On this Martin Luther King Jr Day I am reminded of his philosophy, some of it borrowed from the immortal Ghandi, that terror should never be met with terror. That violence should not be matched by more violence. Their beliefs in non violent action was successful in overcoming horrible repression. Meeting the terror of the KKK, for example, with sit-ins, prayer and song saved countless lives which would have been cut down by powerful majority forces. Enough lives were lost practicing non-violence for crying out loud.
It wasn’t just a strategic tactic however. It was deeply held belief that violence simply begets more violence and the only way to break the cycle is with love. I’m reminded of this while reading Jeremy Scahill’s shocking book Dirty Wars: The World Is A Battlefield. As I read about American death squads running around Asia, the Middle East and East Africa assassinating Muslims for no reason other than a suspicion that they might know someone else suspected of being a terrorist I’m shocked at what our JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command) forces do in our name I can’t help but wonder how many new terrorists are radicalized through our stupid, short term tactics.
We will pay for this dearly down the road. If only George W. Bush and Barack Obama had used those hundreds of billions of our dollars instead on humanitarian efforts… Instead of creating blood enemies after blowing up entire villages filled with women and children (and, perhaps one terrorist) maybe we could have created something positive: a school, a well, a hospital. What if we’d made friends instead of enemies?
In the spirit of MLK ask yourself if our lust for war has really made us safer and if that was the smart course?