A Vietnam Vet on the Way of Peace

It is an old message in keeping with the season. This is the way of peace:overcome evil with good, hatred with love and falsehood with truth. These are words familiar to many. It is what Jesus taught.

These are words we expect Jesus to say, right? Are they just idealistic rhetoric, readily dismissed as impractical? So it would seem. Governments ignore them. The question still remains what did he understand about the way things work that we do not yet understand?

In our immaturity, we have followed the war way justifying killings with more killings–the end justifies the means. There are many examples. the newest are assassinations using our “techno” prowess with unmanned Predator spy planes to kill our “terrorist enemies.” We use labels to depersonalize the other. After all, terrorists have killed some of our own. We must kill them before they kill us, so the rationale goes, justifying any means we choose to kill “the enemy.” Overcoming evil with more evil will not result in a good end. We only create more terrorists.

We used depleted uranium shells in the Gulf War, poisoning the environment where they were used for years beyond counting. Their use and wide dispersal is a suspected cause of the higher cancer rated among Gulf War veterans as well as a higher incidence of birth deformities being seen in the children of southern Iraq. An evil means with an abominable end. The means determines the end. The end justifies the means philosophy is a prescription for an endless cycle of wars that squander the human and finite resources of the planet.

We have not yet learned that what we give another we give to ourselves. This is the Golden Rule principle. There is no separation between any of us in a spiritual sense. Evil cannot be overcome by more evil. Only a good means will result in a good end. This is the way the Universe works–a prescription for peace and harmony that Jesus understood and taught.

We have only to look at the Israeli/Palestinian conflict to observe the truth that war does not work. Violence is its own reward. Only a just peace that forsakes violence will work. Yet America follows a similar well-worm path which will only bring us more grief and not the peaceful future we desire. It is the war way, the way of blood and tears, littered with corpses of the dead, not the extraordinary or visionary path that will lead us to a sustainable peace and bright future.

Jesus did not say that overcoming evil with good would be easy or that to get there might require great courage and sacrifice. After all, Jesus gave his life to show us love’s way. It is our only hope of transforming an enemy into a friend. When we follow the war way we are out of harmony with God’s way and suffer the consequences.

Fear is our greatest enemy. Fear builds missile defense systems, fear makes war, fear creates a Homeland Security Department eroding our freedoms, Fear brings us closer to fiscal and spiritual bankruptcy than lasting peace. We address symptoms of problems not cause that is fundamentally spiritual. The governing principles of the Universe are love and goodness that we have chosen to ignore. We build “fortress America” deluding ourselves into believing this is the way to a secure and peaceful future. All the while we are more like lemmings stampeding towards a cliff, unaware of imminent disaster.

Peacemaking must first begin with our self. There is goodness in each of us, a higher self, a bit of diving programming–the Kingdom of God within, apart from our false or ego self. Not one has come to life without purpose. Popular culture would have one believe we are our bodies but we are spiritual beings with a perishable shell. The Prince of Peace taught the way to inner peace through denial of the false self and seeking after God.

Wars will be impossible when many more have found inner peace and reflect that light into our troubled world. In the words of Robert Frost “…and I, I took the road less traveled by and that has made all the difference.” Good will prevail in the end. When depends on us. It remains for us to choose divine power–love over war–and create peace on Earth and goodwill towards all.

Don Ross, Viet Nam veteran, former bush pilot and longtime resident of Fairbanks, Alaska. He can be reached at: ross@counterpunch.org