It’s easy to be a pacifist when you are not being attacked. But when you take a right cross to the chops it’s not easy to turn the other cheek. In fact, for most of us, it’s impossible. We hit back before we know it, and we hit even harder because we feel so much resentment at the injustice of the attack.
I guess that’s one of the points President Obama was making as he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo yesterday. He said there’s evil in this world and sometimes the wrongdoers do not respond to kindness. In that case, what’s a leader of the free world to do? The only alternative, as Obama sees it, is war.
Jesus said otherwise, of course. He urged us to love our enemies and give them even more than they seek to take from us. But like most people, I find this hard to accept. I am intrigued by the idea of overcoming violence by love and wisdom, but as a last resort, give me Kwai Chang Caine in “Kung Fu.” After you have yielded and reasoned and refused to be provoked over and over and over, how gratifying it is to toss your tormentor over your shoulder and pin him to the ground with your knee.
If only life were like the “Kung Fu” series that was so popular back in the early Seventies, before the Bush doctrine and the rise of the neocons. In those days, you could see the late David Carradine’s character as a metaphor for the mighty USA, peace-loving but indomitable, walking softly but carrying a big stick – or in Kwai Chang Caine’s case, an array of almost supernatural skills.
But there was Vietnam. There, the indomitable USA turned out to be a myth. The pesky North Vietnamese refused to be pinned to the ground by Uncle Sam’s mighty knee. They squirmed free again and again and poked him in the eye. Eventually, Uncle Sam had to slink home and leave Vietnam to the Vietnamese.
The nuclear deterrent turned out to be a Pandora’s box that could not be opened. The vast amount of money spent on ICBMs is to no avail. They cannot be used, after all. The mightiest nations must rely on the same weapons that guerrilla fighters possess and get down in the mud and the rubble to grapple with them hand to hand. There are no kung fu warriors, no ninjas to subdue the enemy with effortless style. Just bombs and bullets and boots on the ground. Tramp, tramp, tramp, the boys (and girls) are marching… through fields mined with improvised explosive devices, along roads that could explode at any moment, watched by hidden eyes and targeted by unidentifiable attackers.
Perhaps this is no time for dreamers. There are people out there who hate Americans and Europeans and just about everybody but followers of their bloodthirsty jihad. I don’t see how they could be loved into submission. They don’t want affection or understanding, wealth or luxury, even food or drink. They want world domination. They will not stop until you do what they want you to do, no questions asked.
Without Kwai Chang Caine to throw them over his shoulder and pin them to the ground with his knee, we’re left with those boys and girls tramping through the mud and the dust, climbing over the rocks, firing at unseen targets, getting blown to bits…
If I were President Obama, I would bring them home – all of them. I would depend on unmanned “drones” to do any fighting that has to be done, even though that would probably mean the massacre of innocent women and children who have nothing to do with jihad.
Of course, that would not be Christian. It would not be humane. And it would do nothing for the people who have been unjustly subjugated by the agents of evil, the women of Afghanistan for example. The world expects more from the United States and its allies.
Fortunately, I am not the leader of the free world. That’s Obama’s job.