THE LAW OF WAR, AN OXYMORON

INTRODUCTION

I am totally against any American, military personnel, diplomatic corps, tourists, business persons, ANYONE, being killed, slaughtered, raped, sodomized, kidnapped, held hostage, or treated in any way less than respectfully. But it happens, and it happens with greater frequency in different eras and in different parts of the world. It can even happen on our own soil, unfortunately.

I am also against our often knee-jerk reaction to these atrocities and we, as a nation, becoming yet another mob who demands retribution and vengeance.

So what do we do? Unfortunately, we do not have good answers to that question, and when one does not have the answer, it's not helpful or wise to, out of desperation, choose a solution you know, ahead of time, will not work. If you have lived with any level of awareness for even twenty or thirty years, you will get that.

It's not about being the most powerful nation on earth. Obviously, we are not. It's not about letting them know who they are dealing with. They have already let us know more than once that they don't care who we think we are!

For me, I want us to be the SMARTEST and the most INTELLIGENT nation on earth. Perhaps also the most SOULFUL and SPIRITUAL nation on earth, a nation that lives according to revered values which include a deep respect for human beings and human life. Also a nation that is humble enough to learn from its own history.

DO WE HAVE SOMETHING ELSE TO OFFER OTHER THAN REVENGE
DO WE HAVE SOMETHING ELSE TO OFFER OTHER THAN REVENGE
LIKE US, THEY HAVE THEIR WISE MEN
LIKE US, THEY HAVE THEIR WISE MEN
THEY HAVE THEIR CHILDREN BUT PERHAPS WITH NOTHING TO DREAM ABOUT OR WISH FOR
THEY HAVE THEIR CHILDREN BUT PERHAPS WITH NOTHING TO DREAM ABOUT OR WISH FOR
IT IS TIME TO TURN TO HIGHER POWERS
IT IS TIME TO TURN TO HIGHER POWERS
THERE IS NO LIGHT IN CONTINUING TO REACT WITH VENGEANCE
THERE IS NO LIGHT IN CONTINUING TO REACT WITH VENGEANCE
THERE IS NO HEALING IN VENGEANCE
THERE IS NO HEALING IN VENGEANCE
THERE ARE NO WINNERS IN WAR
THERE ARE NO WINNERS IN WAR
CAN WE FINALLY LEAVE A DIFFERENT LEGACY FOR OUR CHILDREN?
CAN WE FINALLY LEAVE A DIFFERENT LEGACY FOR OUR CHILDREN?
THERE ARE PLENTY OF OPENINGS IN THE STORMS OF TERRORISM.  WE ONLY HAVE TO BELIEVE THEY ARE THERE AND THEN SEE THEM WHEN THEY SHOW UP
THERE ARE PLENTY OF OPENINGS IN THE STORMS OF TERRORISM. WE ONLY HAVE TO BELIEVE THEY ARE THERE AND THEN SEE THEM WHEN THEY SHOW UP
IT WOULD BE AWESOME IF EVERYONE PLAYED THE GAME ACCORDING TO THE RULES INCLUDING US
IT WOULD BE AWESOME IF EVERYONE PLAYED THE GAME ACCORDING TO THE RULES INCLUDING US
SOMETIMES IT'S JUST WATER, NOT A TSUNAMI
SOMETIMES IT'S JUST WATER, NOT A TSUNAMI
SOMETIMES IT'S JUST AS RIDICULOUS NOT TO BUDGE
SOMETIMES IT'S JUST AS RIDICULOUS NOT TO BUDGE
CAN'T IMAGINE ANOTHER FUNERAL WILL PROVE ANYTHING TO THE TERRORISTS
CAN'T IMAGINE ANOTHER FUNERAL WILL PROVE ANYTHING TO THE TERRORISTS
PERHAPS A HUMBLE EYE CAN SEE MORE THAN A CALL TO WAR
PERHAPS A HUMBLE EYE CAN SEE MORE THAN A CALL TO WAR

FIGHTING ATTROCITIES: THE CHALLENGING WAY

Yes, what happened on September 11, 2012 in Lybia is incomprehensible, incomprehensible for so many different reasons. The first being that we just recently supported the Lybian peoples being freed from the repressive control of Muammar Gaddafi, and of course, one would think they would be grateful, particularly grateful to the man, Ambassador Stevens, who is credited in orchestrating the United State’s behind-the-scenes involvement in Gaddafi’s overthrow.

But, obviously, they, or at least some of them, are not grateful, as a relatively small mob of Lybians was able to attack the consulate and commit crimes upon Ambassador Steven’s person and body. Given that it was a relatively small mob of folks, you have to wonder why Lybia’s security forces could not have intervened both quickly and effectively. I mean, after all, they overthrew their dictator, for crying out loud, how difficult could it have been to control a mob of 200 people?

The bottom line is we will continue to allow ourselves to be used by extremist countries whom we CHOOSE to help for our own purposes, and we WILL be used by these same countries for their purposes and gain. I’m not sure there is any such thing as loyalty when it comes to allying ourselves with countries who are so totally different from us in culture and ideology. The alignments are for the sake of expediency on both sides.

I am sure our government knows these realities and knows them well. I am equally sure that Ambassador Stevens was well aware that he might some day give up his life as part of his personal commitment to bring peace to this part of the world.

But you and I, the general population, we continue to be naive. We want to continue to live in a fantasy world where war is according to the “Law of War,” which is the biggest oxymoron in human history. It’s like trying to prescribe the way one sneezes or, excuse the gross analogy, the way one poops.

We also want to believe that it is okay for the U. S. to make “mistakes” in war because we are the Good Guys. Well, “those other people” think they are the Good Guys, and we are the evil infidels. They consider our “mistakes” atrocities.

Why do we have such a difficult time getting that? I mean come on, take Bully 101, for crying out loud. Watch a few old cowboy movies. Get it. We are ALL human beings with great potentials for both good and evil. We each act those potentials out in our own way. Atrocities are atrocities whether you are the good guys or the bad guys.

After you pass Bully 101, take a few more classes. “Culture Clash and War,” or perhaps “Ideology Is Thicker Than Reason Or Virtue,”“Narcissism Meets Terrorism,” and for sure, “The History Of Atrocities In War.”

War is going to involve and include atrocities. There is no way around it. War requires that those who participate surrender their civility, their innate sense of what is right and what is wrong. And once that is surrendered, all bets are off, and the history of every war will substantiate that. Yes, even our soldiers participate in atrocities. Sad, but true. Again, it’s part and parcel of war. There is no such thing as a civilized war. It is ALL uncivilized and one uncivilized act breeds another.

Inform yourself by checking out these stories, and if you think these sources are politically motivated, then do your own googling and see what you come up with. And just for good measure, watch the film, a true story, Harrison's Flowers. See Link below.

New York Times

CBS News

HBO Documentary

CBS NEWS ABU GHRAIB

WIKIPEDIA.ORG

We can go back even further in history and look at the U. S. atrocities in World War II, for example, the use of fire bombing which killed more people in Japan than the dropping of the Atomic bombs.

We can even look at the forgotten atrocity of what happened to German citizens at the end of the World War II. “In the largest episode of forced migration in history, millions of German-speaking civilians were sent to Germany from Czechoslovakia and other European countries after World War II by order of the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union," costing conservatively the lives of 500,000 people, mostly women, senior citizens, and children under 16."

If you are outraged by what happened in Lybia, please consider becoming equally outraged by what happens every day in every war and be outraged enough to stop sacrificing our sons and daughters to the gods of war whom most nations continue to worship, sometimes in the guise of freedom, but with the clear underlying agendas of economic and territorial prowess.

Retribution and vengeance are not effective means of stopping violence and terrorism and not at all effective in even beginning to resolve the conflicts involved in these on-going ethnic, cultural and ideological wars that have roots burrowing deeply into thousands of years of history, perhaps all the way back to our beginnings.

There is an old saying about fighting fire with fire. But any intelligent person knows that the use of fire to fight fire has very restrictive limitations and often has the complete opposite results.

The resolution of our conflicts with countries in the Mid East has to begin with our dereligionizing the conflict. We just recreate the Crusades when we see ourselves fighting a holy war. So, as Americans, let’s stop our part of the insanity by NOT identifying this war as a holy war against infidels.

Perhaps we are not aware or maybe we forget that there is a large segment of our American family who are Muslim. What are we, as non-Muslims, doing to enter into a dialogue with our Muslim family? And why do you react so strongly to my use of the term family? Did you know there are plenty of American Muslims in the military, and many of them have given their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan? Maybe in connecting with all of our American family, we can learn, maybe even a tiny something, about connecting with groups of people thousands of miles away from us, who, for whatever reason, see us as the enemy. Maybe we can learn what it will take not to see them as the enemy.

You know it is an interesting fact that the people who lived on the island where Christopher Columbus landed, could not see his ships that were anchored in the harbor. They had no mental model of such a thing as a ship that could traverse an ocean. They only saw the ships after the medicine man gave them permission to see the ships.

Hey, even in very recent history, Catholics, for example, refused to eat meat on Friday because they thought they would go to hell if they did. Come on, how naive is that? It took the Pope saying, “Yes, eat meat on Friday....Fish is the food of the rich and sinners.” Yes, the last part is a silly joke. Laugh!

So yes, all of us have Medicine People we look up to and believe and follow. Often these people are bestowed authority that rests beyond politics and religion, although obviously many of them are political and religious leaders. Sometimes, these folks are elders, Great Grandmother or Great Grandfather.

So perhaps the way in to the Middle East is for us to get beyond both politics and religion, to reach the folks who really have power and the ones the people do follow. And perhaps, in our dialogue with our Muslim American Family, we can find out who those folks might be, and begin another kind of “action.”

I was never convinced that Osama Bin Laden was the person we thought he was. Obviously, he was powerful. But I think he was more of a figure for the Middle Eastern world to rally around. I think the real charismatic leaders are the tribal leaders, the medicine men, the Imams.

I know some or many of you will be offended if I make this comparison, but in our own country, I am not sure that our presidential candidates are always charismatic leaders, but those who are charismatic leaders in our lives, whether it's Grandfather, our boss, our priest, our best friend who we consider smarter or perhaps richer than we are, these are the people that "tell us " how to vote or influence our choice. I don’t think that Americans in general really know anything about the candidates or the incumbent nor the details of what they have accomplished or not or what they can in reality do for us if they are voted in. We tend to vote for a face and some sound bites. Sometimes, the people who influence us the most are the people we least suspect, but nevertheless the folks we give the power to influence us.

I want to conclude by restating a paragraph from the introduction. For me, I want us to be the SMARTEST and the most INTELLIGENT nation on earth. Perhaps also the most SOULFUL and SPIRITUAL nation on earth, a nation that lives according to revered values which include a deep respect for human beings and human life. Also a nation that is humble enough to learn from its own history.

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Comments 6 comments

Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

"We also want to believe that it is okay for the U. S. to make “mistakes” in war because we are the Good Guys. Well, “those other people” think they are the Good Guys, and we are the evil infidels. They consider our “mistakes” atrocities." - Very nice! I love that You can distance yourself enough from circumstances, that You can see an argument from two different sides. Seeing things from different perspectives is critical in my opinion (for many reasons): "the truth is rarely pure and never simple" - Oscar Wilde.

"Why do we have such a difficult time getting that? I mean come on, take Bully 101, for crying out loud." - Yes, I agree (lol)!! It's as if most people are wearing horse blinders and they can only see in one direction ... I think many people just do not have the critical thinking ability. We should try to improve the education system, in my opinion.

"one uncivilized act breeds another" - Just last night, I was watching the news and it was reported how NATO dropped a bomb (or some bombs) on a group of women and children in Afghanistan, who were collecting fire-wood. NATO apologized but once You have already killed innocent civilians (and have been doing so for quite a while), what would one expect from the Taliban (except more violence and hatred)? Those nine women and children had families and I am sure these murders will make some of them take-up arms against the western forces, if they did not do that already.

"I think the real charismatic leaders are the tribal leaders, the medicine men, the Imams." - Wow! You are the first person whom I have met on this website, who expressed clear wisdom regarding this subject. I am happy to see that some people can still think. Yes, indeed the leaders are the elders in the tribes. Osama was more like the mascot at a football game ... the one in charge is the coach though, not the mascot but people get confused because it's the mascot they see most clearly/easily.

What a refreshing piece of writing! Thank You for putting it together and for explaining things so well.

Cheers!


Justsilvie 4 years ago

Vern, one of your best among many. You have such a logical mind and just pure common sense which seems to be lost in action these days. I hope life is treating you well! Hugs!


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 4 years ago from Yucaipa, California Author

Thanks, Mr. Happy for reading and commenting. I am "thrilled" that you find it refreshing and so clear. I work really hard in my day to day life to "remain" grown up and not to regress to the two year old throwing a tantrum! War has been an on-going topic for me, and for whatever reason, NO ONE ever seems to listen to the Vets returning home, even going back to every war we have been in, and unfortunately, mainly because they do NOT talk about it. But when they do, it is pretty clear, they live in deep deep deep emotional distress and if they are lucky enough to distance themselves from it, they end up distancing themselves emotionally from just about everything including the people they love. In my mind, if something is so so so so awful that it emotionally cripples a soldier, not to mention the physical cripplings, there is NO way there can be any so-called "good" in the endeavor. It is not a necessary evil, just plain evil!! And the alternatives to war? Well, I mentioned one above, and I also try to remember Lao Tsu's comment, "The wise men is quiet!" which I do not practice here on Hubpages! I like your image of the mascot. I have been searching for that image for a very long long time!

THANKS AGAIN

Vern


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 4 years ago from Yucaipa, California Author

Hi Sylvia

Great to hear from you again. I am doing well. I don't know if I thanked you before, but thanks for liking my Facebook From the frying pan....page. I tried to like your page, but I could not figure out how to do that. There was no like button or at least I could not find it!

Well, thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate it very much. This topic is very dear to my heart and whatever I can to get people to rethink war, I want to do. It is so senseless to me, so archaic, and so beneath our intelligence and capabilities. Not to mention how devastating to our sons and daughters who we continue to sacrifice without much thought unfortunately. We tend to be proud of them for their sacrifice, but don't give much thought to our part of the sacrifice and that we could stop it.

Hope all is well with you as well.


Freeway Flyer profile image

Freeway Flyer 4 years ago

The only guarantee with wars is that there are going to be significant costs. What you don't know is whether or not there will be any benefits. So when in doubt, it is best to find a better way. Unfortunately, lashing out violently has a way of convincing people that meaningful action is being taken. So maybe fighting violence with more violence is programmed into our DNA. But the fact that the world is filled with people calling for peace, and the majority of us get through our daily lives without committing atrocities, indicates that we might have the capacity to overcome our DNA.


vrbmft profile image

vrbmft 4 years ago from Yucaipa, California Author

Hi Freeway Flyer

You know there is a ??not sure what it is. A concept, an idea based upon evidence? Anywho, it is called genetic threshold, and when,for example, a behavior, occurs a certain number of times, there is some evidence to indicate that "it" somehow gets into our genetic code. Perhaps some explanation for how things like alcoholism seem to have a genetic link or an observation like "you get so angry just like....."

So maybe our knee jerk reactions to respond vengefully with violence has gradually, over the zillions of years, become a part of who we are. I know I walk a definite line especially when coming out of my office late at night. The line between defending myself and doing that well and being a peaceful person who does not see violence as EVER a solution to conflict. I haven't figured it out yet, the line, the balance. I only know I used to not be willing to defend myself, but now I am, and making that shift has, ironically, made me a more peaceful person. A wonderful book. Forgot to post it. The Four Agreements. I think it is rule number three: Don't take things personally. In Wayne Dyer's book, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, he refers to it as Rule #6 and when asked what the other five rules are, the answer is there aren't any!!

ANYWHO, thanks for stopping by and reading and commenting.

Thank you very much.

Vern

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