I’m going to be honest here. I’ve been struggling with writing this post for quite some time. I don’t really feel like I have any real answers here. And I like answers. I like to have my posts tied up in a neat little package with a nifty bow to present to you, dear reader.
I also hesitate to post this because it feel like I’m choosing to be a little naïve. And nobody likes to appear naïve.
And maybe I’m struggling with this thought that’s been rattling around in my head and my heart because…well…I don’t LIKE these thoughts. But I have to share them. I have to get them out. You might not like them, either. You might want to call me an idiot. You might want to call me crazy. That’s OK. I’ve been called crazy before. Or maybe you’ll choose to never read any of my stuff again. I hope that won’t be the case. But I might understand if you choose that response.
I remember how it felt to watch the planes slam into those Towers. I remember the horror of watching the buildings collapse. I remember wishing for *those* people and anyone who agreed with them to be sent straight to the pit of hell. Like all other Americans who watched in disbelief and terror that horrible Tuesday morning, I will never forget. I will never ever forget.
Here we are, 13 years later, and how far have we really come? We have killed countless terrorist leaders, including Osama himself, but the President addressed the nation a few nights ago, declaring that “We will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are.” That sounds an awful lot like his predecessor, who said, “Make no mistake, the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts.” Doesn’t it?
We’ve been doing an awful lot of hunting these past 13 years.
We’ve also done a lot of punishing.
Regardless of your political persuasion, I think we can all agree that there have been a lot of successes in the ongoing fight against terrorists.
Yet here we are again. We’re in another knock down, drag out with a ruthless terrorist organization. They rose up out of a crippled terror group. And once ISIS (or is it ISIL?) is destroyed , what’s to stop more terrorists from rising up in its place? It’s like the Hydra – you cut off one head and two more sprout up in its place.
Then they’ll strike at us.
We’ll strike back.
They’ll get revenge.
And it will go on and on and on.
We are stuck in a never ending cycle. The pursuit will not end. The hunt will not be over. When will it stop? Will it ever stop? I remember during the initial days of the commencement of the War on Terror that we were warned that this effort could take decades – maybe even generations to accomplish.
What if we responded in a different way?
And here’s where I struggle. I don’t know how we, as a State, could implement any other approach than a military response. These monsters are terrorizing civilians, murdering babies, and beheading journalists. They must be stopped. Period.
But I also keep hearing these quotes bounce around in my head and heart:
“An eye for an eye makes both men blind.”
– commonly attributed to Gandhi
“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”
– commonly attributed to Abraham Lincoln
“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you.”
– Jesus (Matthew 5:44)
“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you…”
– Jesus (Luke 6:27)
“…the greatest of these is love.”
– Paul (1 Corinthians 13:13b)
So that’s where I’m stuck. I don’t want to respond with love. I don’t even know how to respond to this kind of evil with love.
Like I said, I don’t have a pretty bow to wrap around this one. There’s no Brady Bunch or Family Matters ending here where everything magically comes together at the end of the post. Responding with love could mean that more people are murdered and oppressed and abused in the immediate future. That’s not good. At all. Things are messy right now and a response like this could make things even messier.
And I don’t like that one bit.
But doing the same thing we’ve been doing but expecting different results…that sounds like the common definition of something. Doesn’t it?