If there is one thing that intelligent people of conscience should agree on, it's that we should avoid war at all costs. No single event or governmental policy can be more destructive to life on this planet than war. Regardless of race, creed, political persuasion, all sane people should oppose war whenever it is possible because war is catastrophic. It is barbaric, cruel, fruitless, and ultimately, self-perpetuating.
I hope that, despite how divided America currently is, we can agree on that point.
I write this because of the recent assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, an event which may provoke a war between the U.S. and Iran. I don't sympathize with the oppressive Iranian regime in any way; I simply oppose going to war with them.
If the past two decades have taught the world anything about U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, it's that going to war is an egregious blunder. President Bush's invasion of Iraq has been a 17-year nightmare that destroyed a nation, killed and displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians, and contributed to the birth of ISIS. Going to war with yet another country in that region is a terrible proposition, and unfortunately, a genuine possibility.
I sincerely hope that in several months I look back on this blog post and laugh at how unnecessarily worried I was today. But, based upon America's current political climate, I fear that this will not be the case. Rather, that in the short future we will look back on events of the coming weeks and wonder, "How did we allow this to happen? How did we wind up in yet another war?"
The sad and yet encouraging fact that history teaches us is that war is preventable. We don't need the advantage of hindsight to identify the tell-tale indicators that lead to conflict between nations. We simply need to be committed to finding an alternative to bloodshed, which often means the uncomfortable act of swallowing our national pride and devoting ourselves to the ingratiating, ignoble reality of diplomacy and compromise, rather than resorting to violence.
Regardless of whether you believe that this provocation with Iran is a tool for the Trump administration to distract the world from his impeachment hearings or a way to galvanize his political base, we should regard it as a genuine possibility to go to real war, in which real people will die.
17 years after the terrible decision to invade Iraq, it's time that America learns from its mistakes and avoids going to war again at all costs.
This is not a rant against American aggression or failed foreign policy; it's a plea to all people of conscience to oppose war. I'm afraid to check today's headlines for fear of how Iran might retaliate, and just as importantly, how America will greet that hostile response with open arms.
Whether you are a Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jew, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, humanist, or atheist, Republican or Democrat, it is our responsibility as sensible beings to oppose war whenever possible.
This is that moment.