The War between Darkness & Light

The Unites States is facing a challenging dilemma. It seems that, while no one was looking, the world changed without our permission. So much of what we had in place to insure our own security no longer applies. Nuclear missiles and submarines, hundreds of military bases and international intrigue, have become pretty much obsolete against the rise of terrorism. The behemoth of our military might, so effective in the 20th century, has become like the Titanic. It cannot maneuver this treacherous sea of floating death that refuses to play by civilized rules.

I've heard it said that the only military lessons we learn are those from the last war, not the one we are in. We use strategies guaranteed to be out-of-date, and therefore almost useless. I don't think this is accurate right now. The war on terror has been going on long enough for us to adapt. The trouble is, many of our civilian leaders have learned nothing at all. The loudest of them are invoking failed policies of the past, which they still believe in, while military experts do not. We cannot shoot or bomb ourselves out of the predicament we find ourselves in.

The truth is, we have painted ourselves into a corner by incorrectly using our military might. We have yet to comprehend that terrorism is not just a tactic, as some are quick to say, but a disease that encompasses international discontent, religious fanaticism, feelings of vengeance everywhere, and mental illness among individuals who might otherwise be harmless.

Hurting and killing innocent people has become the method of choice among those who seethe for power. That includes crashing airlines into buildings, detonating explosives in crowded areas, drone attacks against uncertain targets, and mad killers killing indiscriminately in theaters and nursery schools and on the street.

In our blind obsession with getting what we want, we have dramatized and elevated violence to the point of shaping our culture around it. So much so, that only a portion of our population even wonder why so many people are being killed for no good reason, and fewer still trying to stop it. Our imaginary heroes are now cheap, unrealistic facsimiles - more like killing machines without depth of conscience. They only win and are admired because an artificial script calls for it, disregarding the misery and destruction in their bloody wakes. This has become our popular catharsis. False, two-dimensional heroes are detrimental to our cultural ethos.

Respectable martial arts teach a way of life that cherishes peace and civilization. Today's gun shows focus on destructive power, and the subtle paranoia that seeks to justify it.

As mentioned before, military strategy is adapting to international terrorism. It is becoming faster in response time, more specifically deployed, more dependent on technologically gathered intelligence, and anticipating problems. This will sharpen our response to terrorism, but it will not eliminate it. We will remain largely reactionary, which means there is no end in sight.

Legislative cowards remain far behind, simply refusing to effectively respond to our murder epidemic beyond tiresome rhetoric. Sandy Hook proved that beyond a doubt, and shames us all. It seems that we cherish Rambo and cowboy gunslingers and conspiracy theories more than our own children. This is why I call terrorism on every level a disease. Its related symptoms infect every aspect of our culture, and transforms even good people into monsters.

"He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword" takes on new meaning when applied to modern society. It has produced a shadowy, barbarous underbelly to our civilization. We were amply warned two thousand years ago, but did not listen.

We cannot defeat jihadism in a peaceful fashion. It is too late for that. Fanatics will not stop because we ask them, or tell them that burning and beheading people isn't nice. Unfortunately, much blood is yet to be spilled. Yes, it will mostly be contained in other countries, leaving most of us safe. But the mistakes we made before will continue until we admit them to ourselves and change for the better.

Our chief mistake, in the West, is to allow greed and pride to dominate our legitimate ideals. Just as Abraham Lincoln reckoned the death toll of the Civil War as punishment for the sin of slavery, we are being punished for not safeguarding the responsibilities that come from freedom. Violence will continue for some time, and we will participate as both perpetrators and victims. We cannot kill our way out of this.

What we can do is initiate a new and better strategy to hasten things along. We can give our very best values a chance to place ourselves in a better, more sound position.

Right now, western culture is not what it should be - and we all know it. The worthy ideals we claim to represent have become so laden with hypocrisy and greed that we have lost the moral standing that would have prevented us from making so many fatal mistakes. By not being true to our beliefs, we have lessened them to the point of international resentment. In so doing, we have empowered the enemies of humanity itself.

Never think for a moment that the conflicts we engage in today are not part of a war between darkness and light. To win, our light must shine pure with the enthusiasm of us all. We must be who we pretend to be. Anyone who tells you differently is somehow profiteering from the way things are, politically or otherwise. We must show the world that insidious greed and preferred ignorance is not the natural result of freedom and the American Dream.

Good friends! We find ourselves at a philosophical crossroads. We must choose between conscience and reason on one hand, and the short-sightedness of bully politics on the other. We must choose between the cohesiveness of international and cultural affinity, and the divisiveness stirred up by demagogues, who have no conscience, no vision for the future, no connection with the costly past and the blood of heroes. The war on terror must first be waged here and now, in our hearts and minds, before we earn the right of being champions of the future.






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