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The pleasant anecdotes on mutual understanding and peaceful resolution of conflicts ignore an important fact: over the centuries since the Battle of Marathon there have been a series of epic struggles which no pacifist could stop and without the efforts of comparatively few people the present world would be quite different. For over 2000 years the little flame of democracy has be threatened by often overwhelming forces and in Churchill's words "on agate edges turns the world." If a Union cavalry general had not recognized the importance of holding the high ground at Gettysburg, there would have been two countries...neither strong enough to win either world war last century. A marine officer during the Viet Nam War told me something that has a Zen ring: "Peace is a delicate flower growing out of the barrel of a gun...and when everything is don't see the gun." (photo: I'm on the left with Elias Zerhouni (recent Director NIH))