Does War Work?

We have World Wars, Wars on Poverty, Wars on Drugs, Wars on Aids, and Wars on Terrorism. None of them accomplish what they claim to want. We’ve even had a “War to End All Wars” but it didn’t.

We declared a “War on Poverty” in America in the 60’s and poverty is as widespread as ever. We’ve been waging a “War on Drugs” for years here in our country and the problem continues to grow. We began a “War on Terrorism” a few years ago and terrorism has grown exponentially since. We have wars against Aids, Cancer, and many other diseases and they’re not working.

When will we learn that war is a fear based response to life that simply doesn’t work? We apply adjectives like Civil to wars and don’t seem to notice the joke. War is anything but civil. Many in the war on Aids in Africa and India talk of sacrificing this generation in order to save the next. It makes no sense to me. How can we sacrifice a generation and why do we think like this? Am I crazy for thinking that sacrificing a generation sets up the next generation for failure and rage? What has happened to us? Where is our compassion for the addicted, the sick, and the poor?

I heard a very smart man say, a number of years ago, that social engineering is most often preceded by verbal engineering. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that we need some serious social engineering if we are to survive. I believe also that this social engineering could be initiated by verbal engineering around the word WAR! What if we began to think of “Facing poverty, drugs, disease and, yes, terrorism with Compassion”? Would we begin to see the other side? Could we eventually understand that this is a small boat and that we’re all in it together?

I’ve found that I have almost never been able to dislike any person when I’ve taken the time to engage that person in conversation. This amazes me because I very often make judgments about people before I have any contact with them and those judgments are frequently harsh. This isn’t something I’m proud of; it’s just a defense mechanism I developed in my youth during times when I felt threatened. Don’t our declarations of “War on ______” also come when we feel threatened? I believe that if we begin to face difficulties with the courage born of compassion we will begin to nurture ourselves and our planet.

I love the freedoms guaranteed me by our Constitution. These freedoms are the birth right of every person on Earth and I want every person to be able to partake of them. I know that it’s possible for us to change from enforcers to beacons. I know that I am only one person and that I can’t do much. But I can try to follow the great thought of Gandhi which says “Be the change you want to see in the world”. I commit to becoming more compassionate in all I do believing that this small effort will help me and others to see life in a different light, a light of peace and love and understanding.

Posted May 10, 2007

5 Comments

World peace seems so easy, and so obvious, a caveman should be able to bring it about. Unfortunately, as a global species we’ve progressed little in this area since our days in the caves!

As long as we want to change the world from a position of the winner, we will lose!

Agression naturally elicits more aggression. Stopping the cycle requires unilateral disarmament, and few have the faith and fortitude to initiate, let alone follow-through on, such a superficially foolish strategy.

There is some darkness in human hearts that comes out as war, yet the majority doesn’t want war even as wars continue. Perhaps because the U.S. was born in a successful war of separation, Americans are more pro war. I’ve always been a dove. As I grow older I don’t give my energy to hating anyone. Whenever Bush talks about the “enermy” something in me rejects it. I’ve clearly seen the pain that wars within my extended family has caused to individuals and that makes me more willing to be peacemaker.

i still war with myself more often than I would like. It seems to be the only war that gets results.

Michael said it well. Peace is a bitch, but it is the only bitch that will work if we want to survive.

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