Anonymiss in DC

{January 9, 2009}   Thoughts on War and Peace

It’s Day 2 and I’m back to my Daily Kos again, and they’ve just referred me to this editorial from the Atlanta Journal Constitution by Jay Bookman, which I really like.

If you don’t feel like reading the whole thing, basically his point is that it’s time to stop bickering about whether Israel had the right to invade Gaza, and instead, start thinking about what is to be accomplished by the continued violence– because it’s certainly not peace.

And I’d have to agree. Last time I checked, violence never created stability. Or feelings of good will.

Like “Hey, it’s totally cool that you blew up my house and killed my entire family. Let’s get a drink.”

I don’t think so.

Again, I realize I have a simplistic view of this– I’ve tried to acknowledge repeatedly that, frankly, I don’t really know much about this issue, and that I’m trying to learn more– but this article just makes sense to me.

What are we going to do in the long term about this problem? What is the responsible, reasonable way to establish peace in this world?

I just finished reading Three Cups of Tea, so I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Islamic extremism and am more convinced than ever that missiles and bombs dropped in a “war on terror” will do little to stop the breeding of hate that extremists rely on to continue their jihad.

Greg Mortenson, who’s spent years risking his life to bring schools to children in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan, argues that the key to stopping the cycle of hate and violence is education. (See more on his work here, here, and here— and check out Three Cups of Tea.)

And I know there are lots of people out there who would roll their eyes and scream at me that these people would kill me without a second thought, and that the only language these people understand is death, and blah blah blah…

But I’m not really saying that I feel safe and that I think that if we build a bunch of schools we will all be singing Kumbayah within ten years, and I’m not trying to dismantle our DOD. But I am saying I think there is something to that argument in the long term.

Even Obama talks about finding Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks. And while I certainly wouldn’t be upset if we got him, really, what good does it do to find and kill one man?

When we drop bombs, we destory homes, livelihoods, and dreams. We leave people desperate.  Poor and/or orphaned children are lured into fundamentalist madrassas preaching hate against the West and getting sucked into terror cells, and we just drop more bombs. What do you want people to think when you destroy everything– however little– that they have and ignore the wreckage? (Get this: Since 2002— that’s 7 years?– we’ve spent 11 billion on non-military development in Afghanistan. That’s pretty pitiful when you consider we spend 36 billion annually on military operations there. More about that in another good article here.)

It’s really time for a different approach.  I don’t live in Candyland, and I don’t expect it to be perfect…but clearly we need to try something new, and clearly the time to do that is now.

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