I long to accomplish great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker. (Helen Keller)
How true this is from a military perspective. We read of generals astride their horses, whose only contribution was to say, “let’s attack here” . Their work is done. They then receive history’s blame or credit depending on the outcome of those brave souls fighting for their lives.
The battle results are determined on the field by soldiers. Whether they choose to break and flee, or to stand their ground against impossible odds, alone determines the future reputation of their commander. History judges clearly.
Besides war, the same holds true for peace. Often it is more difficult to be non-violent, than to go into a rage. Yet those who propose peace, become castigated as being too cowardly to handle war, when in fact, the opposite is true. It takes deep spiritual devotion, and a strong belief in a higher power, to sail against the prevailing wind. To trust that peace will provide a dividend that is far greater than taking what you want to take with force……..requires great insight and courage, to make yourself believe in it……..
So who is brave?……. I learned that Marines (US) are brave. When shots were fired across Michigan Avenue in Fallujah, the uninitiated take cover. When they dare to look up, they see the Marines already running towards the sound of the shots. As you get to know Marines while off duty, you slowly arrive at the opinion, they are not that much different. But the moment live ammunition smacks around you, and you see them run at the source like fireman racing to a fire, you realize that courage has different levels.
We are taught from birth, (it may be instinct) that self preservation is a worthy cause. Survival is our primary concern. So when one takes the opposite tack, and puts survival below other considerations, those of us who witness it, call it courage.
It takes great courage to stand up to ones enemies. It takes even greater courage to stand up to ones friends. (Professor Dumbledore, Book 1) Think about it for a second………………..How easily do we lob insults at those representing the other side of the blogosphere? Too easy…………….Now how hard is it to do the same and to criticize those who have stood solidly with you and “watched your back” on other issues? Quite hard……..isn’t it.
But sometimes one must go against ones gut, and do what is right. What kind of insanity must possess a person willing to trust his life to some nylon and some string, and then throw himself out the door of a shot-up B17 over enemy territory? The answer is that the insanity of staying inside a falling chunk of metal, is greater than the insanity of bailing out……..
So what kind of insanity must possess a person who today, is willing to abandon the wreckage of what has been the primary focus of our nation’s foreign policy? Again, the answer is that the insanity of staying in a falling chunk of metal, is greater than the insanity of bailing out.
Wait a second: many of you by now are thinking. “Your analogy is not a good one. Many B 17’s were shot to hell and still made it back to English airfields. Those who persist in the war effort are like those few B17 crewmen who did not abandon their posts and persevered to safe harbor. Your analogy seems to support the opposite of your views?”
But there were also many who did not bail out over continental Europe, and then were force to bail out over the English Channel and certainly perish. By bailing early, their chances of survival would have been higher.
So rational people must look at each of these circumstances and make a decision based on their assessment of all the evidence. We are humans, we do this all the time.
For those who haven’t yet “got it,” the conversations we have about the war here within the blogosphere, mirror the conversations that took place within those shot up B17’s. The upcoming Petraeus report, is no more than a damage assessment sheet.
So with this upcoming report, how do we determine whether we throw our support against those who want to stay, or against those who vote to leave?……..We do it by performing a gut check.
Gut Check 1: If I lose my son or daughter in this war, will I always feel that they died to preserve my nation’s freedom.
Gut Check 2: Would I be better served to have all my money spent on this war and not on something else?
Gut Check 3: Would I be worse off if we left the war, or would it be better off to stay the course and continue doing exactly what we are doing now?
If you can answer no to any of these questions, you need to be in Rodney Square Today, from 5 to 7 pm. The rest of the arguments offered by both sides don’t matter one iota. The only thing that matters is your answer to these three gut checks.
Once you have decided that this war is not for you, then get moving to Wilmington’s Rodney Square. Don’t expect anyone else to do it for you. Even though the time will come when our policies dealing with foreign affairs will change for the better. But that will be because we can no longer afford the extravagance of war. This will occur when the American people realize that war causes too much suffering here at home, and the benefits of peace again become attractive to us all.
It is my humble opinion that America needs to change its policy. This change in policy can come easily once the people of this country decide that there is a better way to conduct ourselves throughout the world. Whenever the people turn against war as a tool to promote certain beliefs, the war ceases. That’s what we need today. (Ron Paul)
As Helen Keller stated in the opening of my piece: “the world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker. “
Today we are in desperate need of more honest solders for peace. Ask yourself this question: “if your showing up to this event, would make the actual difference and stop this war, could you then make a greater effort do it?” If you answered yes, then show up. Just showing up may be only the “tiny push: that Helen Keller spoke about, but if you passed the gut check, it is a push in the right direction………one requiring a great amount of courage……………………
Time to run like Marines towards those enablers who keep this war running; not duck and cover.