WAR: A New Perspective for Me
By Arleen Lorrance
As long as I can remember I have been opposed to war. I have despaired over the bloodshed, the bodies, the weapons, and the hate that need to be generated in the warriors so that they can continue to battle on against the defined enemy. I saw that war never ends future wars in the same way putting criminals to death never stops crime. I have deeply regretted how soldiers were affected for the rest of their lives by PTSD and entrapped in images of killing other human beings. Billions of dollars have been spent on killing to stop the killing. No wonder I have long been opposed to going to war. I knew the emphasis needed to be elsewhere, namely, on creatively investing time, money, energy, and resources in bettering people’s lives on all levels and encouraging everyone to embody their waiting potential.
I would ask repeatedly, what is the purpose of going to war when it changes nothing, when it never brings peace? Recently I heard myself asking the question again as related to ISIS. They are an extreme group of individuals with a radical ideology, and their purpose is to kill, to defeat their enemies, and to dominate the entire world with their brand of Islam. They slaughter whole villages and seem to revel in the blood that runs in the streets. They remind me of the Nazis: “Tomorrow the world.”
I put the question to myself: How can ISIS be stopped? Certainly not through reason or request! What is our role? What can we do? What should we do? Can we simply ignore it and let the rampage increase? Should we continue to commit air power? Should we put boots on the ground?
I recalled the words of Theodore Roosevelt in 1914 during World War 1: “In a tremendous world struggle with a great moral issue involved, neutrality does not serve righteousness, for to be neutral between right and wrong is to serve wrong.”
The Purpose of War
War doesn’t bring peace. I asked myself again, what is the purpose of war? For the first time in more than half a century, I have come up with a different answer to my question. War has nothing to do with achieving peace. War attempts to defeat the aggressive enemy before it defeats or oppresses us!
This response to my own question stopped me in my tracks and rendered me silent. It was so large a shift for me that my internal philosophy of life toppled like a stack of children’s blocks.
No, I don’t want there to be war. But others do. Yes, I want us all to live in peace together and to thrive. But others do not. It has always been so; it is likely to be so for many moons to come. We are a world of polarities and the best we can do is to make choices for ourselves about how we want to interact with the rest of humanity. Shall we allow those who seek-to-slaughter free passage to overrun village after village until the level rises to city after city? War attempts to defeat the aggressive enemy before it defeats or oppresses us! I never thought I would say it, or even see it. But today, I do. War is a vehicle to sustain our way of living until we can evolve and lift the human race to totally new ways of functioning in harmony.
There are many kinds of oppression that need to be halted, but before we accomplish that we must diminish our infantile need for power and dominance. It is not just the “bad” guys who feed this need; it is the “good” guys as well. How many times in history has our own country, feeding this need, interfered in the affairs of state elsewhere and participated in the overthrow of rival governments? How many times have we interfered in our own nation by inserting agents of violence in the midst of demonstrations that threatened the prevailing administration? How many times have we fabricated lies and used ends we have proclaimed “holy” to justify our horrendous means? Endless times.
War ultimately seeks to enable us to survive as aggressors are subdued, but war achieves little more than that if humans do not climb above their caveman heritage, drop their clubs, and turn from the inflaming qualities of testosterone to a passion for lifting the human spirit to light-filled levels still unknown in our dim wandering upon the earth