War Is Suicide
"Love everyone, and tell the truth." Neem Karoli Baba
Namaste is a term from the Hindu culture, which
translates as "I bow to you". A deeper translation
is "The divine within me recognizes and honors the divine
within you". This unity perspective recognizes that we are
each a specific expression of the divine whole. This is the perspective
Jesus shared when he said, "love your neighbor as your self".
An attack on the "other" is an attack on our "self",
so war is suicide, or at best, a self-inflicted wound.
This month we observed the 16th anniversary
of the September 11, 2001 attack on America, which killed over
3,000, and shocked the nation. In New York, the World Trade Center
towers were hit by two airplanes. Tower Two fell an hour later,
followed 30 minutes by Tower One. Seven hours later World Trade
Center Seven, which was not been hit by a plane, also fell. The
buildings fell at free fall velocity into their own footprint.
These three steel re-enforced concrete buildings are the only
ones of this kind of construction to fall due to fire. Thousands
of engineers and architects requested an opportunity to investigate
this rare failure in order to improve building techniques, but
an in depth investigation never happened.
Within hours we were told that 17 Saudi nationals
had hijacked the planes, and the leader of the group, Osama Bin
Laden, was hiding in Afghanistan. Seven weeks later, we attacked
Afghanistan, and two years after that we attacked Iraq, which
was not associated with the 9/11 event.
The allied casualties amounted to over 6,000
dead and 900,000 wounded. Afghanistan is still costing money
and lives, and is the longest military engagement in US history.
The invasion of Iraq destabilized the entire region and contributed
to the rise of ISIS. An estimated 470,000 have died in Afghanistan,
and another 500,000 have died in Iraq, with millions wounded and
displaced. The resulting refugee crisis flooded into Europe,
disrupted economies and societies, stressed the cohesion of the
European Union and NATO, and aided the rise of nationalist/fascists
movements. Around the world, Islamic rage about these events
generated further anti-American feelings, which spread like a
These wars have cost over $7 trillion. This
includes not only direct war expenditures, much of which is unaccounted,
but also the medical costs of treating the wounded, as well as
VA benefits for long term care, replacement costs for equipment
lost, and interest on the debt to fund it all. The expanded military
budget has become a permanent fixture, to the detriment of increasing
social needs. The righteous effort to avenge 9/11 allowed the
government to fund wars without raising taxes, doubling the national
debt in eight years.
The war on terror has eroded civil liberties
at home. The Patriot Act was passed 45 days after the 9/11 attack.
It allowed indefinite detention, new permission for secret search
and seizure, and increased search by the FBI without court order.
The NSA was expanded to intrusive levels never before imagined.
The transfer of military weapons to the police has increased,
making citizens feel like an occupied population. Travel restrictions
from the TSA are now commonplace, without any demonstration of
real effectiveness. These were to be temporary emergency powers,
but most have been made permanent.
Let's imagine what the world might look like
if our country had chosen the perspective of unity in response
to 9/11, reacting like Jesus might have suggested. We might have
tightened security to prevent a repeat, but our first focus would
be to clean up, heal, and rebuild. We would have assisted the
survivors, and grieved those who died. We would have investigated
not only who and how, but also why the buildings fell. We would
have embraced the outpouring of love from all over the world and
maintained a moral standing on the planet.
Without war in Afghanistan and Iraq, we would
have saved trillions of dollars, and the thousands of lives.
PTSD, homeless and suicidal veterans would not be such problems.
With a lower national debt, the Wall Street excesses might have
been noticed before the economic collapse of 2007. Iraq might
still have been destabilized, but without our being responsible.
The tidal wave of war refugees wouldn't be burdening European
This is the road not taken. Our choice for
war is a self inflicted wound.