Men, women and children have died by droves -- and countless more maimed.
War is the sadistic art of man. We have no problem, despite the pain, sacrificing ourselves for noble cause in war when the battle between good and evil is clear -- when it is too late -- when the guns and swords are drawn, when the bombs are already bursting.
But how about in the gray fog before the war begins? That's when the real fighting should begin -- the fight to preserve peace, to snuff out ignorance and hatred, to destroy war at its roots, not after it's begun, but before it's even sprouted.
And yet no matter how many resources -- human and financial -- we invest in war, we have few to spare for peace.
Efforts to build peace -- cultivate cross cultural and interfaith understanding -- are viewed by most as pleasant, yet unimportant, afterthoughts.
With a little forethought, perhaps we could see these things as they are -- the very roots of war and global chaos.
This is not a fight reserved for fables; it is a fight for the here and now -- this life that we all live.
The fight for peace is perpetual, age-old, recurring generation after generation. We know it well: good versus evil; light versus darkness; hate versus love; close-mindedness versus openness; wisdom versus ignorance.
It is a fight that is made visible to most only when it erupts in war or terrorism, but it still percolates and roils silently like molten lava beneath a dormant volcano. The forces of war are always at play beneath the surface of life.
And that creeping suspicion -- that sense of superiority, mistrust, and fear -- that is a precursor to war can only be extinguished through building understanding, respect and mutual support beyond borders and by inspiring all to appreciate that our differences of religion, race, and culture are the magic colors that add brilliance to the tapestry of life. Our diversity should be celebrated and heralded as a vital source of love, appreciation, and respect versus a gushing font of adversity, strife and fear.
With so many ills plaguing our world, how can we ever expect to solve the problems that transcend our borders when we ourselves are unable to do so?
There is no doubt that it is sometimes important to fight war, but it is far more important to fight the war before it ever begins.
Where is this force for peace? Who are its soldiers? They dressed as teachers, school principals, parents, coaches, pastors, rabbis, monks, and imams, NGO workers and civil servants. You can find them in the most unsuspected places, but the most important agent of change you'll ever find is the one who stares you back everyday when looking into the mirror.
It is not to war that we should sacrifice our lives, but to peace.