As a young Nebraskan growing up during the Second Sudanese Civil War, Max Felder had always questioned the violent world he lived in. “Why must bad people do bad things to other people, whether those people are good or bad?” was a question Felder struggled for years with, looking in vain for an answer. It wasn’t until the beginning of the Congo Civil War that he learned about pacifism.
To Felder’s nine-year-old mind, pacifism held all the answers to the unanswerable questions that had once plagued him. This revelation and his new ideals, which were almost completely in line with those of Mohandas Ghandi, carried him through the first years of grade school.
In fact, Felder was living the life of a pacifist before he even understood the concept of pacifism. More specifically, he was an anti-war lobbyist in his own home before he even learned how to read.
“He spent hours marching around the house in his underpants chanting ‘No war, no more,'” said Samuel Felder of his son. “My wife and I tried to wait at least a couple of years before we told him there were more people in the world just like him.”
He hated war and saw no resolution in military battles. Felder’s undying love for the Dalai Lama and his teachings gave him more hope for uncontested peace on earth. He believed, as all pacifists do, that any issue could be resolved peacefully and humanely without the perils of war.
Due to a minor boating accident involving a corkscrew and a small handful of pine nuts when he was only 16, Felder suffered from a slight case of reoccurring amnesia. Doctors told him it would pop up from time to time and that he’d forget insignificant details about his life, like his name and his perpetual fascination with the Dalai Lama. With that in mind, Felder gave himself a present on his 18th birthday so he would be constantly reminded, “that I didn’t like war.”
It was a tattoo of a large, pink peace sign on his left bosom, just above the heart. He knew from that point on that he would never forget his lifelong devotion to the anti-war movement.
Just days after ringing in the New Year with close friends and fellow pacifists at a small country cottage outside of Joe, Montana, Felder noticed an ad on a post office bulletin board. It was a military ad with a United States Army symbol which read: “Fight for US . . . eat well!”
An enlightening sensation filled his body. He felt light-headed and a buzzing drone filled his ears. All these years he’s been devoted to promoting peaceful reconciliation between war-torn countries, and never once had he realized he would be able to eat well in the military.
Deciding his mail could wait, Felder headed immediately to the nearest tattoo parlor. Felder repeated to himself the mantra “let go of the pink mistake” and he barely felt the pain as it was needled over in authentic United States Army camouflage. The artist added blood dripping off the curves of the pacifist symbol, which dropped into a pool of blood reading, “Peace was fun, but War’s the bomb.”
Suddenly General Peter Pace, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, meant a whole lot more to him than the Dalai Lama or Ghandi.
“Maybe killing people you don’t know isn’t such a bad thing,” said Felder about his newfound adoration for war. “I mean you don’t know them and if the army promises they’ll feed you, well it’s kind of hard to say ‘no.'”
His complete conversion happened only days after his 2008 vow to halt every single war plaguing the world we live in. “My resolution still stands,” said Felder, days after registering for the military. “I’m just going to have to stop the wars with more war. I think I’ll be able to get the job done.”
“The thing is that it’s not just food,” clarified Felder, now a 130-lbs. version of G.I. Joe. “It must be good food or just lots of shitty food – the ad said that I’d eat well if I join. I say bring on the brisket.”
*Editor’s note: Max Felder will be deployed to Iraq this evening. We will follow up with Felder to see how far his conversion will stand, the evolution of his stance toward peace and war, and to find out if the food is good enough to keep him there.