I supported the Bush wars. Actually, his daddy’s wars too. And Clinton’s wars. In fact, I pretty much supported all of the wars.
My worldview has shifted 180 degrees over the last five years.
Since the war drums started pounding out their cadence, driving the march toward Syria, I’ve spoken openly about my opposition to intervention. I even made a photo expressing my anti-war sentiment my Facebook profile pic.
I admit; it feels a little weird. A bit uncomfortable. Kind of like putting on a shoe that doesn’t quite fit. Or maybe putting on a shoe that fits just right after spending most of my life sporting ill-fitting footwear.
Here’s the thing: supporting war isn’t hard. Rage and hate come easily. War is bellicose and powerful. In my warmongering days, I could simply ridicule opponents. Shout them down. Paint them as unpatriotic, unamerican, cowards and trample over them. They were weak. I was strong.
Peace is hard. It takes restraint and self-discipline. War fever spreads through waves of angry emotion. Just hop on and ride it. Peace requires an act of the will.
An eye for an eye? Hell yeah! I can do that!
Love your enemy?
That makes me feel vulnerable, and I don’t like it.
Peace requires a give and take. It requires listening to and considering other points of view. And that means we don’t always get our way. Sometimes it even means turning the other cheek. Why bother with all of that when we can lob some missiles at the enemies of the day and force them to do things our way?
Sadly, that mindset seems to pervade in America. We are a people addicted to force and power.
We see it in the very process that leads to war. No deliberation. No debate. The president decides and off we go. We don’t bother with the constitutional process any more. That’s too much trouble. We don’t even go through the motions. We reserve deliberative debate to those pansy peaceniks. That’s for the weak.
On Wednesday, Rand Paul issued a statement.
“The United States should condemn the use of chemical weapons. We should ascertain who used the weapons and we should have an open debate in Congress over whether the situation warrants U.S. involvement. The Constitution grants the power to declare war to Congress not the President.”
Sadly. Paul’s call for deliberation and constitutional fidelity seems radical in this day and age.
Or maybe just quaint.
In all that time I argued for war, I never really stopped to think about what I was supporting. It was all geopolitical theory and “American Exceptionalism.” It was all about “our national interests” and spreading democracy. I never really stopped to think about the fact that those missiles, tanks and fighter jets I was cheering were raining death and destruction on other people – flesh and blood human beings.
What’s so exceptional about that?
If the Assad regime used chemical weapons (and that remains questionable), nobody will argue it was a horrible act. But do we really think we will make the world a better place at the tip of a Tomahawk missile? Consider the logic: Syrians killed Syrians, therefore we should kill Syrians.
I’m not a pacifist. I recognize a time to fight exists. We have every right to defend ourselves. But most of the time, we need to mind our own business. Our intervention makes situations worse. Just look at the latest news in Iraq.
We will never bomb the world into a better place.
Something to consider – if we still bothered to take the time to consider things.