Criminal Court.

And so, dear enemy, encourage your people as I encourage mine to enter the Fourth Annual Peace Essay Contest.  The rules are attached.  Through this simple device each of us, young and old, can quickly learn about the law, think of creative ways to solve conflicts nonviolently and write an essay that might inspire someone in authority to take one small step.  Enough such small steps will one day lead to one giant leap for mankind: the abolition of war.  Then, dear enemy, you are my friend.


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