Most of the men in my life experience have at one time or another served in the military. Some of them chose it as a career. They served our country above and beyond and were recognized for their heroic service. Some while still alive, all too many posthumously.
I experienced the loss of quite a few close friends from my childhood during the Viet Nam war. My uncle Manuel served 3 tours of duty in Viet Nam and was among the few who survived to live another day, not without issues that were with him until his death a couple of years ago. My cousin Tavo is presently back from his 3rd tour in Iraq. I thank all that is that he is back home with his family in time for his daughter Sophie’s graduation, with honors, from high school. He has served for over 20 years, is a distinguished officer, a gentleman, a wonderful father and husband.
I do appreciate that where they are coming from is a place where they truly believed that it was/is in the best interest of our country to serve and protect that which so many before also served and died for. They were and are men of honor. So it is not without some difficulty that I have chosen to add my voice and openly express my aversion to this war, to any war.
This is not about or against those that serve. It is possible to hold two opposing views simultaneously. This is about war. And how war never leads to true peace. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace It can lead to the cessation of conflict in the present, which is a form of peace, but war creates more hardship than resolution. A hardship that takes years to overcome, sometimes lifetimes.
True peace is when all in conflict can resolve to war no more. When each side respects the others right to an opposing point of view. It is only when ‘I’m right and your wrong’ that war can gain a foothold. The sad note here is that that is what I am about to do. Our government is wrong to continue the conflict in Iraq in the name of democracy when it’s democratic populace is vehemently opposed to our being there in the first place. So perhaps it is not so much the saying of “I’m right, your wrong’ as it is about bringing to the attention that there are other ways to resolve misunderstandings and conflict.
Now, I am no authority on all of the in’s and outs, how’s, whys and who’s. What I am is one person who is listening to all the voices speak and the overwhelming din is we were wrong to go into Iraq in the first place.
Forget that the world may or not be better with Sadam gone. I personally do not believe we are ever better at the expense of another. He was but one voice, and not that loud a voice to begin with. He had nothing to do with the bombing of the TWTC. He may have wished he had that under his belt but wishing is something we all do. Not a crime. It was not our job or responsibility to free the Iraqi’s. They did not ask for our help. Perhaps we could have shared information, shown them another way, offer to assist them to help themselves in preventing Saddam from continuing the atrocities against his own people. But not to do their responsibility for them. You know the saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
The question now begs, how do we reconcile that myself along with so many others in this country disagree with our governments involvement in Iraq? Well another saying comes to mind, “He who stands for nothing will fall for everything.” With that said I stand for getting our brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, uncles and aunts, fathers and mothers back to the good ole USA.
There is plenty of work that needs getting done right here. And as the above billboard and the counter clearly depicts, there is much money that can be redirected to stimulate our economy. So, if employment is a concern, train our troops to pass on what they have learned about dedication, discipline, honor, hard work, getting down in the trenches. Re task our forces into rebuilding communities in need. Planting gardens, send them to school, teach them about the environment and stimulate their inner creativity to coming up with ways to cut the umbilical cord to petroleum, harnessing the power of the sun for heating and cooling, how to collect water, not waste it, mentor children in need. What better way to serve than by being a guide, an example of all that we can truly be?
This country has never been want for volunteers to serve when the call was put forth based on deliberate attacks against our best interests. That has not changed. What has changed are the causes we are choosing to take our troops out to meet.
Today with our global communication networks no longer can we sit by and, “…fall for everything.” It is not enough to know about a thing. When we know that injustices are being perpetrated we must stand up and be counted even against our own country. Our constitution grants us that right and it is our obligation to do so.
So, how do we go about this? There is so much going on, where to begin? Well, a good first step is to take off the blinders and find out what’s happening in your neighborhood. Get involved. Meet your neighbors. It’s a start. We can also visit web sites that are already set up to offer opportuneties to explore. One such organization is The Carter Center
A Peace Organization making Peace Around the World – Carter Center Peace Programs – CarterCenter.org
Then let that energy take you into your community, your state, your country. Get out and vote. It does count. Not quite the same as if it were one person, one vote but it does carry some weight until we can come up with a more equatable solution.
Lets continue to let our soldiers know just how much they are appreciated. I for one am grateful that I have this freedom to write my thoughts. I do have to qualify that just said and add here that I will not advocate, promote, encourage or support any efforts to wage war. My stand is now as Mahatama Ghandi once put it, “There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for.” Peace, Love, Flan