Making weapons is what we know how to do best, the supreme achievement of late-twentieth-century American civilization. To this blessed work we assign our finest intellect and the largest share of our treasure, and in the magnificence of an aircraft carrier or a cruise missile we find our moral and aesthetic equivalent of the Sistine ceiling and Chartres Cathedral.
Betty Williams, a 1977 Nobel Peace Prize laureate from Northern Ireland, once witnessed the bombing death of Irish children, and a little girl died in Williams's arms. The girl's legs had been severed in the explosion and thrown across the street from where the woman held the bleeding child. Williams went home in shock and despair. Later, the full impact of what she'd seen jolted her awake. She stepped outside, screaming out in the middle of the night. She knocked on doors that might easily have opened with weapons pointed at her face and cried, "What kind of people have we become that we would allow children to be killed on our streets?" Within four hours the city was awake and there were sixteen thousand names on petitions for peace.