General George Casey, the Chief of Staff of the Army, said today the United States could face another "decade or so" of persistent conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In two months, the U.S. will have been at war in Afghanistan for nine years.
The four-star general said the U.S. military moved beyond conventional warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan "long ago," and that the focus is now on the people. Casey highlighted job, education and economic growth as essential to success in Iraq and Afghanistan.
When asked if enemies of the U.S. have to be a part of the reconciliation process for it to be considered a success, Casey said that is a "matter of debate," but that enemies have to be convinced they will lose.
War is ugly and insane. It is costly and dangerous. It disfigures and mutilates. War terrifies and seems to be what appeals to us so much we are loath not to be at war. It is truly a confounding consideration why we relish war.
(--from, Casey: U.S. Could be at War Another Decade, CBS News, http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20010184-503544.html)
Chris Hedges writes:
War and conflict have marked most of my adult life. I have been in ambushes on desolate stretches of Central American roads, locked in unnerving firefights in the marshes in southern Iraq, imprisoned in the Sudan, beaten by Saudi military police, deported from Libya and Iran, captured and held for a week by Iraqi Republican Guards, strafed by Russian Mig-21s in central Bosnia, shot at by Serb snipers and shelled with deafening rounds of artillery in Sarajevo that threw out thousands of deadly bits of iron fragments. I have seen too much of violent death. I have tasted too much of my own fear. I have painful memories that lie buried most of the time. It is never easy when they surface.
And yet there is a part of me that remains nostalgic for war's simplicity and high. The enduring attraction of war is this: Even with its destruction and carnage it gives us what we all long for in life. It gives us purpose, meaning, a reason for living. Only when we are in the midst of conflict does the shallowness and vapidness of our lives become apparent. Trivia dominates our conversations and increasingly our news. And war is an enticing elixir. It gives us resolve, a cause. It allows us to be noble. And those that have the least meaning in their lives-the impoverished refugees in Gaza, the disenfranchised North African immigrants in France, even the lost legions of youth that live in the splendid indolence and safety of the industrialized world-are all susceptible to war's appeal.
( --from "War is a force that gives us meaning", by Chris Hedges, Amnesty International NOW magazine, Winter 2002, http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/War_Peace/War_Gives_Meaning.html)
Conversation is what is missing.
I think we do not know how to have a conversation. I think conversation is more frightening than war.
Conversation is also more attractive and more important than war.
Conversation is the antidote to war.
That's why we fear conversation.
Each person is the daily recipient of new thoughts and unexpected feelings. yet so often in our social encounters and in the way we have grown used to describing ourselves, these thoughts and feelings are not welcome and remain unexpressed. This is disappointing in view of the fact that the deepest things that we have inherited have come down to us across the bridges of meaningful conversation. The Celtic tradition was primarily an oral tradition. The stories, poems, and prayers lived for centuries in the memory and voice of the people. They were learned by heart. The companionship and presence of such rich harvest of memory helped poeticize their perception and conversation. Without the presence of memory conversation becomes amnesic, repetitive, and superficial. Perception is most powerful when it engages both memory and experience. This empowers conversation to become real exploration. Real conversation has an unpredictability, danger, and resonance; it can take a turn anywhere and constantly borders on the unexpected and on the unknown. Real conversation is not a construct of the solitary ego; it creates community. So much of our modern talk is like a spider weaving a web of language maniacally outside itself. Our parallel monologues with their staccato stutter only reinforce our isolation. There is so little patience for the silence from which words emerge or for the silence that is between words and within them. When we forget or neglect this silence, we empty our world of its secret and subtle presences. We can no longer converse with the dead or the absent.
(pp. 110-111, in section 'Ascetic Solitude', in John O'Donohue's Anam Cara, A Book of Celtic Wisdom, c.1997)When we cease speaking with one another we are inclined to punch, shoot, and kill one another.
There's one more thing that has to be considered.
Silence -- real silence, not tense festering non-communication -- allows everything into it.
Silence -- real silence -- allows everything to be merely and delightedly itself.
Real silence -- is the middle name of peace, God, and the mother of all being.
So, love your mother. Love God. Love peace.
Learn from silence to practice silence.
Silence is an especially good word and practice that mothers our creation.