Opinion: No one truly wins in matters of war
I have a sign in my front yard that says, “War is not the answer!” It was made by the Friends Committee on National Legislation.
A few years ago, one of my neighbors asked me, “What is the question?” I think I answered his question with this question. “How do different countries respond to each other when they don’t get what they want?”
I have many questions: How do we share the world’s resources? How do we communicate with each other? How do we feel safe and protected? How do we respond to violence? How do we respond to fear?
I think war is a trickster. Those in power believe that war will get rid of evil.
Late Thursday, Nov. 12, the United States carried out a drone strike in Raqqa, Syria. Its intention was to assassinate Mohammed Emwazi. On Friday during the day, I heard on the radio an Army spokesman stating, “Killing him is probably making the world a little bit better place.”
I cringed when I heard that.
By the time Friday, Nov. 13, ended, the world watched Paris reel from the effect of attacks on its citizens. I read in headlines that the actions were barbaric. Is killing someone using drones less barbaric?
On Nov. 20, four Air Force veterans spoke on “Democracy Now!” These four men have 20 years of drone warfare experience between them. They decided to reveal what it was like being drone operators. A documentary film has been made. It is called “Drone.” These four men wrote an open letter to President Obama. “We came to the realization that the innocent civilians we were killing only fueled the feelings of hatred that ignited terrorism and groups like ISIS. The drone program is one of the most devastating driving forces for terrorism and destabilization around the world.”
Two more questions: How many drone bases does the United States have in Africa and in the Middle East? Who is next on the assassination list?
Some other people have something to say about war.
In 1903, Leo Tolstoy wrote a story, “Esarshaddon, King of Assyria.” In the story, King Esarshaddon is visited by an old man who helps the king understand what it is like to be in the skin of the other king he has conquered and of the animals that are killed. The old man tells King Esarshaddon, “You thought life dwelt in you alone, but I have drawn aside the veil of delusion and have let you see that by doing evil to others, you have done it to yourself also. … You can only improve life in yourself by destroying the barriers that divide your life from that of others, and by considering others as yourself, and loving them.”
Pope Francis recently gave a sermon describing our celebration of Christmas as a “charade.” “The world continues to go to war. The world has not chosen a peaceful path. … We should ask for the grace to weep for this world, which does not recognize the path to peace, to weep for those who live for war and have the cynicism to deny it. … God weeps. Jesus weeps.”
The Dalai Lama recently responded to this question. “Why didn’t you fight back against the Chinese?” “Well, war is obsolete, you know. Of course, the mind can rationalize fighting back … but the heart, the heart would never understand. Then you would be divided in yourself, the heart and the mind, and the war would be inside you.”
We are interconnected. And may our hearts and minds awaken.
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