As an American, I find it troubling for the nation’s mainstream position on present wars to be free of any self-awareness, any lingering shock and awe, about our own bellicose history.

By Robert C. Koehler, Common Wonders

First you call them terrorists. Then you say you’re defending yourself. Moral problem solved!

You can kill as many of them as you want.

fog of war

Well, maybe there will be consequences later (and maybe not), but for the moment you have overcome your own moral barriers and can start doing your job as a soldier: killing people. And in the process, you are making the world – your world, not theirs – safe. War is such a paradox: killing one’s way to peace. But apparently it’s humanity’s primary organizing principle.

Citizens of America, citizens of Israel, citizens of Russia . . . citizens of the world . . . this has to change! Now is the time to end war, by which I mean transcend war: disarm, demilitarize. We’re killing the planet; we’re living on the brink of nuclear suicide. Creating and dehumanizing an “enemy” isn’t going to create peace, but rather, just the opposite. We’re spreading hell across the planet, and not only does war always come home, it continues to create an endless cycle of death and destruction – simply to justify itself.

For instance, Palestinian writer Emad Moussa put it this way recently in the Los Angeles Times: “The general impression among us Palestinians — whether at home or abroad — is that as Israeli tanks rolled into Gaza, what the soldiers saw contradicted their worldview of the inferior, subhuman Palestinian. They had to destroy all and re-create an image of Gaza that matched their imagined worldview. As if to say, dehumanize to facilitate and justify the culling.”

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