The reaction of those on the right does not surprise me. I have a feeling that President Obama could go on a cross country tour, healing the sick, making the lame walk, and the blind eye to see, and the right would still find reason to criticize him.
And I am even less surprised by those on the left; perhaps nothing is as disillusioning and disheartening to one committed to peace as much as war and the rumors of war. And I am one committed to peace. Even as I write this, there hangs on the wall above my desk a quote from the Book of Isaiah which reads,
“The shall beat their swords into plough shears, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”
However, even as I decry the rank turpitude inherent in war, I am pragmatic enough to recognize its inevitability. Men will have disputes; men will go to war. So it has been since the beginning of man. This knowledge, this indisputable truth, perhaps factored into the president’s decision.
But allow me to ask you a question. What do you think would happen if the president did as the left would have him do and pull all the troops out of
Would some deep and abiding peace suddenly settle over the region? Would the men, women, and children, the denizens of those countries, take to the streets dancing and singing and carrying olive branches and go home at the end of the day to enjoy a new found harmony?
Or would all hell break loose as the presence of American troops is replaced by an unparalleled struggle for power and control and the countries descend into completely chaotic conflagrations?
And if this is the case, who would be the biggest losers? Who would stand most in harm’s way? Would it be the most powerful and those most thirsty for power or would it be the weakest, the infirmed, the men, women, and children least able to flee the carnage that is bound to ensue?
Would we simply exchange one war for another or even others?
Alfred Nobel’s will dictated that the Nobel Prize for Peace be given to “a champion of peace.” And I apologize for my ignorance, but I am not fully aware of Mr. Nobel’s background. However, I am sure that in his wisdom and vision, he was pragmatic enough to realize that the pathway to peace must sometimes necessarily cut through a battlefield; however, recognance must be given to those burdened with the onus of facilitating such a perilous journey.
I have seen it written or heard it said many times that no one abhors war as does a soldier. And as a former soldier, I can verify the veracity of this statement.
There is nothing romantic about war. There is nothing noble about war. Every soldier knows this. Can you find the romance, the sense of nobility in being so frightened that the only thing you can taste in your mouth is the acrid, metallic taste of fear and your own bile, that your balls draw up into the pit of your stomach, or when success is defined by the untenable option of taking someone else’s life in order to spare your own?
I’m sure that the president must feel like this daily. I am sure that for the president this anxiety, this fear, is multiplied one time for every one soldier on the front line and in harm’s way. The power to send others off to war and possibly their death is a dreadful onus indeed. But heavy lays the head that wears the crown or that assumes the presidency.
May war soon be over and peace reign in its stead; I am sure only then will President Obama be able to fully appreciate this award.