Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Enemy is Us

From somewhere I read a story out of Mexico City reporting that "Ugly Betty"--star America Ferrera--hopes her new film will inspire Americans to address the struggles soldiers face after they come home from Iraq or Afghanistan. The 25-year-old is starring and producing "The Dry Land," which follows a young man's difficulties readapting to small town life following a tour of duty.

More recently I followed stories of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) suffered by troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. I supported peace issues and described war as a failed diplomacy. I further commented on Bob Woodward’s reporting of “TBI” stories.

Today I followed the story of an Iraq volunteer reported on earlier. An IED took him out with a brain injury. We once had no answers for such problems; today we are learning. This young veteran returned to a VA facility unprepared to care for him but our learning has progressed a long way for short-term rehabilitation.

His young wife, now mother of a two-year old, stepped up to the plate, and voluntarily assisted in hubby’s care although his parents agreed she could rightfully step away from her life with him and make a life of her own. She assisted hospital personnel in his treatment but faces an eventual lifetime of caring for him--on her own at home--without hospital assistance.

“How will she cope?” She says, “he volunteered” and like him she is volunteering for duty. While she worked with the therapists, their two-year-old has been growing up in the hospital with the staff as his family. He has shared daily with his daddy through the process of therapy but has “never seen him smile.” The son did not recognize a pre-injury picture of his own father, now barely able to roll his eyes and express minimal body movement.

Observing their lives, I pondered the next generations and how they will be dramatically influenced--responses good and bad--responses that will affect our whole social structure. These spouses and “their” children face lifetimes of “paying the price” and it dramatically influences all of us.

While some of us lived during WWII and watched and lived with similar “repercussions” suffered by veterans of that war, another generation prepares to live with a greater influx of such injuries. Medical progress enables us to better understand them, but it also leaves these younger generations a responsibility they did not seek--soldier husbands-and-wives who would have been dead in earlier wars, who now face lifelong recovery, rehabilitation, suffering, and life-long care.

I thank God Almighty for the blessed freedoms we enjoy in our great “democratic nation” (that is sometimes not as democratic as it should be). I am utterly appalled when I read books like my current volume, LOST TO THE WEST (Brownworth/ Crown Publishers/09). It is a brief historical review of the Byzantine Empire, from Constantine the Great (324-363 BC) to Constantine XI Dragases (1448-1453) and how their story affects our lives today.

It reveals a clamoring humanity in which everyone is striving to be “king of the hill”--whatever the cost. The slaughter of 30,000 soldiers--in some cases civilians--with swords, daggers, and clubs seemed as nothing at all. It well describes the savagery of humanity. I do not personally believe in creation via evolution, but I rather envy the Apes for behaving better than their human counterparts. The price we pay for war is simply not worth the price--in MOST instances.

Wars, like the current fad of sexual addiction, alcoholism, and numerous other behavioral problems come out of a deep well of moral and ethical problems. None offers any real hope of healing without a recovery of "personal" responsibility and accountability. We will never achieve peace, personally or nationally, until we become personally "accountable to God"--not to “kill the infidels” but to “love your enemy as yourself!”

Jews call non-Jews “Gentiles”; Islam calls non-believers “infidels”; the Romans called non-Romans “Barbarians”; and Americans call everybody else “foreigners.”

The biblical prophet prayed “Lord, how long shall I cry, and you will not hear! Even cry out to you of violence, and you will not save. Why do you show me iniquity and cause me to behold grievance? For spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention” (Cf. Habakkuk 1:2-3).

Will we ever learn to step up to the plate and confess that we are part of this deep and personal problem, that THE ENEMY IS US, and that WE can be PART OF THE SOLUTION???

This is Warner’s World and I am

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