Fort Hood's Nidal Hasan – or – Why Today's Soldiers Go Crazy

The tragic recent murders by Maj. Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood are part of an epidemic of suicides, violent crimes, and shooting sprees among active-duty and former soldiers which stem in great part from their understandable moral and ethical confusion about the nature of war and the uses of power and violence. Women soldiers newly serving in combat positions often struggle with their uncertainties about adopting formerly-despised “male” traditions of violence and dominance, especially since their use of such power—as male soldiers have always known—can and does often lead to a sense of separation from the human race, to feelings of isolation, aloneness, difference, wrongness, fear, inadequacy, failure, loss and rejection.


Add to these moral conundrums of conscience the fact that soldiers are expected to behave in uncivilized and dominating ways while “at work,” and then nimbly revert back to behaving civilly and helpfully at home, flexibly “getting back in touch with their feminine sides” and working in equitable partnerships, building family affection, connections and wholeness. Clearly, twenty-first century soldiers have their hands full to be all they can be.


Military trainers work very hard to try to turn selfless, idealistic, caring young recruits into good soldiers who can be both safe and effective in war zones, prepared to perform as knee-jerk killers, to instantly shoot down complete strangers—often innocents themselves who are protecting their own homes and families and comrades-in-arms—and to carry out the cold-blooded duties of snipers, bombers, interrogators and other executioners who must kill with no hesitation or trace of due process random members of any population demonized as “the enemy,” “others”—i.e., people it’s OK to treat as non-humans.


Good soldiers are offered a fuzzy kind of contextual logic to (temporarily) ethically “cover them” and their bloodiest actions, for at least as long as they can believe that their killing and dying serves a worthwhile purpose—that is, to protect their friends and families and fellow-citizens, or to serve their country in some way, or to further its noble ideals and purposes. Soldiers can often do their duty if they can cling to some hope that their “jobs” are generally positive ones, that they are necessary, valuable and moral, that their terrible personal losses and cruel sacrifices were not in vain, and that they wasted neither their own lives nor the lives of others.


Unfortunately—or perhaps, fortunately—it’s much harder nowadays in the age of media for us to continue to see complicated human instances of violence in simple black-and-white terms. The rapid pace of change, the continual clashing of conflicting old ideas and emerging new ones, our own American biggest-kid-on-the-block mentality, and our often-thoughtless, retributive, greedy habits of government policy-making with respect to war, empire and militarism—added to our too-violent and vengeful culture—together create a mentally and emotionally combustible, dangerous, crazy-making conundrum for even our best, most well-intentioned and professional soldiers.


“Schizophrenic behavior” is defined as behavior which is motivated by contradictory or conflicting principles, or which results from the co-existence of disparate or antagonistic activities. In other words, when your ideals frequently conflict with each other, and when your actions feel equally conflicted, it can drive you nuts. Fallible human attempts to live up to one’s ethics, values, standards and goals can make even the best soldiers feel schizophrenic.


Growing up on military posts, I believed, just as most citizens of most countries are taught to believe, that our military forces were always a force for good, an organization that helped people, supported peace, promoted freedom and democracy. Since then, I’ve learned that military forces everywhere—like violence of all kinds, from abuse to crime to terrorism—usually harm many more people than they help. I’ve also learned that peace, freedom and democracy cannot co-exist with war, because wherever war goes, anything resembling peace, freedom and democracy quickly disappear.


Even the best-trained soldiers—those convinced that military actions are all about duty, honor and country, taking care of one another, following orders, and serving with excellence, integrity and honor in order to further the protection and interests of loved ones and the best nation on earth—in the midst of war, wonder whether their actions are truly helping or hurting people, whether they are on the “giving” or on the “taking” “side.” Every soldier prays that he will someday look back and believe his life and work have served the best interests of humanity—and heaven forbid that they have served on the side of darkness, pain, grief, and cruelty. In the midst of actions far from their homes, all soldiers wonder at times whether their devotion to military ideals and country may not conceal larger, deeper, sadder contradictions about the nature and missions of militarism and war.


When soldiers from any nation come home from their wars, of course they have trouble rectifying all they've participated in, with their peacetime ethical, spiritual and religious beliefs about what it means to be humane, caring, good—all the many understandings parents and teachers carefully taught them about what makes relationships work, and what make life worth living. Many returning war veterans basically go insane for years. Others are unstable or crazy for the rest of their lives.


Everyone insists that training and fighting animals—cocks, dogs, bulls—is an outrage. We wouldn't, they say, we couldn’t, we shouldn’t do this to a dog! So why do we keep doing it to people?


Every soldier I have known, at one time entered the military with selfless ideals and the best intentions. Sadly, military training and war often work subtly against soldiers’ best interests, leaving them confused about what power and leadership really mean, as well as poorly-prepared for the peaceful, productive civilian relationships they spend years dreaming of forging, at war’s end.


Unfortunately, the many sad, lingering side-effects of military training and war include a heightened tendency to polarize even small conflicts into black-and-white situations requiring a quick, habitual adversarial or violent response to conflict—habits which later work insidiously against both the soldiers and their loved ones. Quickness to violence—while perhaps an asset in effective soldiering—is a terrible emotional burden in civilian life. Recent public-safety statistics indicate that too many soldiers attempting to re-enter civilian life—having spent their impressionable youth on high alert, in kill-or-be-killed situations—have become habituated to violent, lawless behavior, and continue to pay huge, never-ending psychic prices for their previous military involvements after their return to “civilization.”


The number and types of military resources America should maintain may be a matter of reasonable debate, but what is not arguable is our need to develop more thoughtful and deliberate processes for deciding when and why to send our soldiers into war.


The great writers and filmmakers who have told their stories of past wars have consistently described war as “insane.” Insanity is also the only word that most reasonably describes any future war, since humanity has the knowledge and the means now—if only we develop the will—to resolve conflicts peacefully and prevent the holocausts which the law of unintended consequences, along with our ghastly weaponry, inevitably spiral us into.


Ethical soldiers like my father relive the remembered insanity of war for the rest of their lives, alternating between waves of the deepest humane compassion, pride and camaraderie, to long periods of dark, impenetrable, self-protective anger, fear and cynicism.


The cruelly gruesome extremes of war sometimes contaminate and twist even the highest traditional military values into thuggery. Professionalism can be turned, at times, into barbarism. Selflessness can be turned into greed. Idealism can become cynicism. Courage can become savagery. Strength can become dominance. Love of country can turn to jingoism and chauvinism. Obedience, leadership and respect for authority can be warped by exigency into a numbed conscience and momentary group-think. Loyalty can become a destructive “us/them” mentality. Integrity can become a morally confusing paralysis, while duty can be pushed into rote obedience.


However admirably motivated, however morally unambiguous in the midst of a firefight, violent military actions still have the look and feel of chaotic lawlessness. No matter how patriotic or mentally-prepared soldiers may be, the act of killing complete strangers goes queasily against soldiers’ moral teachings about how to treat other people.


The ideal of freedom itself—the dream comprising healthy, productive human lives spent in peaceful pursuit of individual dreams—can feel, during war, quite unrelated to the specifics of what soldiers are often asked to do, because serving the freedom of one group often entails dominating and killing another, something which feels less noble in practice than what most soldiers hope for, particularly when their personal boots-on-the-ground experience has already offered clear evidence that many—perhaps most—of war’s victims are as innocent as the soldiers who kill them. Soldiers don’t sign up to defend moral ambiguities. And yet the first victim of war is truth, followed closely by moral clarity, and, too often, by despair.


However high-minded the justifications given during a soldier’s training, the actual waging of war—the killing, the maiming, the brutalizing—feels more “against” than “for” humans. Unless “the enemy” has successfully been completely dehumanized in the minds of soldiers by war propaganda, military fighting too often seems rather more against than for human value and worth, human liberty; love, individuality, uniqueness; against the highest religious and moral traditions, against human ideals, values, beliefs, against the teachings of history’s great moral teachers, against humanity itself.


Soldiers schooled in war fortify their emotions against moral confusion by coldly dehumanizing and demonizing their enemies, but such temporary moral adjustments don’t serve nearly as well at war’s end, when all the former “non-humans”—the Vietnamese, Germans, Irish, British, Russians, the terrorists, whomever—experience a miraculous rebirth, having been rediscovered somehow to be human beings after all. Soldiers who wisely shut down their feelings against tragically ambiguous memories unfortunately also become emotionally unavailable to their children, parents, and spouses. This happened in my family.


Soldiers who have followed orders to loose destruction and death upon “combatants” and “noncombatants” alike in someone else’s country, often become cynical later even about their own country, about the human capacity for goodness, and the worth of people in general.


“Human” values which specifically exclude certain portions of humanity—Muslims, for instance, or Christians, or certain races or ethnicities —ultimately prove uncomfortingly weak and useless. Nations claiming a constitutional and traditional embrace of “human ideals” and “human rights”—who then insist upon them only for their own citizens and at the expense of citizens of other countries—rapidly lose not only their allies, but also the loyalty and pride of their own citizens; while patriotism which rests shakily upon chauvinism and exceptionalism breaks down quickly into partisan bickering, and too-easily collapsing into division, bigotry, political hatred and violence, and even civil war.


Wars’ costs go far beyond blood and treasure.


All the war books and movies I’ve “enjoyed” shared similar conclusions about their experiences of war. Over and over, each artist expressed the point of view that their war had been insane, cruel, hard, sad, misguided and stupid, and created more problems than were resolved. The grisly killings aspects of war were consistently experienced as pointless, chaotic, numbing, unreasonable, inhumane, confusing, wrong—and sometimes thrilling, in that the pointy end of the sword went into the other guy, and not them. Soldiers throughout history have been urged by their leaders to keep such stories to themselves, or share them only with other soldiers who were there, so as to avoid bringing harm or shame to a unit, or turning the next generation against war itself. 


In nearly every war book and movie, bleak, terrified, mutilated children emphasize the meaninglessness and human tragedy of war, while fear for oneself and one’s friends drives soldiers to acts of cruelty and immorality unimaginable during peacetime.


War never turns out to be at all what anyone expects when they join up, and not much like what they train for either. When at war, every soldier longed for home, and when finally back home, they missed having friends they could talk to, buddies who understood them and their experiences.


All these artists told how their necessary training in hate and fear had carved a black chasms into their psyche, changing them (and their families) forever in ways inexpressible to anyone who hadn’t shared such experience—so mixed are war’s memories with guilt, pride, and loyalty.

Should the U.S. Fear, Antagonize, Denigrate, Irritate or Embrace China?

This anonymous post about anti-China perceptions in the West is viral on the internet. I found it fascinating and thought-provoking. I think you will too…. 

What Do You Really Want From Us?

When we were the sick man of Asia,

We were called the yellow peril.

When we are billed as the next superpower, we are called “the threat.”

When we closed our doors, you launched the Opium War to open our markets.

When we embraced free trade, you blamed us for stealing your jobs.

When we were falling apart, you marched in your troops and demanded your fair share.

When we tried to put the broken pieces back together again, Free Tibet, you screamed. It was an invasion!

When we tried communism, you hated us for being communist.

When we embraced capitalism, you hated us for being capitalist.

When we had a billion people, you said we were destroying the planet.

When we tried limiting our numbers, you said we abused human rights.

When we were poor, you thought we were dogs.

When we lend you cash, you blame us for your national debts.

When we build our industries, you call us polluters.

When we sell you goods, you blame us for global warming.

When we buy oil, you call it exploitation and genocide.

When you go to war for oil, you call it liberation.

When we were lost in chaos, you demanded the rule of law.

When we uphold law and order against violence, you call it a violation of human rights.

When we were silent, you said you wanted us to have free speech.

When we are silent no more, you say we are brainwashed xenophobes.

Why do you hate us so much? we asked.

No, you answered, we don't hate you.

We don't hate you either,

But do you understand us?

Of course we do, you said,

We have AFP, CNN and BBC….

What do you really want from us?

Think hard first, then answer…

Because you only get so many chances.

Enough is enough, enough hypocrisy for this one world.

We want one world, one dream, and peace on earth.

This big blue earth is big enough for all of us.


Please send your comments to Thank you! 🙂


New new new spiritual sharings (and more to come)

12/1/10 – Fearful dreams which have the purpose of getting “more” for oneself at others’ expense never satisfy. However, all dreams, when transformed to include goals of shared peace, love, appreciation, understanding, respect and support for all of life, do satisfy.


11/30/10 – Our rational, logical brains have indispensible but highly limited utility. All quality lives and human relations are inspired and supported by helpful, loving, appreciative, accepting, intuitive, spiritual motivations and intentions that arise within.


11/29/10 – When we stop struggling to “figure out,” analyze, intellectualize and speculate on the motives, goals and purposes of others and ourselves, but instead, listen to the wisdom within us, we will feel no need to fear, judge or attack ourselves and others.


11/28/10 – We are God’s expression of consciousness, creativity and love. We are God’s hands, feet, eyes and ears. All of God’s power and knowledge lies within us. We are inseparable from God, from his wholeness, presence and power throughout all creation.


11/27/10 – We can know ourselves and others as “one” only intuitively, through loving appreciation and healing acceptance. But when we try to analyze, figure out and predict ourselves and others, we forget this oneness, and begin separating, judging and attacking.


11/26/10 – When we are feeling lost, we can remind ourselves of the peaceful goals we want, seek within for guidance in creating and experiencing the perspectives, actions, feelings, outcomes and days we want, follow our inner guidance—and let all our fears go.


11/25/10 – We can safely turn our days over to God, who already knows our deepest questions and real desires, as well as our infinite potential for creating and spreading joy, and for supporting what is alive and eternal in ourselves and in all others everywhere.


11/24/10 – All the power of God, mankind and creation is accessible within each of us. We can ask and receive understanding, answers, insights, love, joy and wisdom. Within us is God’s home, where all are one. Nothing spiritual, true, real or eternal is outside us.


11/23/10 – Our self-protective, logical, rational, defensive illusions, images, concepts, arguments, explanations, excuses, justifications and projections offer us and others only guilt and pain. They offer us nothing we could ever want, and many things we don’t.


11/22/10 – Nothing good, peaceful, useful, happy, meaningful or worthy can ever come from creating defensive, guilty, judgmental images and concepts of ourselves or others, or from guessing, projecting or analyzing our own or others’ motives or intentions.


11/21/10 – Our defensive concepts, analyses, self-images and projections set up exhausting, judgmental, false rules and realities which produce only harmful fantasies and painful guilt. We can ask to replace them with an accepting, healing spiritual vision.


11/20/10 – When we let go of demands and expectations, we allow ourselves and others to be the perfect, unique, lovable, beloved eternal creations we all are. When we live and let live, and let guilt and judgment go, we rest in loving circles of giving and receiving.


11/19/10 – Until we respond to all errors and mistakes as requests for healing and help, rather than as unforgivable sins deserving of attacks, blame, anger, judgment and retribution, we cannot know God’s eternal benevolence, forgiveness, justice and love.


11/18/10 – A good way to relate well to anyone is to establish, in advance, a peaceful, loving purpose—toward everyone. All relationships go better when founded upon a goal such as the golden rule, which derives from the gentle facets and permutations of peace.


11/17/10 – Reality is not “out there,” but “in here.” Reality is not about our bodies or a world “outside” us, but instead, the eternal, spiritual truth within us, which creates and animates all things, is the source of all life and all love, and is that which never changes.


11/15/10 – We are all fellow-travelers upon a road that is often dark and difficult. Yet we can bring light and hope and love to one another when we decide to neither lead nor follow, but to walk with one another as beloved, lovable and loving friends.


11/14/10 – We’re “wrong” when we react judgmentally, defensively, adversarially or aggressively toward others who are doing the same, and feeling “right” about it. The only “right” (and effective) response to such “wrong” is healing and help.


11/14/10 – Since no person, group, party, religion, nation or leader knows all perspectives or has all the “right” answers, “wrong” arises, not just when we make mistakes, but when we attack others for their mistakes, and thus add to the sum of the world’s injustices.


11/13/10 – Satisfying, peaceful paths are those that serve us, God and all mankind, drawing us all closer in our awareness of spiritual oneness. Efforts that compete, divide and separate, or that serve one person at the expense of another, must always disappoint.


11/12/10 – A personal self-concept must be defended, lived up to, lived down, regretted, explained, built up, grieved, avenged, elaborated upon, and consistently maintained. With no self-image, we’re free to freshly recreate all our relationships, moment-to-moment.


11/11/10 – We are on our right path, doing our highest will and God’s. All spiritual paths are confusing, difficult, boulder-strewn, filled with pitfalls and detours—and unique. Our way feels sure, clear, peaceful and safe as we let our guiding inner spirit lighten our steps.


11/10/10 – We can’t know everything, so we can’t judge others fairly; and because we can’t judge fairly, the only effective, inspiring, motivating correction we can offer is one which we would want for ourselves and our own mistakes—to love, lift and let it go.


11/9/10 – Are we lost, separate, mortal creatures in brutal natural competition with each other for survival, or are we God’s single, beloved, sacred and eternal expression, his will and reflection, perfect in oneness, diversity, uniqueness, interdependence and holiness?


11/8/10 – Our seemingly insignificant contributions, stumbling steps, counterproductive setbacks and fumbling mis-directions are our perfect, unique and indispensably holy paths to awareness, sharing and celebration of God’s oneness, forgiveness and love.


11/7/10 – When we want to say or do the right thing, calm ourselves, make a decision, find new perspectives and insights, order our priorities, be happier, understand, be better—we can go within, ask our questions, and trust the loving, peaceful answers.


11/6/10 – Our hardest lesson is to let go of our own guilt, defensiveness, mistakes, struggles, wrong assumptions, misdirected efforts, incorrigibility, anger, jealousy, resentment, weariness, despair and self-condemnation—and live fully, freely, now.


11/5/10 – We can choose to experience agelessness or aging, timelessness or time, beauty or ugliness, delight or despair, spirituality or cynicism, positivity or negativity, joy or sorrow, freedom or guilt, goodness or evil, life or death, love or fear, truth or illusion.


11/4/10 – Our daily challenges, struggles and mistakes are opportunities: to ask specific questions; pray to see things differently; receive miraculous insights, wisdom and love; and become humbled, grateful, open, accepting lifters of our fellow-travelers’ burdens.


11/3/10 – We don’t have to resolve the past or know the future. All we can ever do is live fully in the present moment, and do our very best with now—the only time we ever have to give and receive love, create, heal, forgive, cherish, lift, learn, appreciate and inspire.


11/2/10 – Physical, spiritual, individual, interpersonal and planetary health and healing are inextricably interconnected and intertwined, and always miraculously support each other, as we ask for, receive, and offer forgiveness, acceptance, love, peace and gratitude.


11/1/10 – We can accept ourselves and all others as-is, without reference to the past; or we can suffer from guilt, judgment, separation, anger, blame and attack. Self and other-acceptance are interdependent keys to all healing, peace, and creative power for good.


10/31/10 – We can see, create and extend our guilt and fear outward toward a cultural delusion of division, hate and death, or we can see and heal ourselves and all others as one eternally perfect spiritual creation, by loving unconditionally in the present moment.


10/30/10 – When we pray for peaceful solutions, when we let go of a troubled past, when we trust God to work and speak and heal and love through us, nothing is impossible.


10/29/10 – We can experience the joy and peace of God once again as we let anger and judgment go. Our sense of injustice arises from a perception of temporal separation; yet God’s justice knows and expresses creation only as one, whole, perfect and eternal will.


10/28/10 – God judges his creation, not as divided and competing, but as one, whole, inseparable, timeless good. Only this holy, all-encompassing perspective of an unconditionally-loving, eternal justice can heal our perceptions of temporal injustices.


10/27/10 – We fear chaos, insanity and meaninglessness. Yet reality, truth, purpose and hope lie, not in any past mistakes, but in humankind’s capacity to see, accept, appreciate, celebrate and love, with God, his imperfect/perfect expression/creation, right now, as-is.


10/26/10 – When we put our trust in ourselves alone, we feel neither safety nor direction nor help. When we nourish, through daily spiritual practice, our safe reliance upon God, we find strength, comfort, insight, clarity, sustenance, purpose and joy everywhere.


10/25/10 – If we are not mere bodies, but instead, eternal spirits—the will and expression of a loving God—then all pain, loss, suffering and sin are mere temporal illusions. If God is love, then so are we—blameless, unconditionally loved, and safe, now and forever.


10/24/10 – When we are harshly judging ourselves, others and the world, we can ask God to judge instead, whose judgment urges us to look and see, at every moment and in each detail, the goodness, blamelessness and sacred wholeness of his perfect expression.


10/6/10 – Our eyes and brains analyze all that seems “outside” us in terms we’ve acquired from our experiences, thought and culture. It works better to see only positive, eternal, loving reality, and not react to all the rest, which is only negative illusion.


8/22/10 – God is the power, insight and comfort in which I now receive infinite gifts of present and eternal peace, acceptance and unconditional love, and return them joyfully and serenely to that-of-God, humankind, nature and self comprising the One Self of all.


8/13/10 – The most honest and meaningful truth we can communicate on any subject always reflects our highest spiritual perspectives on the unchangeable safety, innocence, value, goodness and holiness of every single one of God’s beloved eternal beings.


8/12/10 – We can use the creative power of universal mind shared by all God’s eternal expressions to build a world of truth, beauty, love, joy and healing, and not in support of destructive cultural myths of sin, fear, guilt, despair, weakness, vengeance and evil.


8/11/10 – In all our relationships, we have daily opportunities to teach through our own words and examples—and thus simultaneously to learn and to reinforce—trust, faith, honesty, gentleness, forbearance, joy, generosity, defenselessness, patience and peace.


8/10/10 – Each of us fulfills a unique, loving, peaceful work in life which is our shared will with God, who gives us what we need to accomplish it, along with trust in our own innocence, and a sense of freedom from guilt, fear, inadequacy and defensiveness.


8/9/10 – We can give only to ourselves. Exactly how best, what, when, why, to whom, and how, each of us uniquely balances our giving, is always different for each person—and always perfect. When we feel conflicted and defensive, we’ve forgotten this.


8/8/10 – What makes everything and everyone beautiful? Recognition of the sinless innocence of everything and everyone at every present moment of eternity. It is this bountiful, unconditional forgiveness which Jesus’ life teaches, exemplifies and clarifies.


8/7/10 – The most valuable, essential lesson we can teach others is our own example of joyous, guilt-free living, which holds up a mirror for the innocence of others. The most destructive, pernicious, persistent cultural myth is the belief that being human is wrong.


8/6/10 – I gratefully accept the abundant justice of an eternity of peace and oneness with God, his ever-available gifts of comfort, strength and unconditional love, and the blessings of teaching, learning from, sharing with, and loving my eternal fellow-travelers.


8/5/10 – In the sense that we are all eternal, time doesn’t matter. But thoughtful choices about our use of time can exponentially lessen suffering and add to joy. We can seek help within to spiritually order our lives and priorities, and to know the next right thing to do.


8/4/10 – What matters? Recognition of ourselves and “others” as God’s one beloved immortal perfect innocent equal creation. What doesn’t matter? Any/every/thing else— because nothing else lasts forever. We live best in time when we remember who we are.


8/3/10 – When we’re feeling unsure about how to juggle all our imagined “competing” priorities, our guiding spirit restores our trust in God, renews our courage, strength, positivity, love and peace, and reminds us that all things work together forever for good.

July 2010's Spiritual Sharings

8/2/10 – We’re culturally programmed to react destructively, angrily, guiltily, defensively and vengefully, but we can instead go within and find the gentle, peaceful, loving, forgiving opposites to such conditioning which miraculously transform each moment.


8/1/10 – Our shared cultural judgments damn us all to a collective sense of wrongness, inadequacy, sinfulness and unworthiness, while recognition of our shared spiritual perfection, creativity, will, w/hol(i)eness and love offers all a saving release from fear.


7/31/10 – Cultural myths, like all words and symbols, are always relative. They can be rich, suggestive, poetic, powerful, helpful, revealing and inspiring, as well as confusingly and distractingly circuitous, contradictory, incoherent, destructive—and persistent.


7/30/10 – Words can usefully point to and hint at truth, but they can also obfuscate and complicate truth. Words are always relative, whereas truth is ineffable—inexpressible and incommunicable in words—as well as absolute, experiential, simple and self-evident.


7/29/10 – Words are mere human symbols, variously-defined in relation to one another, subject to arbitrary interpretation, misinterpretation, re-interpretation and twisting. Everything written and spoken is relative, whereas truth is always ineffable and absolute.


7/28/10 – Without a shared theology or belief system, we can still all joyfully join in accepting our beautiful, amazing selves, each other, and the world as-is, sensing our oneness with a timeless, powerful, loving source, and attending to our inner guide.


7/27/10 – We can buy the cultural illusion that we are deprived, cheated sufferers, cruelly and unfairly punished for unavoidable failures; or we can recognize that we are God’s one whole perfect creation, forever sharing the love and abundance of the universe.


7/26/10 – We can beneficially dedicate each day to asking our guiding spirit for loving, strengthening, helpful spiritual perspectives regarding the people, situations, questions and challenges we will encounter, pondering the answers we receive, and applying them.


7/25/10 – We can see humankind as our one self, recognize love’s shared abundance everywhere, and fulfill our only need—to extend acceptance, forgiveness and appreciation as required to gently heal all errors arising from fear of love’s insufficiency.


7/24/10 – When we ask for spiritual help in seeing any situation, issue or person differently, our limited, defensive, angry, skewed viewpoints are powerfully replaced with a helpful, peaceful, smart, thoughtful, intriguing insight which changes everything.


7/23/10 – Within us is a guiding light, a spark of divinity, that-of-God, a calm, soundless voice, a shining conscience, a comforter, sage and seer that strengthens, inspires and loves us, answers our questions, and understands all situations far better than we can.


7/22/10 – We can draw all we encounter into our circle of acceptance, appreciation, love and forgiveness for everything, past and present. As we gently welcome all who stand outside the circle, we will find ourselves drawn safely and peacefully inside it, with them.


7/21/10 – We can close our culturally-blinded, critical, defensive eyes, choose patient acceptance of our own and others’ gaps in understanding, and trust only in God’s quiet, loving judgment of our holiness (wholeness), and in the unity of our shared forgiveness.


7/20/10 – The single essential, motivating lesson we are challenged to teach, exemplify (and thus learn) is how wonderful we all are as-is—wholly lovable in our fallible human uniqueness, forever blameless, sufficient, worthy, indispensible, precious and holy.


7/19/10 – How we see others, treat others, think of others, is how we will see, treat and think of ourselves. We can remember that we are all lovable, wonderful, fallible, forgivable and very human, and that we all have forever to live, learn and love.


7/18/10 – Communication can be honest, effective and true when we ask for spiritual help—in dropping our barriers, staying in the moment, letting go of fear, getting our ego out of the way, and allowing God to express, affirm and celebrate our holy connection.


7/17/10 – God can free us of our cruel cultural illusions—of conditional love, of our own guilt, helplessness and isolation, and of a too-brief interval between birth and death spent fighting over a few unsatisfying earthly rewards and pitilessly-limited slots into heaven.


7/16/10 – What if we live forever in an abundant universe and a timeless present—perfect, undivided, loving, loved, interdependent, innocent, one with God, each other and all creation—and eternally blessed with access to God’s guidance, strength and power?


7/15/10 – We are exactly as we were forever intended to be, uniquely indispensible to God and his creation, timelessly innocent, and capable of expressing one shared perfect love and will. Yet we dream a cultural nightmare of fear, difference, guilt and chaos.


7/14/10 – We can focus our faith, commitment, time, energies and talents on recognizing, creating and fulfilling at each present moment the truth that “what-is” is good; or we can limit and postpone awareness of our own power to creatively fulfill that beautiful reality.


7/13/10 – The justice of God comprises eternal innocence in a timeless present; the gift of an amazing and abundant universe; total access to God’s love, strength, guidance, and spirit; and an eternity in which to enjoy and equally contribute to loving interdependence.


7/12/10 – When we let go of the recent and ancient past—all mistakes and regrets, both ours’ and others’, remembering only good intentions, efforts and gifts—we once again feel light, open, positive, and free to love and give again in each shining new moment.


7/11/10 – We can ask for help in letting go of our cultural focus on harmful illusions, analyses and projections of a competitive, guilty, fearful reality, and instead see everyone and everything through loving, eternal eyes—beautifully, perfectly, spiritually “as-is.”


7/10/10 – We can’t feel and express both negative and positive emotions simultaneously, but we can ask for help in releasing those fearful feelings, so as to allow room for the miraculous healing power of accepting feelings to flow through us in the present moment.


7/9/10 – Anger is a sign of guilt pangs so bad that we attempt to foist them on others by focusing on their mistakes and shortcomings, all in a foolish attempt to redirect our imagined deserved punishments and retributions for an implacable past that is … gone.


7/8/10 – When we confidently and humbly offer our unique and invaluable lives and gifts to the completion of God and his creation, assured that our contributions are as important and indispensible as everyone else’s, God responds by offering us everything, forever.


7/7/10 – We gain what we give. We can offer God’s beloved children strength, light, hope, support, healing and peace as we walk hand-in-hand along our path with them and with God, and receive, multiplied and overflowing, all the gifts that we have extended.


7/6/10 – If we want a peaceful day, we can let go of fear, and share instead God’s eternal acceptance, appreciation and unconditional love with every each of his beloved children, treating all as infinitely worthy of our deepest respect and our most loving thoughts.


7/5/10 – To see only love in ourselves, everyone else, and everything, we can let go of our defenses against it—our fearful cultural lessons, strict personal experiential rules, and every barricade, wall and fortification separating us from offering and receiving it.


7/4/10 – Moment-to-moment, we choose between love and fear. Choosing love always makes sense, because love always works in the eternal now.Choosing fear (guilt, anger, injustice, separation, vengeance, sadness, despair…) never makes sense in any context. 


7/3/10 – We cannot “fix” ourselves or anyone else, but we can choose to see everyone through loving, appreciative, forgiving eyes. When we choose to express peace, we will understand the power, vision, value, joy and clarity (for everyone) in loving choices.


7/2/10 – The body was never meant to last. Only universal mind remains forever in eternal communication with the love that is its self. Love is who we were created to be, who we are and will always be, one perfect love with God and his whole creation.


7/1/10 – When we’re afraid for others, we’re relating to them as to mere limited mortals, tragic figures bound within a brief life and a cruel death. Yet we can choose instead to joyfully communicate as peaceful eternal spirits boundlessly expressing the love of God.


6/30/10 – An instant of willingness to share God’s truth, inspiration, guidance, love, peace, light, forgiveness and joy clears away all nonsense about the past and all its guilty, angry, fearful, judgmental, divided, painful, stupid, useless “knowledge” and “lessons.”

More Spiritual Sharings

3/22/10 – Perfect peacefulness (comprising love, forgiveness, joy, and acceptance of all-that-is, all others, and oneself) is both cause and effect of spiritual wisdom, and vice-versa. Neither peace nor spiritual understanding is ever found apart from the other.


3/21/10 – When we ask our guiding spirit for another way to see all that is troubling us, and attentively await his answer, we can be sure we will always receive a brand-new, unexpected, surprising perception which will miraculously change everything.


3/20/10 – Power lies in all of us working peacefully together, and in none of us alone, because opposition weakens power, and weak power is a contradiction in terms. All that’s ever missing in any situation is our own willingness to share our love with all.


3/19/10 – Whatever thought, activity or task we do mindfully, joyfully, and in a spirit of love is a right choice, blessed by God, because we were created as one, to together create and extend love, learn and teach love, give and receive love, in all its forms.


3/18/10 – When we ask to know God’s will for us, we realize that what he wants for us is what we want—to lean upon his strength, grace and guidance, to be free from sacrifice, guilt, fear and weakness, and to be his own unique, powerful, loving expressions.


3/17/10 – When we’re feeling discouraged, we can give each one of our challenges over to God, remember that he celebrates, appreciates, loves, accepts and forgives us all unconditionally now, and begin again to faithfully accept, express and extend his love.


3/16/10 – We can give, receive, be and do more, when we seek and trust God’s guidance and miraculous outcomes, let go of guilt and fear, see only love or requests for it, and then surrender to God’s strength and healing as it works powerfully through us now.


3/15/10 – The term, “good,” comprises every expression of having, giving or receiving love, while the term, “evil,” comprises every expression of the fear of not having, giving or receiving love.


3/14/10- We can choose to joyfully contribute to God’s eternal process of creating, extending and expanding a loving spiritual reality, or stray temporarily into fearful, preoccupations; but we can change neither his outcomes nor his infinite patience.


3/13/10 – False humility is the illusion that we are weak and alone. True humility is the realization that we are powerful to the extent that we remember to ask for and rely upon God’s love, guidance and strength.


3/12/10 – Our purpose here is to share unconditional love in all its forms with all others. What should others’ purpose toward us be? We won’t ask that question anymore, when we learn to fulfill our own purpose perfectly, since we’ll already know the answer.


3/11/10 – We can’t solve our problems alone, because we’re feeling guilty, separate, inadequate, unlovable and unloving. But when we bring them openly to God, he solves them by freeing us to love ourselves and others unconditionally, as he loves all.


3/10/10 – Heaven is mindfulness, awareness and appreciation of the bountiful creation and eternal justice and love we all are and share; while hell is the misery of obliviousness to our one eternal, rich, abundant, innocent life and love, so generously given to all.


3/9/10 – We want to feel safe and loved, so we hurry to learn; but then we want to be right about what we’ve learned. Better to accept humbly how little we know, keep learning and loving, cherish our truths and welcome others’, and love the questions.


3/8/10 – Our bodies are useless for any purpose other than communicating love in all its forms. When we realize this, and when we have learned to use them only for loving, we’ll discover that we can communicate love just as freely and completely without them.


3/7/10 – To know what we “believe,” we can consider how we spend our lives. Beliefs which divide us from God and man mostly serve to depress, limit and harm us, while beliefs that draw us closer to love of God and all creation inspire joy, power and freedom.


3/6/10 – Our beliefs limit us to endure angry, fearful, separate lives weighted with guilt, resentment, hurry, competition, division, frustration, dread, suffering and despair, or they free us to celebrate joy, wholeness and peace, as one perfect, eternally-lovable creation.


3/5/10 – The eternal holy present is all there is, our only time to know God’s calming guidance, perspective and strength, our only time to live faithfully and fearlessly as innocent, loving, invaluable, beloved equals sharing peace, joy, purpose and oneness.


3/4/10 – Happiness is a choice about who we are. We can remind ourselves and others of our reality as joyful, peaceful, powerful, loving, beloved, eternal, innocent children of God, or suffer and die as hurried, vicious, vulnerable, sinful, guilty, punished mortals.


3/3/10 – We have no needs, changes or corrections to make, except to ask that God’s changeless, eternal peace and love might continuously see, greet, bless and give through us to that same changeless, eternal peace and love in others, in a limitless, endless cycle.


3/2/10 – Did a judgmental God create unequal, inadequate, guilty, helpless, miserable, doomed sinners, forever cast away from him? Or did a loving God create equal, innocent, lovable, beloved, loving, powerful, eternally joyous spirits, forever one with him?


3/1/10 – Meaning and peace always come from sharing our own unique, loving gifts with others—unless we use our gifts to gratify our egos, to inflate our little separate sense of self, or to build false concepts of superiority, specialness, difference or vindication.


2/28/10 – When we’re feeling afraid, defensive, confused, judgmental and alone, we can ask God to shine away the nothingness of our fears, and give us instead the loving, unifying perspectives which alone bring understanding and meaning to our relationships.


2/27/10 – Instead of seeing fearful, guilty, sorrowful bodies struggling toward death, we can ask to see now only the goodness, purity, innocence and eternal perfection in all, and thus remember with joy that we too are exactly as we were created and meant to be.


2/26/10 – We are boundlessly empowered when we use our unique talents, interests and abilities to support peace, healing and unity, to give and receive love and joy, and to encourage everyone else’s equal power to do the same.


2/25/10 – Relationships thrive when we recognize and appreciate one another as equally loved, innocent, eternal brothers and sisters, with no needs but to walk together in the holy present, joyfully learning, giving and receiving God’s boundless love.


2/24/10 – We are God’s expression, invulnerable in our eternal innocence and perfection, as we were meant to be. We witness our oneness when we entrust our problems, the instant they arise, to him who solves them, not with everyday illusions, but with truth.


2/23/10 – When I ask my guiding spirit to “decide for me,” I can then relax, confident that my priorities and energies will be directed thoughtfully and lovingly, and that I will have a busy, productive, peaceful day, keeping the highest interests of all in mind.


2/22/10 – Spiritual health, like physical health, thrives on discipline and vigilance. We can share God’s peace when we practice his presence, accept his love and grace, seek understanding and inspiration, and fully appreciate ourselves and all his beloved children.


2/21/10 – Peace, joy and love come to us when we share it. We can act out our cultural delusions of separation, lack, competition, pain, guilt, loss, death and retribution, or we can lovingly appreciate and enjoy our eternal oneness with God and his beloved creation.


2/20/10 – When we put all needs and all gifts under God’s guidance, and let go of everything but love—all guilt, fear, sacrifice, resentment, doubt, confusion—we can see and appreciate God in all his perfect, beloved children, and know all things are possible.


2/19/10 – At any moment, we can ask for and receive our guiding spirit’s help to see and accept ourselves and others with love, understanding and appreciation.


2/18/10 – God is one truth, one love, one meaning, one joy, one answer to all things. When we give, see, accept and love all things as he does, we will also understand and appreciate ourselves.


2/17/10 – When we ask our guiding spirit to help us stay lovingly in each present moment, we can let go of all our fears, and all negative thoughts about yesterdays and tomorrows.


2/16/10 – Our lives, as they unfold in all their beauty, complexity, pain, glory and tragedy, are God’s will, even when things seem to go wrong. Our job is to love and let-love. Our guilt and fear add nothing to life, but our love, acceptance and joy add a lot.


2/15/10 – God is the love in which I see everyone with full appreciation. I can let go of my fearful imaginings, and choose to see only through his loving, accepting, forgiving eyes all the beauty, purity and holiness that is his own beloved, eternal, perfect creation.


2/14/10 – I am God’s completion. His will and mine are the same—to share his joy and peace, not suffer pain. When I surrender to his guidance, and let him teach me to forgive, help, trust and appreciate every person in my life, I am choosing his peace and joy.


2/13/10 – God created us to learn about his love, communicate his love and extend his love, Nothing else matters or lasts. When we lose our way, God merely waits patiently for our return, saving all his love for us all, eternally.


2/12/10 – When we feel separated from others—attacked, unappreciated, resentful—we can remember to seek within the calm, certain reassurance of our shared spiritual reality as one eternal creation, one gift, one mind, one truth, one purpose, one love.


2/11/10 – There is never a shortage of love in any person or situation, but sometimes we let fear, guilt and judgment crowd love out. We can look at, and then surrender, all such concerns to God, who remembers that nothing except love matters, or means anything.


Metaphorical Mystical Spring

Wallowing in winter’s woes is so addictive. Sometimes it seems life will never change, things will never get better, we won’t ever improve. March lions look back at us ominously as they depart, tails lashing, mouths dripping with blood. As we grope for ways to ease past losses, our bleary eyes may see only the faded evidence of passing winter, only bare black branches crossing dirty snow, too-recent reminders that there is a time for dying, and the Lord indeed taketh away.


But babbling and burbling, surging and burgeoning, importunate idiot spring insists we wake up now to springtime’s morning, that we set about now to recycle new selves from old. Kicking us out of hibernation, spring slaps us silly, shakes off our inertia and bad habits, wakes up our slushy sap, pulls us up out of past muck by our own muddy bootstraps, and stirs our clods to go outside and just do it.


“Triumph Tulips” really do triumph over Old Man Winter, while old irritating Mister Smiley-Sun lingers longer, warming us to new energy, new meanings and purpose. Frozen sloughs of mental and emotional despond thaw in spring, clarifying into watery resolution. Spring has the audacity to demand we dive back into the cold waters of life that cleanse and replenish, and splash around.


Spring offers us a mustard-seed faith that can’t quite remember what it knows or why it knows it, that isn’t even sure it does know, but acts instinctively as if it did. Spring is that swelling, blooming seed rising, blossoming into I-can-do-it, I can learn it, achieve it, move past it, live life again.


Spring forces us to see, if only from the corners of sleepy eyes, the first fine frills of coreopsis feathering up through bare sticks; baby buds of lilacs, magnolias, forsythia, pussy willows, and dogwood; the fat impertinent baby-grapes of hyacinths, the raspberry popsicles of promised peonies poking us to wake up too. Spring’s heavy-lifting builds up our faith, stone by stone, strengthening our belief in new hope, new opportunities, and new forgiveness.


Spring flatly refuses to allow anyone to miss twitterpation’s anticipation of the first robins, bunnies, crocuses, daffodils, and witch hazel. A whisper…then a hum…then a chorus of celebration, and a great hallelujah spring-shout–Look at me! Look at me!


Spring is so profligate we can’t help finally remembering that the Lord also giveth abundantly and eternally.


We know again in spring that our loved ones will come home safely, God will bless America, we will find manna to feed the hungry. For there is a time for living too, even in war-torn Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Palestine/Israel, where Christians celebrate resurrection's promise while Muslim's spring holiday of Noruz affirms once again that neither earthquakes nor explosions nor tsunamis nor terrorism nor war nor hate nor fear can ever separate any of God’s eternal children from their bountiful Creator’s love.


Spring tells us to watch and wait, and have faith, for joy has come again, though winter has been long and it’s been dark in the long night of the garden, dark waiting beside the tomb. Watch for, wait for the faint first signs of the promised rebirth, for the return of the light, the resurrection of earth’s yearly lyrical miracle.


Watch and wait, and have faith.

A Very Good Save-the-World Software Development Idea. Please Help Yourself! :-)

Will some brilliant programmer please step up and design a google-type software program that can linguistically analyze and determine a speaker/writer’s cooperative tone and intent?


Your new program could identify and distinguish among those writers/speakers whose communications promote a sense of division, partisanship, negativity, polarization, blame, attack, incivility, rudeness, destructiveness, unfriendly competition, bickering and hate—and those promoting a sense of positivity, creativity, life-affirmation, support, harmony, acceptance, forgiveness, productivity, civility, courtesy, equality of opportunity, caring, cooperation and unity.


Your software could have endless useful and profitable applications. For immediate profitability, please consider using your product for security purposes, to helpfully ward off unfriendly attacks and attackers (of whatever kind) upon individuals and enterprises (of whatever kind.)


Imagine leaders young and old in every field vying for their communications to be screened and certified via your software. Why not simultaneously award a “Truth-bearer” (or some other such logo) “gold seal of approval” identifying individuals and organizations as positive communicators, healers, light-bearers?


Your prestigious and desirable software “accreditation” could motivate many people to investigate and understand the important distinctions between peaceful and contentious communication purposes, and to recognize and encourage humanity-unifying goals as non-threatening and potentially beneficial to all earthlings, while discouraging communications with adversarial, hostile ends. Your software would also surely stoke national dialogue, while heightening awareness about the many distinct (although often confusingly-disguised) differences between helpful and harmful human communications. Your software would take care not to exclude any gentle, friendly, cooperative practitioner of any ideology, religion, political party, nation, organization, affiliation, etc.


One important goal of your software would be to educate. Hopefully, everyone would eventually become enlightened enough to merit universal inclusivity (by acting as good, positive communicators) according to your accrediting software, which might also be developed Wikipedically, or perhaps Amazon-style—i.e., open-sourced, by inviting motivated reviewers and voters opportunities not only to build your site, but also to offer feedback opportunities and provide needed talent to shape and debug upgrades and develop next-generation software.


Recipients of your approving nods (such as Nobel prize winners and mild-mannered third-graders) could proudly display and announce their cherished new affiliation and certification on their websites, on Facebook, business cards, in TV commercials and advertising, on coffee cups, tee-shirts, shopping bags….


Additionally, your software could assist web surfers to more-judiciously select helpfully-screened websites, products and opinions as the very ones they will most benefit from investigating. Perhaps your software could also eventually include a function which would recognize and refute inappropriate co-opters of your symbol of acceptance and stamp of approval—an iterative process that would call out abusers while encouraging more awareness and discussion.


Your software will stimulate lively dialogue; increase the impact and number of creative, thought-provoking, and controversial-but-civil exchanges; reduce (by virtue of indifference and neglect) the quantity and influence of divisive communications arising anywhere in the world; universally improve facility in verbal and mental processing of complexities, innuendo and nuances; and inspire us all to pull together cooperatively to resolve our common personal, local and global problems.


While you're programming, please give extra points for humor?


And if you're not a programmer, but merely a earthlinged, godlinged promosapient like me, please pass this idea on to any similarly-inclined programming/software folk or foundations, or to whomever might be interested!


Thank you…. 🙂


Nancy Pace




















































































Justice and Peace Are One Path

Peace and justice nourish one another, sharing their hope for non-violence and their concern for the interests of others. Wherever exploitation and oppression are ignored, peace and justice are illusive; wherever respect and support for human life become priorities, peace and justice are reborn.


Rule-of-law and justice are not always the same. Hopeless citizens who despair of working out their life-and-death issues within unjust legal, economic and political frameworks sometimes turn to crime, terrorism, and war. What goes around comes around. Those who work for equal opportunity and peace lift up their own lives with the lives of others, growing in understanding and acceptance of human difference, and increasing the sum of peace and justice.


The Golden Rule, the historical foundation for all moral and legal systems, and the basis for the “liberty and justice for all” to which we pledge allegiance, works so well because treating others as you wish to be treated becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Peace and justice are among the highest ideals and values enshrined in our proud founding documents, which extend equal protection for the peaceful, equitable goals of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” even to “the least of these”—children, the elderly, sick, needy and handicapped, and all who struggle to rise from historical discrimination.


Angry media xenophobes and demagogues try to scare us into believing that the world is divided into a tiny deserving few of “us” vs. a vast faceless, threatening, undeserving “them,” urging us to abandon the goal of peace and justice for all, and to put power and wealth in the hands of a few self-interested fear-mongers who guilefully “guarantee” safety through militarism. Offering the opposite message are the great leaders of our past and present, urging us to love and help one another, to give and forgive, to risk peace instead of war, and to work together for respectful, supportive conditions valuing the sanctity of human life everywhere. Truly, we cannot avoid all injustice, but we can avoid adding to its sum.


Justice implies neutrality and fairness, but no judges are completely unbiased. We all see the world uniquely, based on our different backgrounds. In the face of the same legal arguments, natural, unavoidable bias is evident in the many disagreements among even our rigorously-selected highest justices.


Our current justices’ life experiences are for the most part grounded in privilege and wealth. A more balanced Supreme Court would include justices whose lives reflect struggles against prejudice, poverty or disadvantage, since, in common law legal systems like our own, justices at times “make the law” by overturning precedents, regulations and legislation, with immense implications for future generations.


Clearly we need to appoint judges with sterling records of excellence and impartiality. President Obama hopes also to nominate Supreme Court justices with a sense of what real-world folks go through, who know what it is to be a teenage mom or to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old, to have the system not work for you, to be vulnerable in the political process—an outsider, a minority, someone without a lot of clout.


In the five percent of hard cases where the legal language is not perfectly clear, and where legal procedures alone can’t lead to a rule of decision, President Obama believes that the critical ingredient is supplied by what is in a judge’s heart. May we find the peace and justice we seek there, and together with our good president, continue to nurture peace and justice in our own hearts, in our families, communities, businesses, schools, courts, churches and government, and in all our relationships with others throughout the world.



Please send questions and comments to Thank you!

My Local Newspaper Slammed Terrorism, But Did Not Condemn War

In reference to your February 18th editorial, “Terrifying Reminder,” war harms millions more innocents than terrorism does, so can we save some of our righteous indignation for war, too? Grieving victims of all forms of violence, including war, always ask the same sad questions without answers: “What was my son’s fault? What did he do? What kind of belief system do these people have?”


To all war’s victims on all sides—dead soldiers and their broken-hearted families, the maimed and their caretakers, all whose love, energy, money and talents are wasted on destruction—war is as senseless and cruel as terrorism. Mayhem that destroys and terrifies cannot be justified by any political or religious ends, and is something that all people everywhere should be deeply suspicious of and resistant to. We cannot prevent all injustices, but we can avoid adding to their sum.


Please, instead of terrorizing us into putting our faith in violence, tell us about the many around the globe working selflessly to uphold our highest values through difficult and courageous interfaith, humanitarian and diplomatic efforts.


Global cooperation isn’t simple, obvious or guaranteed, but it is the most thoughtful and safest political course, and the only one with any chance of succeeding.


(To the many later letters that arrived online reminding me of how naive and stupid I was to write the above letter, I responded online with the following:)


I am not yet a pacifist, but I have observed that, too often, politicians who see conflicts primarily in terms of military solutions are elected with the money and support of those who profit from war. I hope to persuade voters to elect/support leaders who understand and consider the tragic costs of war for all involved, leaders who are less likely to abuse great power, and who have a record of seeking peaceful win-win compromises, accepting different points of view, and maintaining positive relations. My letter was intended to emphasize that we must consider war just as bad, in its effects on human beings, as terrorism (which is true), and because of the numbers involved, even worse…and so, equally to be avoided.


We have forgotten what it is like to have war in our own land. Sadly, during this century, many U.S. leaders have used war/our military forces to further perceived national interests, offering flag-waving rationales, and have not used war as a last resort, for defense only.


I love my country, so I work hard to promote peaceful viewpoints, not wanting us to lose our global reputation, acquire more deadly enemies, spend ourselves into disastrous economic situations, or blight the lives of millions here and elsewhere on unneccessary wars that achieve little.


Read Obama's courageous pre-Iraq-war speech against the war (or mine, published in the weeks after 9/11 in the Frederick News Post, listing similar arguments, if less eloquently) and you will see that many protesters and leaders DID know, even if you didn't, exactly why it was not a good idea to go to war….


There were better solutions, but not ones as profitable and attractive to those making the decisions (like Cheney). Some well-intentioned leaders, like George W. Bush, were convinced by bad intelligence combined with simplism (simplisticism? I'm trying to make up a new word that is the opposite of complexity. Simplixity?) that they had no choice, but many of us never believed that particular “intelligence” to begin with, for innumerable good reasons, and we wanted more questions asked. Unfortunately, our fellow-citizens elected and listened to hair-trigger, militaristic and misguided politicians.


All I'm saying is–let's not do that anymore! Let's elect thoughtful, informed leaders…. And let's not do anything to any other country that we, were we a less-powerful country, would not want done to us; even if we think such approaches are in “our interest,” they are immoral. Nobody likes having their country invaded and occupied; nobody likes outsiders telling them how to live. That's why we have our military forces, and only for that reason–to defend our country.


In all conflicts, we need to be careful of using double standards–one standard for what's OK for the U.S. and a different one for “the rest” of the world.

Dialogue and Discernment

President Obama’s recent disclosure of secret memos has stirred up national debate on torture, just as his previous openness to honest dialogue inspired widespread discussion—and enlightenment—on such prickly subjects as racism, patriotism, hope, secrecy, enemies, extremism, power, culture, diplomacy, and faith.


Obama’s courageous commitment to transparent government, and the inevitable media discussions that ensue, will only deepen our national appreciation of the intricacies and nuances of crucial, complicated subjects too often seen in simplistic, black-and-white terms.


For instance, thanks to our current civic dialogue on torture, we now realize that the decision to torture, like the decision to go to war, only seems “simple” when we see “others” as “not-us,” “different,” and in terms of “us/them;” the decision to torture is infinitely more complicated when we view all people as valuable, “us,” “ours,” one community. We’ve also learned that torture undermines founding American principles of respect and support for human life, is often counterproductive, ineffective, unreliable, and misleading, endangers our own imprisoned soldiers, weakens our alliances, and creates endless new enemies.


Future Obama revelations and their associated public conversations may again leave us chastened, but newfound humility is a small price to pay for a priceless understanding of complexity, values, and peace.



I sent this letter-to-the-editor to the Frederick News-Post a few weeks back but it was not printed…. 🙂