I know it's been a while since my last post, and I apologize to my regular reader(s). Clearly lots of things are keeping me awake of late, swirling around in my head, never quite coalescing to the point of a coherent thought that is vaguely interesting to anyone but myself. I promised myself that I wouldn't post any essay that I wouldn't want to read myself, and sometimes that's a pretty high bar.
On thing that has been getting under my skin is the local peace activists. Many are affiliated with the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center
, and many of them have been recently willing to go to jail in support of their causes. All very impressive. I'm certainly sympathetic to the cause of peace. I held hands around Rocky Flats nuclear weapon plant years ago, putting pressure on the government to shut it down. Amazingly, whether we had any impact or not, the plant is in fact closed and is being turned into a wildlife preserve.
Recently, some of the local activists (such as Dan Winters and Carolyn Bninski) have been writing letters to the editor concerning the most recent conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. They chastise Israel for its actions, which I can understand, but then go on to say that the Palestinians have the right to attack and invade Israel.
Clearly there are some Middle Eastern leaders on both sides that do not have the best intentions of their own people as their top goal. In addition, some of the actions of the Palestinians are so far out of line with any accepted behavior in a civilized society that to accept it is to reject the concept of peaceful coexistence.
When a group of people believes strongly that they can improve their lot by murdering large numbers of innocent people, those people need to be corrected one way or another. I am not taking sides here, just pointing out that terrorist acts are not only inhuman, but they also generally eventually bring bad things down on the people who do them. This is whether or not they recognize that they have brought their suffering upon themselves.
In the middle east, there are people on both sides who strongly believe in the rightness of their cause and of their methods, while there are others who have co-opted the message for their own personal reasons. Regardless, when people murder to achieve noble or selfish causes, they are still murderers and need to be treated as such. Civilized countries need to say, I don't care who performs these acts or why, we will treat them the same way. If a Palestinian suicide bomber kills civilian Israelis, if the Israeli army kills innocent bystanders, if US soldiers kill civilian Iraqis we must be vigilant and treat them as the criminals that they are.
So, if you are a true peace activist, you cannot in good faith give preference in your opinion to one side of the conflict. Conflict resolution means finding a solution that all sides can (literally) live with. Search your soul and decide if you are taking your your extreme position becaaue it truly is the right thing to do, or because it is in opposition to what George Bush believes.
Labels: hypocrisy, war and peace