“Justice may have won, but cruelty, death, and inhuman violence have also won.” ~Bao Ninh, The Sorrow of War
My country is flirting with yet another war, another escalation of disagreement to the point that the fat and old send the fit and brave to die.
Yet again is it the cowards in high office, the cowards that hid in the relative safety of the National Guard instead of actual combat, the cowards that avoided the draft by hiding behind college deferments, the cowards spewing hate in propaganda machines, the cowards that never served in the military, those now to fat and to old to serve in the military who are the most vocal about sending our brave youth to die in another country. The cowards scream for war because they have no skin in the game. It is not them our theirs that will dodge flying bullets. It’s the unconnected, the poor who will shoulder the burden not the wealthy bastard-cowards in high office and their profiteering cronies.
The cowards shit righteous indignation. They shit the story that our way of life is at risk and we are honor bound to preserve the greatest country to ever exist. They shit this propaganda as they did during the Vietnam conflict. We lost in Vietnam yet our way of life did not implode. Our way of life did not die unlike the countless soldiers on both sides of the conflict whose lives were cut short. Fact is, we are wealthier than ever. (Not as wealthy as those profiteering of the war machine.) Fact is, Viet Nam has become prosperous under Communist rule.
The only lasting answer to the question of conflict is for the leaders to talk as peers, converse as equals seeking mutually agreeable solutions. The real courage is engaging in the difficult work of reconciliation. The real courage is to look into ourselves and understand our contribution to the issues creating the chasm in relationship. The real courage is fixing ourselves first then asking the other sides to modify their behavior.
It is the courageous man who can say, “I am sorry.” It is the courageous woman who is the first to extend an olive branch of peace. It is the courageous leader that seeks to understand before seeking to be understood. It is the courageous leader who strives for the understanding that can lead to reconciliation.