Thursday, January 12, 2006

Hate Feeds The Monster

There's an article by Michael Schwartz on the way the war in Iraq is being waged and how thousands of innocent Iraqis are being killed not just by suicide bombers, but by American troops.

I remember the war in Vietnam. I remember a girlfriend of mine and her older brother who had enlisted. He came back on leave and the look in his eyes had changed. He had seen things and knew things that put him in deep conflict. He told her: "What they tell you is happening on the news here in the U.S. isn't true. That's not what's happening. That's not the way it is."

My sense is it's the same today, with the war in Iraq. Iraqis are caught in the middle, being killed by both sides; by our troops and by suicide bombers, but our media only reports what the suicide bombers do.

Many who read the article linked above left comments. A few expressed hate for "them," those in our administration who orchestrated this war. A couple expressed outraged hate against the troops, saying that "just following orders" is not an excuse.

Such anger can be valuable and can energize us to action. It is far better to tap into constructive anger than to feel overwhelmed and wallow in depression and apathy. Depression is anger turned against the self, anger you don't really feel you have a right to have.

Depression can be the result of teachings that tell us anger is always bad or we don't have a right to be angry.

Make no mistake, when we see injustice and we have searched our souls to be certain we are perceiving correctly, we have a right to feel angry about it. That's the first step toward constructive action, action that can make a positive difference in this world.

But, while I would encourage righteous anger against unjust policies that lead to positive action geared toward alleviating suffering, I must warn against hate for the people who created and implement the unjust policies.

We all make a choice, every day, to hate or forgive. It isn't just soldiers making decisions that affect other people's lives. We all make important decisions every day on what corporations to support through our purchasing power, whether to send a letter to a representative, whether to give to a charity or to a homeless person on the street, whether to give a smile or a hand or just look the other away.

When we feel confident, we give.

When we fear, we hold on, we withhold, we ignore or we hate. But it all come down to the same thing. We create a cold, unfeeling world.

There are people who blame the soldiers for the slaughter in Iraq and say they are the ones who are behaving like barbarians. Some hate the soldiers.

But put yourself in the position of the soldier facing death and it becomes easy to hate and kill everyone in your path "in case" he or she means you harm, as prevention. Iraq is, perhaps, the most dangerous place on earth right now. Each soldier is in peril in every moment.

Yet each soldier is responsible for his action. Each made the decision to answer the call, to enlist, to carry the gun and to use it. The alternatives were, for most, poverty or jail. We can second-guess them now and say they should not have enlisted, but it was not that long ago everyone was calling for blood after 9-1-1.

Plus we must remember that those in our National Guard did not enlist. They never thought they would be involved in this debacle and face a choice of going to an unjust war or going to jail. We must hope those who survive will have learned something profound about personal responsibility and morality that they will teach us in the future.

Yet whether you are angry at the Administration or at the soldiers themselves, be aware that anger can energize us in a positive way, but hate does not. Hate makes us one with all other haters.

Make no mistake that the rich and powerful who wanted this war, who are waging economic war on "average" Americans, see people as expendable to their own financial and intellectual goals. And they believe accomplishing those goals will allow them maximum control over their own lives.

They hate, the soldiers hate, suicide bombers hate.

Shall we, who see the injustice of it all and our own complicity now hate too?

For hate begets hate.

Saying "f---" the people who brought us this war is understandable. It's frightening being caught up in a war and in events that seem so much bigger than we are and seem so unjust and out of control.

Each of us must speak his or her truth, yes.

But be aware that everything - and every conflict we see today in our country and in the world at large - is a reflection of our own inner conflicts and chaos.

Call it psychobabble, but the Dalai Lama has it right when he calls for people to calm the storm inside themselves.

Calm the storm and take action, not out of hate and fear of what's wrong or unjust, but out of fearlessness and love for what's right.

It may sound like splitting hairs, but our intentions will make the difference between our success in turning our country around and our failure.

The adage that you can't fight fire with fire has an exception. The suicide bombers are following that course. Our soldiers are following that course. Are any of them winning? You tell me.

For the rest of us, we must make peace in our own selves if we are going to create the world we want to see.

In Christianity we have the example of Christ. He did not hate, he did not fight to protect himself. He fed the poor, healed the sick, put himself in danger and accepted the consequences of doing what's right.

Being a Christian is more than talk.

Being a true Christian means calming the chaos inside yourself that is reflected in the outer world.

Being a true Christian means doing good works within one's personal limits, whatever they are.

Being a Christian means difficult choices and, most likely, taking a road that others will scoff at, for it is the road of peace, service and forgiveness.

Let us all pray for the strength to walk this road.

Out of the strong came forth sweetness. Judges 14:14

Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed." 2 Chronicles 32:7

When I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10


At 1/21/2006 9:22 PM, Blogger max west said...

Iraq war will cost between 1 to 2 Trillion Dollars.

We could have gone to mars, inspired and challenged the world and reaped a century of technological benefits.

We could have fed all the starving people of the world.

We could have defeated AIDs removing immense suffering from the human race.

We could have given the best educations and maybe even a college education to all of our children.

Instead we will have another legacy of violence and probably defeat, with mistrust among our allies and hatred from our enemies.

Another generation of our brave young men (and now women) returning to try and live a "normal" life with the scars of war
lingering in their souls - with little real help or honor provided to them from the politicians that sent them into that hell.

Is going to war the answer to this worlds problems? Examine the real costs versus the real benefits .

Could we have done better than this? Are we playing right into the game plan of the terrorists?

Compare real life to sports. Who wins the ball game?
Isn't it the team that doesn't get "shook up" and distracted but goes in and plays "their game - their way" and wins?

What do we do best in America?

What are our real assets in the war on terrorism?

Is it our brute military and CIA force or our Christian Heritage, our freedoms and our economic and technological resources?

Here is just one example of thinking out of the "war box". Convert all our gas powered devices over to alternative fuels and resources within 5 years or less. Help our allies and all others interested to do the same. We gain vast new revenues, job opportunitys and investment capital while ultimately reducing the middle east conflicts and leftist oil rich countrys agendas into becoming "irrelevant to us" - possibly forcing them to deal with their own cultural inequities, lack of industrialization and education, their political and religious extremism, and ultimately to begin to act like real citizen nations of the world - if they don't have the oil money they dont have the means to fund and promote their radical agendas.

Just an idea . . .

Think about it.

Got any better ideas?

We need a "great" vision for the 21st Century. Something to really inspire us, our children and our future grandchildren.

At 5/07/2006 4:01 PM, Blogger Clyo said...

Max, if you ever come back - and I doubt you'll see this since it's taken me months to write a follow-up - thanks for your comment.

I agree entirely with everything you wrote. It's very frustrating.

I'm thinking maybe I'll cut and paste what you wrote here as a future blog and talk about a couple of ideas for making things better.

The reason - I think - we don't do all those things you mentioned is because too many people lack empathy - or equate empathy with weakness. There may be ways to learn empathy. We're still very primitive beings, emotionally. Anyway, coming back to your comment has given me an idea for a future blog.

Hope you are well.




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