What Else You Got?

First Posted 15-Jul-2014

I said this while kidding around with a friend, “what else you got?” The back story is that she was throwing the usual threats at me of violence, prison, cut off from resources like food & housing as ways to gain my compliance. These were said in jest. My retort was that I’d had all that done to me and survived, so . . . Genocide has been used to bring a population under heel. Torture, confiscation of land, burning villages, name an abhorrent act and its been done by soldiers while attempting to force a populace to give up the fight. There are always survivors. They remember the war. If they choose to fight there is not much you can do to stop them.

So, what’s the plan? Global apocalypse so that the population is reduced from 7 billion to oh, maybe 2.3 billion or so? In our personal relationships, arm ourselves heavily and solve our differences by shooting each other until we tire of attending funerals? We know what the world is like with violence, war, conflict and strife. There is no innovation needed if we are to maintain our traditional, warring ways. We know how to fight.

Various emperors, kings and governments have been trying to control the Afghans since at least 330 BCE when Alexander the Great tried to invade. We went to Afghanistan to topple Taliban control of Afghanistan. Did that, then stuck around much longer trying to prop up the puppet democracy we foisted on them. The Taliban just moved into the mountains of Waziristan. They knew that we would get bored with the fight and go home eventually. They were right.

The Afghans have been fighting on that land for centuries. No one has been able to win against them or sustain control of them in all that time. The Russians went home because they ran out of money. We’ve unloaded many thousands of tons of munitions on those we seek to destroy. Our best fighters have won battles. Once we announced we were leaving the Taliban started to move back, knowing that we’d be more embarrassed at having to come back than having to leave as losers.

The press, in the last couple years, has fallen in love with stories of bullying. Every few months we get another story of some poor sap who lashed out or committed suicide because of the insults and ugly behavior of a bully. Is the answer to find the bully and beat him or her down? Should we fill more graves with bullies? The press seems to like “sensitivity training” as if talking to a bully will make them stop. It’s a version of, “if you knew you would understand and if you understood you would behave in a way more pleasing to me.” Uhm, yeah . . . about that . . . You are reading my blog. Just saying. The ones I know will listen and as they do, brainstorm ways to beat you silly once the sensitivity training is done.

I’ve been on both sides. I’ve been bullied, beaten, a victim and I’ve been the bully, the beater. I know the world I lived in before I became so crazy for loving my enemies. I know what awaits me should I choose to abandon more than ten years of work to be salt and light to those who are tempted toward violence. We did carpet bomb Germany in WWII. We pressed the full weight of our might against the Taliban and they are still there. Fighting harder isn’t the answer. What else would we do? The answer really has not changed in at least 2,000 years. Before we lobbed missiles at each other we spoke words. Once the ground is muddied with enough blood we will speak again of life after the war. There really is only one choice: love God with all our heart, mind and strength, love our neighbor as ourselves, and love our enemies. Any other plan leads to familiar and ugly conclusions.