Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Peace—as easy as imagining it? Tell that to a vet!

Earlier this week I went looking for confirmation of how to spell Chrissie Hynde and stumbled upon this site.

And there I saw a video of a person make the most disappointing comment I have heard in some time.  "Peace is as easy as imagining it." 


The history of nonviolence: ask the Huron Indians how non-violence worked out for them.  Oh, that's right, you can't--they 
converted to Christianity, laid down their arms, and promptly got wiped out by the Iroquois.

Meanwhile, except for ending slavery, Fascism, Nazism, and Communism, war has never solved anything.  To this list we may one day add Islamo-fascism, or radical Islamic terrorism, but for now I would say, that's a work in progress.

There is evil in the world, and the answer to evil is most emphatically not non-violence.  Tolerance and cooperation must be backed up by strength.

I doubt even John Lennon himself, were he alive today, would agree with the person in the quote above.  Peace is imaginable, and possible, but surely it takes work and cooperation. Peace does not happen just because enough people like the same song.  Peace is the goal, but there are some important intermediate objectives. Such as stopping deranged assassins.

I admire the Beatles as a band and John Lennon as a writer, philosopher, musician, artist, and activist.  I have a hard time with some of Lennon's comments, such as the Beatles were more famous than Jesus.  But mostly I feel deeply disturbed by comments from ignorant idealists who really believe that peace is as easy as imagining it, and who believe, by extension that:

     (a) war is always wrong, never justified; and 

     (b) warriors are either just social misfits, willing tools of greedy capitalists, or mercenaries looking for a fight.

In this country, the widening gap between Armed Forces and Society is quite disturbing to me.  Isn't it ironic?  The more freedom people have, the less they appreciate it, and what it takes to make and preserve it, and what cost others have borne on their behalf for it.

When I came back from Baghdad and rejoined polite society, I was appalled at the insignificance of what passed for real problems among my fellow citizens.  Cold French fries sent a fellow diner into a tizzy. Too few choices on the shelf caused a fellow customer to lose composure.  Somebody drops a ball. In a game. Oh, the drama! You'd think we were dodging mortars again.

The irony of the Law of Supply and Demand is that in the abundance of freedom, freedom is devalued. At some point, truly clueless people who have no appreciation for the cost of the freedom they take for granted are perfectly willing to go on camera and proclaim their ignorance, saying, "Peace is as easy as imagining it."

Tomorrow is Veteran's Day, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Don't wait till the last minute to think about what it takes to live in peace. It takes more than imagination.

26 years in 
Army green
... and still serving!
Builder, mapper, bridger, sapper!
Turkey, Korea x 2, Germany x 2
NATO mission in Kosovo (’99)
9/11 survivor (Pentagon)
Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran ('07-'08)