Friday, January 6, 2012
There's A War Going On...
I listened to the President last night as he outlined all of the plans he has in store for the military- reducing our armed forces to a minimum because the world is now such a peaceful place. All of the campaign rhetoric contains little reference to the thousands of soldiers who still have boots on the ground in Afghanistan as well as areas of conflict around the globe. My flag is still posted, my yellow ribbons are still wrapped around the tree. Our soldiers have not come home.
I've been working on a new book, so I'm paying a lot of attention to the news coming out of Afghanistan, and much of the news is not good. At this very moment, more than a hundred thousand soldiers are scouring the mountains and villages of this war-torn country on the other side of our planet, trying to do two things--rout out the enemy and convince peaceful people that the road to a modified democracy in their homeland is indeed possible. However, the media has withdrawn nearly 100%, from both Iraq as well as Afghanistan. Nearly 2,000 American lives have been lost in Afghanistan--this represents a huge segment of our population that has been directly affected by the deaths of their loved ones--and yet our media is treating the war in Afghanistan as a done deal. These statistics don't begin to reflect the numbers of civilians who've perished over the last 10 years...though they are not Americans, the human death toll is huge and we should care about those statistics. If it's your child, your father, your uncle, who's gone from this world, it doesn't matter whether you're on the side of the west or the east, military or civilian. You have lost someone you've loved. No human life is more or less valuable than the next. No ethnicity or nationality is more or less valuable than the next. No infant deserves a world where his life is devalued based on the spiritual or physical geography of his birth.
The Persian poet Rumi, who grew up in Afghanistan/Tajikistan in the 8th/9th Century AD, said something that is important to me today:
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I'll meet you there.
We have a place to meet, that is neither right nor wrong because such absolutes are based upon our personal theology. But beyond our knowing, we can meet in that field, and together we can dwell.
Rumi went on to say, "A thousand half-loves must be forsaken to take one whole heart home." From an ancient mystic whose homeland is the same as the precipice upon which an American soldier stands guard today, I would say let us not forget the whole heart of this warrior, who answered the call to battle to preserve peace for the innocent. I would say the whole heart of our nation rests in the calling he has to preserve a homeland, eventually our own.