“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5
This particular Bible verse is a favorite of mine.
I leaned on it heavily during one of the more difficult times in my life.
As a country, we’re going through a difficult patch right now too and could benefit from remembering our need for humility.
As we honor those who have served our country in the past, we also have to cherish those who are serving today. We’ve put almost 200.000 brave men and women in harms way in a foreign country. We’ve asked them to fight a war which we started under what we now know to be false pretenses. They have engaged what they thought were the enemy, but in the process we have radicalized a country, weakened ourselves, and strengthened the real enemy (bin ladist Islam).
Those who support this path of action claim that victory is just a matter of will. With more patience and commitment, they claim, we will achieve our goals in Iraq. I don’t think that it is a question of will. I think it is a question of understanding.
I just heard an interesting comment on NPR by a Chaplain Major John Morris who has served in Iraq.
“In this fight, which we call the global war on terrorism, we say that we understand that the people we’re fighting are motivated by an ideology that’s rooted in an aberrant view of a religion. It’s a great line. But I’ve often had to really be forceful with commanders that, ‘You don’t understand. These people are tapping into something in a spiritual realm. And if you fail to take it seriously, it doesn’t matter how long we fight, we will not defeat them.’”
“We’re in a war. But this is a war where you can’t kill enough people to win because this has a spiritual motivation to it. You’ve got to have more tools than kinetic energy. And that’s how I talk to commanders because they understand kinetic energy as firing of a weapon system.
That means we have to take seriously religious leaders. We have to take seriously the religious worldview of people. We have to think that when we fire that weapon and we miss, that round goes somewhere. And when it hits somebody else that’s innocent, it has a ripple effect on a culture that takes seriously life and death, clan and family. That when we search mosques, it has an impact, whether the mosque was used as an armory, which I often saw that it was, or not. There is an impact.”
I don’t think that the American people have as clear a view as Major Morris, but what they do grasp is that the current strategy is fatally flawed. I’m not sure that the American people understand what we should do next, but they do understand that we have to change what we are doing now.
As Major Morris said, this is not a war that we are going to win with bullets and soldiers and the sooner we realize this, the sooner we will be able to starting doing what we as a country do best. We are the best at giving those with good ideas an opportunity to be successful. We are the best at providing families an opportunity to build a better life for their children. We are the best at assimilating immigrant cultures into our own.
We will win the war against fundamentalist Islam by figuring out how to solve the fundamentalist strife in our own country. That is going to come from prayer and the realization that what we have in common is far more important that what we have in difference. Then we have to take those lessons of loving our neighbor as ourselves and apply them globally. When we accomplish that, we will wake one morning to find that our enemies have disappeared because they have become us and we them.
“Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought.” Isa. 41:11-12
Happy Memorial Day