On my Birthday (December 1, 2007), I wrote on this blog that what I wanted for my birthday was peace. Of course, I know this is a totally unrealistic wish given the climate of fear mongering and war posturing in Washington DC.
Then, later in the blog, I revised my wish to know:
"When do we win? What does winning even mean? Instead of the plowshares thing, the answers to those questions is REALLY what I want for my birthday."
25 days later, the day we Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus the Prince of Peace, to my frustration, those answers are no closer.
I have always found it extremely ironic that some of the ones who should be teaching about Jesus' desire for peace, and his numerous teachings on peace, and his rebuking of his disciples when they wanted to stupidly use violence are those who are the staunchest in keeping perpetual war as the status quo. They are also the staunchest in buying into the worldly power of the US and completely disregarding their purported belief that God is in charge.
Of course THEY will tell you that what we are doing is divinely ordained, and that God is using the US as an instrument to bring his will to the Middle East. And, in a lot of their opinions, George W. Bush has PERSONALLY been talked to by God and shown that this is the proper course of action. They regard as an "Inconvenient Truth" the death, mayhem and destruction caused by multiple wars wrought by the US. Certainly God wants some to die for the greater glory.
And, taking military action against Iran will further the "mission" of glory.
I realize it sounds horrible and deeply twisted, but this is the belief some of them hold. Their leaders hold it, they preach it (and of course "support" it with cherry picked verses from the Bible), and it sounds good to the followers.
And then they think "hey, since those folks over there aren't Christian it doesn't really matter what happens to them - but I sure hope they watch the 700 Club on Arab TV channels that we are broadcasting on and are "saved" before they die. I'd sure feel bad if they weren't".
We are always told by those in charge, that this is a glorious cause, and that we are a "country at war". We need to disabuse ourselves of this notion. We are NOT a country at war. Now, a thin slice of the population repeatedly sent to combat zones and their families and friends are at war, but not the rest of us.
For a reminder of what this is doing to our military, here is a Christmas present from me to you (from the Center for American Progress):
Look at the statistics. To me, they are an early warning. Kind of like when you are driving your car and you have that little hitch or hesitation when it tries to shift gears - that little hitch could always be the indication that your transmission is about to implode.
Here's a little piece about how we support our troops that will warm your heart on this Christmas holiday:
This young man (with two tours of duty in Iraq) came home for the joyous birth of his baby. The baby becomes ill, and the Army claims that they need him more than his family does. Now, because of this, he is "rethinking a career in the military." (along with everyone else who knows him or knows his situation).
I think what bothers me the most about this is that these young men (and women) are being asked to give and give and give and give. The country (or more appropriately our "leadership" in Washington) continues to take and take and take and take. And in between those two poles, there is never a clear articulation as to what the mission is now, or when it will be over and they can say that they've won, or even what they are really fighting for there.
The most accepted version by the fear mongers in Washington and most of the Presidential candidates is "because there are Islamic (or if you wish, the nonsensical, made up, meaningless word Islamofacists) extremists who want to kill us and destroy our freedom and way of life".
That (Islamic extremism) will never end (especially, paradoxically while we are still invading and occupying Muslim countries), and, that is NOT an existential threat to our country. No matter how much the fevered delusion of those who support this idea try to convince you, it is simply not true.
Can they do damage to this country? Of course. Can they "end our way of life"?
Do you think these "sound bite" platitudes are good enough explanation for Gabriel Douglas William's father (and thousands of other fathers) being away from their families in perpetuity and constantly in danger?
I think they (our leaders) have to do better than that. They never have.
Oh, and by the way, only WE can end our way of life. This can happen by curbing freedoms here at home and overextending ourselves abroad.
Wake up on this Christmas day and understand that perpetual war, occupation and killing will NOT lead to the peace that Jesus taught about.