Editor's Choice Archive 2

War and a Moment of Truth

By Patricia Keegan

We are standing in a moment. This moment is like a small island in the midst of a swiftly flowing river. We can get swept along in a rumbling tide of ignominy, or we can secure our stance and hold steadfastly to our values.

Although we may not be aware of it, ever since September 11, 2001, each and every one of us has taken one step closer to our fellow human beings, both here in the U.S. and throughout the world. This step, hard to define -- a mixture of fear, compassion and empathy -- has the potential to lift us up, to enlighten our common understanding, and to crack open the shell that has historically kept us from seeing the world as one heartbeat. One heart, through which when pain flows, affects all hearts. The pain of the utter futility of war flows through the hearts of most Europeans who have suffered the destruction of two world wars in the first half of the 20th century. Europeans are standing in this moment saying, “There has to be a better way.” Many Americans also realize that neither revenge nor violence is the answer. Their numbers are growing.

If in this moment, we view the world as one vibrant, living planet, populated by a huge majority of decent people, just wanting peace in their land, then there is hope!

We live in a time when all the dreams of humankind can be realized, when we produce enough to replenish the world’s table for everybody, when war has become unnecessary because technical progress can give a country more wealth than territorial conquest. In this moment, the world is in the process of becoming more unified. Education and information technology have propelled us to new levels of connection and understanding, and have cut through the sense of detachment regarding our fellow travelers on this planet. The tides are pressing us toward enlightenment, optimism and solidarity. We are striving for love, justice and truth. We are awakening to a new global consciousness. It is all there, it is bubbling beneath the surface. The voices that want to raise us up toward a new enlightenment are driven by the struggle against opposite forces that want to squeeze us down and make us believe in our own regression.

We in the western world, coming from a position of abundance, are compelled to move away from the “primitive.” Military force in solving problems is not a viable solution. Unless we want deep and irrevocable lacerations in the world, and in our relationship with allies, the U.S. must avidly search for creative ways to deal with countries dubbed “Axis of Evil.” War, as an answer, is itself evil. How can war be anything but evil when thousands of innocents get killed?

Coming from abundance, the US must look realistically at all levels of development in each of the three countries President Bush labels “Axis of Evil.” We have to look closely at their history, not with a jaundiced eye, but with some faith in our own ability to work through each of the presenting problems, not as an enemy, but as a concerned partner living together on a fragile planet. This can only be achieved through dialogue, and through support for the efforts of the United Nations.

If, in this moment, at the brink of war, we could change course and open the way for enlightenment of the global mind, we could ignite that sense of optimism -- a prerequisite for the world to function successfully.