Commentary on Pollard: Warfare Fitness Enhancement or Losing Strategy: A Bioscience Ethics Perspective

- A.K.Tharien, M.D.
Christian Fellowship Hospital
Oddanchatram, Tamil Nadu 624 619, INDIA
Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 9 (1999), 54.

Through this paper Irina Pollard makes a well thought out analysis of the ethics of post modern civilization that shows that humankind is racing in futility for material gains and supremacy while neglecting human values and the issue of ecology.

The author highlights the huge investment made in the armament race. More than one fourth of the national budgets are assigned for defence. Over 20% of the world's scientific man power is engaged in military and related pursuits. Annual global military expenditure has exceeded spending in health care by 28 per cent. This becomes glaringly more tragic in developing countries, where the basic human needs like food, education, health and shelter are still given low priority.

The worlds nuclear arsenal has enough stock to destroy the entire planet over 200 times. With the development of DNA technology there is another potential danger for developing biological weapons for future warfare. This is easily accessible to all as it is low cost and will not need much technical skill.

One of the consequences of ethnic violence is the mass migration of refugees to an entirely new environment. Since 1990 displaced persons are estimated to exceed 42 million. Half of these are children.

If all the resources and energy now spent on the destructive armament race was diverted to constructive and human development programmes, we can eradicate poverty and ill health a great deal from the face of the world.

Dr. Pollard mentioned that humankind is not the centre of our shared universe, but stands there as an integral part of nature's biodiversity. I do not fully subscribe to this view as humans are considered as the crown of creation and have the stewardship role for maintaining a harmonious future. Humanity can control our own destiny and that of the rest of the creation by the line we choose to venture.

It must be added that we have to tackle somehow the root cause that contributes to war and violence with a totally unjust distribution of the limited resources and the widening gap between haves and have nots thrusting huge sections of the population to poverty, hunger, and premature death. It would be hard to speak convincingly about the threat to survival of generations yet to be born. The whole creation has to swim together, otherwise we will sink together.

The question remains as to how to motive human beings especially in the face of global threat of poverty, large scale dislocation of people, population explosion etc. People seem to have lost the meaning and purpose of life. Education as a dynamic foundation may be the only clue and also renewal of religious values to form a stable frame of reference for a holistic approach to life, may in the final analysis, be the only escape route left to humanity. We need recognition of the value of LOVE as the mighty force that if allowed to enter into all aspects of life that can save humankind from the threatening disasters.

Go to commentary by F.J. Leavitt
Go back to EJAIB 9(2) March 1999
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