Not In My Name, How About You?

Here’s some terrible news: we’re at war. Maybe you heard. What’s happening?

Last year, we planned to arm Syria’s rebels, many of whom are now in ISIS. Parliament stopped the British Government. Earlier we had two wars with Iraq, before that we backed Iraq against Iran. Not long ago we supported Iran, but they got rid of the Shah. Now we’re bombing ISIS. We fight one war and then another on one side and then the other without reason. As a British or American citizen these wars are fought in your name.

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Business has been quiet like the population as a whole. We’ve gone along with it. If we suppose war may be justified, what’s the objective of this adventure?

We’ve been told that we are going to destroy the ISIS. Well, it’s a bunch of human beings. We’re told we’re going to reduce the threat of terrorism. Well, aside from the fact that dropping bombs on people is terrifying, how does killing people reduce terrorism? Do the people we are killing – sorry to put it like that – have brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, who may react in some way? Our political leaders think they must do something. They think this is what we want.

We’re supposed to be reassured we won’t commit ground troops; our countrymen won’t get killed. Just be other people: Syrians, Iraqis. We say they’re the terrorists; it’s absolutely, definitely not us, unthinkable. Sounds like war by cowardice.

What will we do about ISIS? The first thing to do is to notice where it is. Could we imagine the governments of Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria bombing Ukraine? It would be absurd, it’s not their call, and ISIS isn’t ours. I know we’re used to going to war in the Near East – we Britons recently fought our fourth war in Afghanistan having lost the previous three, it’s time for a rethink.

The same principles of inter-personal relations apply to inter-state relations. You’ll find some in my other posts here “One Other Problem In Our World Today” and “Can We Transcend Conflict? Yes We Can”. It’s time to learn to be a bigger team.

At some point somebody will talk with ISIS. Maybe we will even listen to them, and at that point the members of ISIS could start to feel understood. But it would take a little leadership. Next week I may return to something a little less controversial. In the meantime, this is a public declaration that this war is not in my name. How about you?

As we leave Afghanistan again, its Government knows it must talk with the regional leaders, the ones we call warlords. In Europe, after decades of conflict with the Irish Republican Army (“the IRA”) which we demonized as terrorists, the British Government finally talked with them, and reached an agreement.

The same principles of inter-personal relations apply to inter-state relations. You’ll find some in my other posts here “One Other Problem In Our World Today” and “Can We Transcend Conflict? Yes We Can”. It’s time to learn to be a bigger team.

At some point somebody will talk with ISIS. Maybe we will even listen to them, and at that point the members of ISIS could start to feel understood. But it would take a little leadership. Next week I may return to something a little less controversial. In the meantime, this is a public declaration that this war is not in my name. How about you?

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