Friday, August 28, 2015

Think Peace, Not War

In 1861, Town Line, New York seceded from the Union. They raised the Stars and Bars of the Confederacy over their local blacksmith’s shop and remained the site of the original secession for the next eighty-five years. Although the Civil War officially ended April 3, 1865, Town Line voters waited until 1946 to return to the Union, doing so at that late date in spite of the twenty-three voters still opposing the measure.

They corrected their earlier exit from the Union on January 24, 1946, but only after proving that change does not come easily, for there are always a few who would rather fight than switch. War, however, is by its very nature cruel, inhumane, wasteful and destructive. It breeds violence and anti-social behavior. Most often, wars reflect failed diplomacy, and America has never won a war that it did not finalize through diplomatic means that spelled out the victory. Such is the nature of war!
Waging war in Iraq required a strong military presence of our “peace-keepers” using aggressive hostile actions. American tax payers were spending two billion dollars a day on a war President Bush reported as “won,” although the Bush staff originally projected it would cost a mere $100-200 million (which he put on our credit card).

This “fight now, pay later” policy paid compound interest with more than four-four hundred dead Americans, plus multiplied thousands of others injured (Later figures were higher). Another 150,000 American children suffered from broken homes, having military parents in Iraq, and epidemic numbers of military families found themselves in varying stages of brokenness and divorce.

Additional collateral costs included the loss of Iraq’s national infrastructure and a citizenry that currently finds itself suffering from ongoing terrorism, a broken government, and a religious civil war, not to mention the fact that Suddam Hussain’s military forces have restructured as IS.

Before his death, Senator Ted Kennedy estimated that what we were spending for  one day in Iraq (emphasis added) would dramatically improve our homeland security in numerous ways, and he named the following:

* improve the communications gap in 40 small cities, 34 mid-sized cities, or six large cities, and            allow federal, state and local first responders to talk to each other.
* provide four million households with emergency readiness kits,
* add 4,000 additional Border Patrol Agents,
* provide 1,285 explosive trace detection portals for airport screening,
* purchase 750 fire trucks for improving local emergency response capabilities,
* employ 4,700 fire fighters, 4,000 police patrol officers, or 6,800 paramedics and                                  Emergency Medical personnel for a year,
* provide 6,000 local law enforcement agencies with bomb-detecting robots,,
* provide 9,400 port container inspection units, or provide 4,700 detectors for dangerous 
Since Iraq, we transferred our troops to Afghanistan and spent untold fortunes

Now I realize that any nation of any consequence provides some form of National Defense—a Department of Defense at minimum). I once posed the question as to why no nation had yet to establish a Peace Department as a worthy endeavor? A bit of research revealed that we do have a Peace Department, Granted, it does not have Cabinet status, but I followed its progress long enough to determine that it supported the war-oriented politics of our government.

The poet Longfellow once theorized that if we could read the secret history of our enemies, we just might find in each man’s life enough sorrow and suffering to disarm most of our hostilities, and I rather believe that. However, history traces a long vapor trail of wars and rumors of war. Hostility and violence virtually insist on a confrontational “I win you lose” mentality.

Sooner or later such thinking eliminates all hopes of peace - unless one is capable of “thinking outside the box” of normal thought patterns and converts the patriotic hubris of National selfishess into an unheard of mentality of actively waging peace.

Peace requires alternatives to war, violence, hatred and hostility. It requires high levels of optimism, faith , and the risk of trust. Peace commends reconciliation as the preferred choice between war and peace, and worth the risk. War demands spoils and it is the spoils of war that most often create the vehicle for the next war.

Peace steps backs-and-away from confrontation and offers cooperation, complementation, and conflict resolution as the preferable solution. Peace asks how can both sides profit from the conflict at hand. An example of this might well be the Iran Peace Treaty, currently suffering from political hubris from both sides of the political aisle

When Paul met Jesus on the Damascus Road, it literally transformed Paul’s life. He suddenly discovered that broken relationships can experience peace through reconciliation, and each can gain from the experience. As a result, Paul challenged audiences everywhere he went to accept God’s higher authority and value a world filled with individual people for whom Jesus died.

As Christ’s emissary, the Apostle Paul faced citizens of a global community that needed a model for building intentional friendships for the purpose of healing multitudes of broken relationships (Eph. 4:1, 7, 26; John 3:16). Peace comes by being reconciled, first to God, then to one another. God commissions us to introduce peaceful negotiations into hostile environments (2 Cor. 5:16-21).

We become his personal Ambassadors as individuals; our purpose becomes giving “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14, NIV). As we learn to relate individually, we can learn to relate as global nations.

Paul’s conclusion to the matter announced, “as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18, NIV). Minimal research reveals that Paul did not stray from the teachings of Jesus and one does not go far with Jesus before discovering that we are to love [even] our enemies and think peace, not war.

From Warner’s World, this is

No comments: