Our society already knows how to make war we've been doing it for a very long time. It takes much more maturity to try to work things out instead of killing each other because we feel like attacking someone.
Romanticizing war is a tactic used by leaders who promise that going to war will create peace. Isn't that insanity on its face? How can violence create peace? How can murder of innocent people be justified by a freedom-loving nation?
An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind. ... Mahatma Gandhi
We support our armed forces by seeking to keep them safe.
A Time of Choice
This is a time of choice for humanity. It is the main reason people feel ill at ease. The possibility of war is not so much the cause of the unease as it is the means of making the choice. What kind of future do you wish to create? More importantly, will you hold onto old ways of being, based on attempting to control effects? Or will you move on to new ways of being, based on love?
You cannot make this choice for others, including your leaders. However, making a clear, conscious choice for yourself encourages others to make one, too.
Choosing love is choosing to live in peace and respect for all life, including leaders you consider misguided or even evil. Once the choice is fully made, events, political or otherwise, do not control your inner life, even though you feel their effects. You no longer need to try to control those effects (which is the old paradigm of being) because those effects no longer control you; love controls you. You may take action to express your views and otherwise participate as a citizen, but without fear. Your peace makes your voice more powerful, your actions more effective. You are not trying to change effects; you are helping establish a new cause. What you do might look similar to the actions of those who are reacting out of fear and anger, but the underlying content of your actions is different: it carries the spiritual authority of one who knows how to create that for which everyone longs: true security.
The voice of one who knows is strong and forceful if necessary, but it is calm at the same time. It may channel anger but it is not consumed by it, like a burning bush. It is also compassionate for all the players in this learning game, including those whose fear and anger cause them to do great harm. The new paradigm for humanity is one of spiritual and emotional maturity. Today is an era of adults rising up out of a sea of children and adolescents.
Those who have not yet made a firm choice experience increasing turmoil until they make one. Those who choose to remain in the old paradigm may also find a measure of calm, if not actual peace. You who read these words are mostly in the process of choosing love. However, many question if a total alignment with love is safe: doesn¹t one need to keep at least a small arsenal of anger/fear in order to be safe while there are still great dangers?
It is conceivable that love might act with physical force if it is required; love does not necessarily remain passive. However, when love is accurately expressed, physical force is rarely needed. So choosing a way of being based fully in love does not tie your hands; it, in fact, unties them, giving you all the options that could actually work to create the results everyone truly desires.
Shepherd Hoodwin, February 19, 2003.
War is the most horrible of human experiences
US Senator Robert Byrd (Senate Floor Speech - Wednesday, February 12, 2003)
To contemplate war is to think about the most horrible of human experiences. On this February day, as this nation stands at the brink of battle, every American on some level must be contemplating the horrors of war.
Yet, this Chamber is, for the most part, silent ominously, dreadfully silent. There is no debate, no discussion, no attempt to lay out for the nation the pros and cons of this particular war. There is nothing.
We stand passively mute in the United States Senate, paralyzed by our own uncertainty, seemingly stunned by the sheer turmoil of events. Only on the editorial pages of our newspapers is there much substantive discussion of the prudence or imprudence of engaging in this particular war.
And this is no small conflagration we contemplate. This is no simple attempt to defang a villain. No. This coming battle, if it materializes, represents a turning point in U.S. foreign policy and possibly a turning point in the recent history of the world.
This nation is about to embark upon the first test of a revolutionary doctrine applied in an extraordinary way at an unfortunate time. The doctrine of preemption the idea that the United States or any other nation can legitimately attack a nation that is not imminently threatening but may be threatening in the future is a radical new twist on the traditional idea of self defense. It appears to be in contravention of international law and the UN Charter.
And it is being tested at a time of world-wide terrorism, making many countries around the globe wonder if they will soon be on our or some other nation's hit list. High level Administration figures recently refused to take nuclear weapons off of the table when discussing a possible attack against Iraq. What could be more destabilizing and unwise than this type of uncertainty, particularly in a world where globalism has tied the vital economic and security interests of many nations so closely together? There are huge cracks emerging in our time-honored alliances, and U.S. intentions are suddenly subject to damaging worldwide speculation. Anti-Americanism based on mistrust, misinformation, suspicion and alarming rhetoric from U.S. leaders is fracturing the once solid alliance against global terrorism which existed after September 11.
Here at home, people are warned of imminent terrorist attacks with little guidance as to when or where such attacks might occur. Family members are being called to active military duty, with no idea of the duration of their stay or what horrors they may face. Communities are being left with less than adequate police and fire protection. Other essential services are also short-staffed. The mood of the nation is grim. The economy is stumbling. Fuel prices are rising and may soon spike higher.
This Administration, now in power for a little over two years, must be judged on its record. I believe that that record is dismal.
In that scant two years, this Administration has squandered a large projected surplus of some $5.6 trillion over the next decade and taken us to projected deficits as far as the eye can see. This Administration's domestic policy has put many of our states in dire financial condition, under funding scores of essential programs for our people. This Administration has fostered policies which have slowed economic growth. This Administration has ignored urgent matters such as the crisis in health care for our elderly. This Administration has been slow to provide adequate funding for homeland security. This Administration has been reluctant to better protect our long and porous borders.
In foreign policy, this Administration has failed to find Osama bin Laden. In fact, just yesterday we heard from him again marshaling his forces and urging them to kill. This Administration has split traditional alliances, possibly crippling, for all time, International order-keeping entities like the United Nations and NATO. This Administration has called into question the traditional worldwide perception of the United States as well-intentioned, peacekeeper. This Administration has turned the patient art of diplomacy into threats, labeling, and name calling of the sort that reflects quite poorly on the intelligence and sensitivity of our leaders, and which will have consequences for years to come.
Calling heads of state pygmies, labeling whole countries as evil, denigrating powerful European allies as irrelevant these types of crude insensitivities can do our great nation no good. We may have massive military might, but we cannot fight a global war on terrorism alone. We need the cooperation and friendship of our time-honored allies as well as the newer found friends whom we can attract with our wealth. Our awesome military machine will do us little good if we suffer another devastating attack on our homeland which severely damages our economy. Our military manpower is already stretched thin and we will need the augmenting support of those nations who can supply troop strength, not just sign letters cheering us on.
The war in Afghanistan has cost us $37 billion so far, yet there is evidence that terrorism may already be starting to regain its hold in that region. We have not found bin Laden, and unless we secure the peace in Afghanistan, the dark dens of terrorism may yet again flourish in that remote and devastated land.
Pakistan as well is at risk of destabilizing forces. This Administration has not finished the first war against terrorism and yet it is eager to embark on another conflict with perils much greater than those in Afghanistan. Is our attention span that short? Have we not learned that after winning the war one must always secure the peace?
And yet we hear little about the aftermath of war in Iraq. In the absence of plans, speculation abroad is rife. Will we seize Iraq's oil fields, becoming an occupying power which controls the price and supply of that nation's oil for the foreseeable future? To whom do we propose to hand the reigns of power after Saddam Hussein?
Will our war inflame the Muslim world resulting in devastating attacks on Israel? Will Israel retaliate with its own nuclear arsenal? Will the Jordanian and Saudi Arabian governments be toppled by radicals, bolstered by Iran which has much closer ties to terrorism than Iraq?
Could a disruption of the world's oil supply lead to a worldwide recession? Has our senselessly bellicose language and our callous disregard of the interests and opinions of other nations increased the global race to join the nuclear club and made proliferation an even more lucrative practice for nations which need the income?
In only the space of two short years this reckless and arrogant Administration has initiated policies which may reap disastrous consequences for years.
One can understand the anger and shock of any President after the savage attacks of September 11. One can appreciate the frustration of having only a shadow to chase and an amorphous, fleeting enemy on which it is nearly impossible to exact retribution.
But to turn one's frustration and anger into the kind of extremely destabilizing and dangerous foreign policy debacle that the world is currently witnessing is inexcusable from any Administration charged with the awesome power and responsibility of guiding the destiny of the greatest superpower on the planet. Frankly many of the pronouncements made by this Administration are outrageous. There is no other word.
Yet this chamber is hauntingly silent. On what is possibly the eve of horrific infliction of death and destruction on the population of the nation of Iraq a population, I might add, of which over 50% is under age 15 this chamber is silent. On what is possibly only days before we send thousands of our own citizens to face unimagined horrors of chemical and biological warfare this chamber is silent. On the eve of what could possibly be a vicious terrorist attack in retaliation for our attack on Iraq, it is business as usual in the United States Senate.
We are truly "sleepwalking through history." In my heart of hearts I pray that this great nation and its good and trusting citizens are not in for a rudest of awakenings.
To engage in war is always to pick a wild card. And war must always be a last resort, not a first choice. I truly must question the judgment of any President who can say that a massive unprovoked military attack on a nation which is over 50% children is "in the highest moral traditions of our country." This war is not necessary at this time.
Pressure appears to be having a good result in Iraq. Our mistake was to put ourselves in a corner so quickly. Our challenge is to now find a graceful way out of a box of our own making.
Perhaps there is still a way if we allow more time.
Source: Senator Byrd's website
Quotes from the movie:
"Victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. What has violence ever accomplished, what has it ever created? Violence breeds violence, retaliation breeds retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our souls. For when you teach a man to hate and to fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color, or his beliefs or the policies that he pursues, when you teach that those who are different from you threaten your freedom or your job or your home or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens, but as enemies. Those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of light that they seek as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, surely this bond of common fate, this bond of common roles can begin to teach us something, that we can begin to work a little harder, to become in our hearts brothers and countrymen once again."
"It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."
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Page updated: November 26, 2013
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