Saturday, February 17, 2007

What if Peace Broke Out?

I recently realized that I have a story (yes, I have lots of them, even though I've written at some length about letting go of our stories so that we may more fully embrace our spirituality). This particular story says that in order to be "spiritual" I need to stay above the fray of messy human affairs such as politics. The truth is, in spite of my best efforts, I do have strongly held views on any number of issues. I just usually keep them to myself. But something happened the other day that forced me to reconsider my position. A young politician named Barack Obama, who shows more promise to galvanize this country than anyone since JFK, spoke out on his belief (which he has been clear about all along) that the Iraq war is a huge mistake, based on faulty and even downright misleading "intelligence" - and about a president who was hell-bent on going to war and "getting" Saddam. Barrack further stated that he thought that the deaths of thousands of our servicemen and women, and tens of thousands of Iraquis, has been an essentially useless waste of precious resources. He was so immediately attacked and vilified that he felt it necessary to backpedal on this issue, that somehow by telling the truth he was dissing the troops.

Why are we, as a country, so terrified of the truth? The shadow knows. I'm quite sure Barack meant no disrespect, nor do I. That's not the point. The point is that a sad, terrified man and his minions essentially stole the presidential election in 2000 and then went about imposing their fear-based perspective on an all too-compliant public. So here it is: have our troops (not to mention Iraqi civilians) died uselessly? Well, that depends on your perspective. The folks over there were slaughtering each other 1,000 years ago, and may choose to do so for another 1,000 years. It's horrible, it's tragic, I fervently wish it wasn't so. Be that as it may, what have we accomplished? Besides wasting trillions of dollars, spilling uncounted barrels of blood for oil, ruining countless lives, nothing is really going to change until the people who live, fight and die there change. When are we going to learn that we cannot impose our will, no matter how much we spend and how many lives are lost? Over 58,000 servicemen and women died in Vietnam. Now, around 3,500 in Iraq. While that's not even 10% of the body count of Vietnam, each life that's cut down is a tragedy, doubly so because it was preventable.

Ultimately, every one of us is responsible for how our country behaves in the world. We must Be the Change we wish to see in the world. The change I wish to see is an end to war! An end to standing armies and to a culture that worships violence as noble. It's not. It's legalized murder. It ruins lives, and ruins countries. If I was face-to-face with someone who has lost a loved one in this war, I could only say, "I'm so sorry for your loss. I did not vote for this administration or this war. If it had been up to me your child would still be here."

All we're doing in Iraq is training a new generation of Jihadists to hate us. If we don't put a stop to this insanity, it will be our grandchildren dying next. Are you OK with that, or are you willing to stand up and be counted as someone who chooses "to study war no more"? I urge you to contact your congressperson and your senators to vote for establishing a
Department of Peace and to vote for someone like Barack Obama in the next presidential election. If we're ever going to live in peace, we must practice peace. That does not mean that we must allow ourselves to be conquered, it simply means that we do not run around the globe starting wars. Bring the troops home now, before even more are senselessly slaughtered. It was a horrible mistake to start the war, it cannot be a mistake to end it. And just so your know, I love this country. I just love our sacred Mother Earth even more (and all of the people of the world). Check out Anna Qunidlen's latest "The Last Word" essay in Newsweek titled Tomorrow, Tomorrow for more on this perspective, which I know is shared by millions of thoughtful global citizens.

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