I personally cringed when I heard a young military man give an interview about the first days of the war in Iraq. He described how they welcomed our troops as heroes. The streets were calm and the mood was one of thankfulness to those who came to "liberate" them. "It was a bit disappointing", he said "because we joined up to see some action."
We are sending our young vulnerable men and women into a war where it is unclear who is the enemy. They make decisions that are often immoral. They leave full of feelings of pride and nationalism, proud that they are brave enough to face the evil that is trying to destroy our country! Often, very often, they come home mentally and spiritually wounded. There are a record number of suicides among our military.
I listened to another man tell us that his remedy for depression was to join the military and go to Iraq. There he found a sense of purpose he was missing in his life. I understand this need for purpose and camaraderie. Our young people are hungry for meaning and purpose in their lives. So we send them to war to "make a man of them." I wonder if they, we, could find that same sense of purpose helping those who need our help. I say we can find meaning and purpose in our lives by building others, not destroying them.
In the United States of America we are experiencing problems of the heart. They are problems of priority and justice and they are an indication that we are ill. We have an illness in this nation that will take courage and a willingness to face the truth for us to begin to regain the dignity in the world we once possessed. We have allowed the corporate world and our military complex to dictate our policy both at home and abroad. We seek to control the world so we can insure that the comforts we have enjoyed will not be taken from us, and we turn a blind eye to the suffering we incur in doing so, justifying this suffering as collateral damage, both to those abroad and here at home. Our greed has brought our economy to the breaking point and our environment to ruin. Our only solution is to ask people to spend more so our economy will be healthy.
Will we be in endless war? Will we senselessly continue training our young men and women to uphold a false sense of nationalism, naming anyone who opposes us as the enemy, the evil ones, the terrorists, while our policies create terrorism and bankrupt our citizens? We must honestly look in the mirror! We must regain humility, and common sense, and a sense of caring for human beings no matter who they are, or what religion they belong to, or what color they happen to be. Please, take a closer look at what you hold sacred!