A Plea For Brotherly Love

Spreading freedom and democracy in the world: Is that what we are doing? I was in Iraq in 2009, as a part of the last Marine combat unit to be deployed there. I saw no seed of freedom and democracy there. I saw only commercialism and consumerism bastardizing an ancient culture. I saw no freedom being exercised, only a quiet burning resentment of our presence and a populace waiting for us to leave so they can resume their centuries old feud. Thousands of our very best and brightest have died for a fight that, we see now, cannot be won through military might.

Now we want to go to Iran? I consider it my right as an American, and my responsibility as first-hand observer of our "war on terror" and a member of the unspoken fraternity of combat veterans to warn you, the citizens of America and the next generation of warriors, of the folly of undertaking this fatal endeavor. America's soul cannot survive another unjust, illegitimate, and morally reprehensible conflict.

Will you subject your sons and daughters, your neighbors and friends and your brothers and sisters to the horror of fighting a hopeless and pointless war? Will you be able to endure caring for their shattered minds, bodies, and souls knowing that you were the ones who sent them into this reprehensible crucible of moral confliction? Will you be the executioner of America's most promising generation? Will you blindly beat the war drum with your already bloodied hands?

Or will you be ones, the great ones in history who seized upon the unprecedented opportunity to heal wounds and build bridges. Will you take a moment to look into your perceived enemy's eyes and see a human there?

To those still serving, you have eyes, and ears, and a voice. You are bound by oath and honor to serve our nation in whatever capacity it requires of you, but you still have a right to help choose our battles wisely. I beg of you to use that right in an appropriate manner. You are still Americans, you are still citizens.

We claim to be a nation of superior moral and civic responsibility and liberty, and yet if you take a step backwards and look around, you'll see that we fall far short of many other nations in that respect. We have fallen away from the guiding light of our founding principles and are flailing in the dark, falling prey to fear.

I ask you to require truth from your leaders and from your fellow Americans, and not reject someone's truth if at first it seems too harsh, too starkly contrasted from your own ideas. Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives... can't we all agree that protecting liberty and fostering moral and civic responsibility should be the first aim of every American? You will be suprised how many walls you thought were insurmountable that will simply disappear if we look through the eyes of our neighbors for just a moment.

Or will you beat your war drum, your party drum, your race drum, your class drum, and forget that under all that drumming there is a single, quiet voice speaking simple words: "Love thy neighbor as thyself."

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's 
eye.- Matthew 5:7