"War is the greatest threat to public health." - Gino Strada, Italian war surgeon and founder of the UN-recognized Italian NGO Emergency

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Afghanistan - Peace at the Point of a Gun?

Long enough have I been dwelling among those who hate peace. I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war. (Psalm 120:6-7)

Today is the anniversary of the day (October 7, 2001) the United States, under the presidency of George W. Bush, invaded Afghanistan. It was a monumental blunder that has resulted in the loss of lives (particularly Afghan civilians and U.S. and allied soldiers), destruction of the environment, a resurgence of the Taliban, and the potential destabilization of Pakistan. Not bad for 8 years of occupation, eh???

Under a new administration we are hearing the same old party line based on the adage, "If your only tool is a hammer..." And so, the U.S. keeps trying the bigger hammer, but with unsatisfactory results. No matter what arguments the President, Pentagon and members of Congress roll out to justify increasing troop levels and increasing the use of drones and other technology, they ring hollow, just like those who speak them.

These hollow men (and a few women) who sit safely in Washington, D.C. are unable to think beyond the need to "save face", even as they condemn those they send to do their bidding, as well as the innocent afghans, to the horrors of war. As with wars past they will continue to throw good after bad, until finally one day they will be forced to withdraw in defeat (even though they will find an acceptable euphemism). The only real question is "HOW LONG???"

If history is any indicator of the folly of our actions in Afghanistan, the U.S. war there was doomed from the beginning. Afghanistan has (sooner or later) beaten its invaders and sent them off well bloodied, whether the British who from 1839 to the early 1900's tried to control Afghanistan and were defeated each time, or the Russians who were defeated after just over 9 years (Dec. 1979 to Feb. 1989) of fighting. This is surely a case where the third time is not the charm.

I suspect that those of us who will be standing in front of Federal buildings (and other places) today, speaking out against this war (and all war), will register as no more than a blip in the news. But we will do what we can to rouse our fellow citizens out of their malaise, and perhaps one day (hopefully not too far off) we will shut down the wheels of commerce with our numbers, and bring the war makers to their knees.

Let us never stop testifying that true peace is not won at the point of a gun.

Peace, Peace, Peace,


Credit: Cartoon found at http://www.brandywinepeace.com/calendar.html.

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