|A Final Cause: The Gulf War
Pauling’s health remained robust into his late eighties -- an effect he credited to
large doses of Vitamin C. Even at ninety years of age, his hair white and wispy under
his trademark beret, his walk slowed, his energy beginning to wane, he still spoke
vehemently against the madness of war. US activities in the Middle East, including
George H. W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, now became a target of Pauling’s antiwar ire.
"WAR IS IMMORAL" he wrote at the top of a draft letter to the first President Bush
in 1989. "As human beings, we have the duty to strive to decrease the amount of human
suffering. . . . WAR CAUSES HUMAN SUFFERING!" Whether the cause of war was oil or
politics, anti-Communism or pro-democracy, did not make much of a difference. He felt
at the end of his life the same way he felt in the middle: life is sacred, suffering
is avoidable, and war is immoral. He would never fall silent, never be intimidated,
never stop speaking, teaching, and working for what he believed to be right.