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Creativity in Conflict

October 8, 2014

We are at conflict with another terrorist organization again. Imagine that! Despite all the promises to reduce conflict, the current administration has led us into another precarious conflict. Is this conflict just and necessary? Who knows – and I do not intent to discuss that here.

Instead, I am going to discuss the lack of creativity in our international conflicts. It seems that bombers and drones are the reflexive answer to every heinous act perpetrated by any organization that can be considered a terrorist organization. Someone I know put it this way, “sometimes when you have a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.”

What are other options for our nation as we deal with the terrorists of the world? Could we withdraw from the Middle East and protect our homeland better? If we were no longer in the Middle East they cannot make that their reason to attack us. In turn, we would protect our homeland and shore up our national borders. We would be better protected here. Then if they attacked us here we could honestly say it was unprovoked because we were just sitting at home protecting ourselves.

This is just one idea off the top of my head. Get some people together and really examine the possibilities. But don’t just get military generals and politicians. Get the philosopher and the theologian, the teacher and the scientist. Get the homemaker and the undertaker, the veteran and protestor. Get diverse. Think diverse. Only then may we come up with a lasting, creative, and bold solution to this cycle of madness.

  1. Thanks for your invitation for “creative” responses to the latest terror threats. I do not see withdrawal from the Middle East as a workable (or perhaps even possible) solution. With all of the current military bases, private contracts, assets invested in ME corporations, etc. it is quite complicated. In addition, many would argue that the current ISIS threat is the RESULT of the fact that the US withdrew from Iraq when the results of the 2007 surge had brought stability, but we didn’t leave in place the means of nurturing the peace among Islamic factions to sustain it. The issue seems to be whether America can any longer be a legitimate (though not perfect) force and voice for moral clarity in the world. Our current leadership has joined the chorus of US-bashing even (and often especially) when overseas, and it doesn’t offer any encouraging, shepherding of concerned Americans who are left frustrated and lacking enough patriotism to know what direction we should take. No, I’m all for “creativity” but it must be based on “constitution,” “commitment,” and “courage” to keep our word when America makes a commitment–e.g. we’ve let the Kurds down at least twice when we had promised help (once under Bush senior) and another time in the latest promise to provide adequate air support. Some young Americans looking for “commitment” and “courage” they can trust are so discouraged, they give in to the temptation of seeking passion and adventure by enlisting with ISIS. Thanks, Glen, and I’d appreciate your thoughts.

    • I will agree that this is a complex issue. The military-industrial complex has a vested interest, and lobbyists to back it, in an ever preset threat. If we took a more defensive stance they most likely lose billions of dollars.

      It also seems that leaders who have served in the military, especially combat veterans, have a tendency to look beyond armed conflict for a solution – think Dwight Eisenhower. They will go into a conflict if, and only if, it is absolutely necessary. Many leaders in this era are deprived of the knowledge that comes through serving their county. To put it in an western movie phrase, “they are a little quick to the trigger.”

      As far as the current situation. Did we create it by being there or by leaving there. Or was this an inevitable development regardless if we were ever present?

      I just think we, as the church, have become lazy in our role as peacemakers. We have become cheerleaders of government and conflict. We need to reenter the old tasks of critical thought and relearn how to ask tough questions of our government.

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