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When you lose, you win

I want to talk a bit more about my article on Forgiveness. It was written with a certain message, which, I suspect, wasn’t that clear. So I want to add this to it, but in a separate post, since this message is more direct. I hope it’s more clear as well.

To provide a different perspective to the topic of America vs. terrorism, let’s think about it like this. Terrorists are against America because they believe that American foreign policy interferes with their countries and their religion. They are fighting to get America out of their countries. In response to the terrorists’ attacks against American interests, America feels forced to retaliate in return, and increase their presence in the countries of those terrorists. This only inflames the terrorists even more, who use this to further their cause and to recruit more people who are drastically affected by America’s actions within their countries. The cycle of violence and revenge continues.

Now, politicians are, generally, a reflection of the will of the people. The reason they are elected and empowered to carry out their policies is because, generally, they are carrying out the wishes of the people who voted them in and who continue supporting them. If the politicians decide to retaliate against perceived injustice, it’s because they are reflecting the desire to retaliate by the people they are leading. Realistically, if the people didn’t want it, the politicians wouldn’t do it.

When the World Trade Center (WTC) was attacked and destroyed, the American people wanted revenge. The politicians went along with the will of the people, and Afghanistan and Iraq were attacked and occupied by American forces. And yet, the attack on the WTC was, in itself, revenge by Islamists against previous actions by America within Middle Eastern countries. They wanted America out, which America was refusing to do. Therefore these people considered America as an occupying force, and so they considered themselves to be at war, with the result being the attacks on the USS Cole, the WTC and the Pentagon.

It is the will of the people that the cycle continues, while understanding and forgiveness are alien concepts that are completely ignored and rejected.

Now imagine this scenario.

Imagine that the people of America, generally, decide that forgiveness is the best policy. They choose to forgive the Islamic world for the terrorist attacks against America, and they try and understand the origin of the attacks, and the anger by the Islamists. In their attempts to understand the origins of this anger, the Americans learn that the Islamists are simply defending their interests – just like the Americans are. The Americans, realising that they themselves were the cause of the attacks against them, forgive the Islamists for their actions, understanding completely where they’re coming from. They demand from their politicians that they withdraw the military and other disruptive agents from those Islamic countries, and let the Islamists live the lives that they want to live.

The politicians, needing to cater to the wishes of the people in order to stay in power, eventually do just that. America withdraws from interfering in Islamic affairs, and the terrorists no longer have any reason to attack America, since ‘they won’.

The prideful desire to win a war will only continue the war until ‘victory is achieved’. This has a significant problem when the enemy is only a vague concept of terrorism and terrorists. Terrorists are mostly ordinary people, driven to violence by what they perceive as injustice being done to them, their people and their country. There is no way to win such a war, as the more of these ‘terrorists’ that are killed, the more it inspires the survivors to avenge the deaths of their loved ones, their families and their friends.

This is their perception. Now imagine their perception when the people of America, and as a result, its politicians, withdraw from the Middle Eastern countries. The Islamists won. They forced America to withdraw, and now the war is over. There is nothing left to fight for. And what’s this? Oh my… Americans asking for forgiveness? Americans now saying that they understand what happened was a terrible thing done against them, by horrendous US foreign policy?

The prideful desire to win a war will only cause untold deaths and destruction. Letting go of pride, and taking on forgiveness, can only create a ‘win-win solution’ to everyone. (Except for the prideful, of course, who find it more important to have their pride satisfied, regardless of how many people die.) The war ends. Death and destruction ends. The way is paved for co-operation, understanding, and forgiveness – from both sides.

Of course, this particular scenario, while it might happen, certainly won’t under the current conditions. It would take a social revolution within America to get their attitudes changed from demanding revenge, to demanding peace. There are too many Christian fundamentalists fanning the flames of religious persecution, citing Islam as a threat to the entire world. There are too many people willing to blindly follow what their leaders tell them, without thinking of the consequences of their actions, and without thinking of why things became this way in the first place.

Only when a ‘critical mass’ of American people begin questioning their religious and their political leaders will these changes begin happening.

Christianity, in the form of the teachings of Jesus, teaches forgiveness. Where is this forgiveness, this desire to ‘get along with our fellow man’, amongst those Christians today? Jesus was able to forgive those who were directly involved in his death, because they ‘know not what they do’. We – you – need to try and forgive, to understand, and to move on with these new attitudes, to end the war and move on with peace.

When you choose to lose, you win.

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