Friday, November 6, 2009

Mantel of Peace upon President’s Shoulders

By Eddie G. Griffin (BASG)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Today has been declared the day to
Blog Blast for Peace. For us, it is a day to meditate the meaning of Peace within the context of a complex world at war.

President Barack Obama is between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, he contemplates sending more troops into Afghanistan . On the other, the world community has placed the mantel of peace upon his shoulders by awarding him the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

It is an agonizing dilemma, a paradox in a box, a damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don’t situation.

I remember the face of President Lyndon B. Johnson as he agonized over the war in Vietnam . It is a hard situation to be in, because there were forces on both sides: some for war and some for peace, the same as we have today.

The problem has always been our nationalistic pride versus the cost of war, not the mention the damn-it-hell at all cost dogmatic attitude. We have been groomed and conditioned to think that just because we are Americans, we are always right and we must always win. We are intolerant of our enemies. We will not even listen to what they have to say. We have no respect for their being.

If they have a grievance against us, we will not hear it, because we are Americans, and we are always right. Whatever grievance they have against us is unrighteous and false.

We have no respect for the world community. We hate the United Nations that we created, because most of the member nations do not agree with us, like the puppet governments of the past. We no longer dominate the world. We no longer control global thinking.

But our hearts are hardened like Pharaoh. We declared a war, when there was no war, only rogues who committed a horrendous act of terrorism on September 11, 2001. But our anger and thirst for hasty revenge led us into the quagmire that we are now in.

Before a leader goes off to war, he should first sit down and count up the cost. So says the bible, a copy of which should be at the right hand of any president.

But, in the current situation, we did not sit down and count up the cost. Some in the previous administration believed that we could dispatch with al-Qaeda and the Taliban, along with Saddam Hussein, in a matter of months. All we needed was a convenient believable excuse to start, and what could be more terrifying after 9/11 than to declare that the enemy had WMDs (weapons of mass destruction).

Off to war we go. Mistakes were made, we all admit. We were not as right or righteous as we originally thought in our collective nationalistic hearts. President Barack Obama inherited these messy wars. They are now his to conquer, or his to resign his forces. It is an impossible situation to be in. It will be impossible to please everyone.

No, this is not a decision to be made by consensus. The country is divided almost 50-50. This is a decision for the President and the President alone.

Those who will criticize him for not sending more troops are the very ones who will criticize him if he does. This is strictly partisans, after the vintage of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and FOX commentators, along with politicians who capitalize on this type of partisan divide.

That there is division is a fact of life in American. Some of us are sick of war and still have the bitter taste of the WMD fiasco in our craw. It is impossible to start an unrighteous war and win it in the name of God. There is something else at work here.

To date, I have allowed some of my children to pursue military careers without uttering a word of dissent, knowing that they would be sent to Afghanistan and Iraq . To serve one’s country is the highest honor a soldier can achieve. And, there is no more noble sacrifice than a man lay down his life for his friends, family, and nation.

But I question the nobility of the war itself. I feel as though the American people are left in the blind, as to what this war is all about. For those who believe that radical Muslims hate democracy are brainwashed. Everybody loves freedom. But the Taliban wants freedom on their term, in their own country, under their own sovereignty, whether America likes it or not. These are tribal people with tribal government. A central government means nothing to them, but a loss of autonomy.
This is an unconditional line in the sand.

It is rather late in the game to go back and sit down and count up the cost of these wars. We have already paid a heavy toll in the initial investment. But the cost of war must coincide with what we mean by the concept of “War”.

War, to me, is one thing. War, to the Taliban, is another. I cannot superimpose my meaning of war upon my foe, for he fights a “holy war” in his mind, a Jihad, something Americans cannot even phantom.

Only an insurgent understands the meaning of Jihad. It means fighting down to the last man, woman, and child. It is a generational fight, bred into the minds of the children of our enemy from birth.

Have we lost a page from history? The Crusade lasted 505 years. Did we factor this into the cost of our wars? Are we prepared even for a 100-year war? Only arrogant eyes are too short to see.

Now the Mantel of Peace is upon the shoulders of President Barack Obama. People of the world believe that he has opened up a new chapter in global relations. He is a thoughtful man and well spoken. He is considerate of his neighbors. Instead of talking at neighbors and talking down to our allies, he confers with them in earnest, and listens to and respects their views. He has extended an olive branch to our foes.

Though many hate him for this conciliatory attitude, insofar as he is not brash and abrasive as his predecessors, he nevertheless is wise enough to ponder rather than be pressured.

I am reminded of a prophet who was forewarned of God not to be troubled by the hard faces of his foes, whether they hated him, whether they were angry at him, or whether they were simply hard hearted against his word. The word is this:

Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. (Psalm 34:14)

The President should listen to his enemies and weigh their words, in the light of day. If, for no cause, they fight us, and if it is war, down to the last man, woman, and child, then so be. And, God help us all.

Annihilation for the sake of peace is a valid option.

1 comment:

Francis Holland said...

I think perhaps the most convincing point you make is that those who are arguing for a troop increase are going to criticize Obama daily, either for failing to order the increase or for failing to carry out the war competently, in their opinion, even if he does order the increase.

Since those who support war are going to criticize Obama regardless of what he does, and will NEVER support him under any circumstances, he should utterly discount their opinions and urgings and make the decision on another more valid basis.