I've been watching with more and more despair of late as the news just gets worse in Iraq. Even hawks like Henry Kissinger have come to the conclusion that we cannot "win" there while at the same time more and more are fearing that if we leave, we will see a firestorm overtake the Middle East. That of course leaves a wonderful option... continue to send young men and women to die or be maimed with no reasonable goal in mind. And none of it needed to happen!
I think the situation underscores my belief that our leaders are approaching the current world with a mindset that has its roots in a past long since gone. Warfare does not look like it did during WWII. In a time when one independent terrorist cell can turn the world upside down, it is silly to think that a large army or airforce can go in, do its thing, and force an enemy to sign a peace treaty and then see it kept. It just doesn't work that way anymore. Putting huge resources into the military will not make us more secure in this day and age. Supporting tyrants like Saddam will only come back to bite us. We must work for a more stable and egalitarian economy around the world so everyday people have something to preserve. We must work to understand those with whom we disagree and we must learn to appreciate their perspectives even when we do not agree. We must learn to talk, talk, talk, and then talk some more. And we must learn to build large and far-ranging alliances. The world must want to be our friend rather than fear being our enemy.
More than ever before, we need a national Peace College to train leaders to make peace and we need to place at least equal the resources there that we put into our military academies.