Is Peace Possible?

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”– Mt 5:9

Having promised “change,” why is Mr. Obama continuing so many of the Bush and prior administration’s failed policies? Isn’t there a Christian solution? Yes, there is.

1. Stop bombing civilian targets. Not only is this immoral, it also enrages people and forms a recruiting point for our enemies. If we want to stop terrorism, we need to stop acting like terrorists. Most countries look to the U.S. for leadership and a moral example. We need to reclaim the moral high ground, instead of just exerting our military superiority.

2. Instead of more soldiers, send food and medical supplies to the troubled regions. Instead of spending billions on military solutions, spend it on helping to build up the economies of these countries. Recall what happened after the Pakistan earthquake in 2005. Many ordinary Pakistanis actually expected the U.S. to gloat and take advantage of their weakness. When we sent relief supplies instead, they were surprised and thought that maybe we weren’t so bad after all. People who live in such poverty respond to humane treatment and kindness.

3. Compel Israeli forces and settlers to withdraw from Palestinian lands. Israel’s oppression of Palestinians (with U.S. help) is the single greatest issue for Muslims worldwide, and the single greatest recruiting point for terrorism. Why should they love us when we continue to prop up their enemies with billions in aid and weapons? Congress will soon vote on the President’s new budget for fiscal year 2010, which includes 2.8 billion in aid for Israel (an increase of 225 million), despite Israel’s misuse of that aid (used against civilians) in violation of U.S. treaty. To send an email to every member of the Congressional Appropriations Committee, click here: http://endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=2002

4. Engage in diplomacy, even with our enemies. The great lesson of the medieval Crusades (which we evidently still have not learned after a thousand years) is that diplomacy can work where force and violence fail, especially in the Middle East. Middle Easterners love to bargain, whether it’s in a bazaar or a palace, and they do not understand when we walk away from the table simply because they say No. No is the starting point for them; it is not a declaration of war.

Iran, for example, has a great deal in common with the U.S. In fact, we have a common enemy, called Al-Qaeda, who hate the Shia Muslims even more than they hate us. After 9-11, thousands of Iranians flooded the streets of Tehran holding candles in solidarity with what we had suffered. This was a prime opportunity for us to work with them to seek a solution. Instead, we chose to invade one of their neighbors and called Iran part of the “axis of evil.”

Diplomacy is the only solution when you’re dealing with tribal societies that lack a strong national loyalty. Tribal leaders in Afghanistan have little loyalty to the central government because it is so corrupt; they cannot count on their government for justice and aid. So why are we surprised when they continue to support the Taliban? Showing a different face and addressing the real problems these people face on the ground should be the U.S. strategy for success in the Middle East.

The problem is we’ve developed a war machine that has a voracious appetite; it must be fed. That’s why so much of the aid sent to the region ends up back in the U.S., funding corporations that are part of America’s vast corporate-military establishment. We also have a President inexperienced in dealing with the pressures applied to him by this war machine. Little wonder he has made the decisions he’s made, in spite of all his campaign promises. Pray that he will find his feet and be able to stand up to these corporate interests.

I call on the LORD in my distress, and he answers me.
Save me, LORD, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues.
What will he do to you, and what more besides, you deceitful tongue?
He will punish you with a warrior’s sharp arrows, with burning coals of the broom bush.
Woe to me that I dwell in Meshek, that I live among the tents of Kedar!
Too long have I lived among those who hate peace.
I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.

–Psalm 120

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11 Comments

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  1. You have to understand, Steve, THEY attacked US on OUR SOIL!

  2. I understand that. But look at the American Revolution: The Brits invaded the Colonies and instituted a scorched earth policy, burning towns, farms, murdering civilians and torturing our soldiers. Congress and the military held a firm line then against descending to the level of our enemies. The British cynically claimed, “Sure, humanity is a Yankee virtue, but they will be governed by policy” (i.e., “just watch; they will sacrifice their sacred principles when their lives and property are threatened.”). But our leaders held firm then, refusing to engage in such barbarity. Because of that, we won more than just a war. It is Right that makes might, not vice versa.

  3. You must be an idealist.

  4. I grant you that. But what are our lives worth if we sacrifice our ideals?

  5. As strange as it might seem, the United States had a unique opportunity that presented itself in the ashes of 9/11. We could’ve chose to form a REAL coalition and go directly after Al-Qaeda, and yes we would’ve been helped by most moderate Arab nations, who as Steve as correctly pointed out, has as much to fear as we did, but instead we chose to go after the one country that didn’t have anything to do with the attacks. $750 billion later we are still not safe, most of the Muslim world hates us and the TRUE culprits of 9/11 are still alive.As for Anonymous, could you identify yourself please?

  6. I am your worst nightmare! Ha ha ha ha!

  7. Mr. Ha ha ha, I thought I recognized your handiwork!

  8. Latin American author Eduardo Galeano was interviewed yesterday on Democracy Now. He guesses that Mr. Obama may be “lost in the bush.” (This was not meant as a racial slur, but an expression referring to being overwhelmed with complexities that one cannot see the forest for the trees.)– the “bush” signifying the vast military-congressional- industrial complex that seems to enthrall and exert such pressures on presidents. Perhaps he was also making a pun about Obama’s predecessor.

  9. Steve…do you propose that the U.S. cut off aid to Israel and place that nation and its 7,000,000 inhabitants in imminent danger of a 3rd Arab invasion? Why is it that nothing is mentioned in your post of the blatant Muslim oppression within the occupied territories?http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/67572

  10. What I am proposing is something that only a few past presidents have done, and that is to make aid to Israel (which makes up 25% of our foreign aid budget) contingent upon their getting serious about peace. There will be no peace until Israel ceases to be an occupying power and stops stealing Palestinian land. That is the source of the trouble– Palestinian terrorism, which I agree is a real threat, is merely the symptom or consequence. If Israel wishes to truly protect it’s citizenry, which is its duty, it should stop slapping band-aids on the problem and deal honestly with the injustice it has perpetrated. Can anyone honestly deny that their oppression of Palestinians is a huge recruitment point for terrorism?

  11. Here is a question for Ralph pertaining directly to his point on Muslim oppression within occupied territories. If a non-believer were to behave in a unGodly fashion would that be license for a believer to follow suit? You neededn’t respond; we both know the answer.The question of our age is quite simple: How are we to behave as world leaders? It is NOT being naive to believe that our conduct and that of our allies should be on a higher plane. It does not show weakness when mercy is extended even towards those who hate you. It is possible to be both tough and just all at the same time; something the Bush Administration had a hard time believing.I reread Steve’s blog and not once did he mention cutting off aid to Israel. But that doesn’t mean we should be obliged to issue a blank check just because they’re one of our allies

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