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Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Written by: Rick Staggenborg, MD on Dec 26, 2009 6:24 AM PST

This essay is dedicated to my new friend Maiysha Myshere, who reminded me that true Soldiers For Peace must never act out of anger, but with the most perfect love we can muster. Only by forgiving those who have wronged us and our loved ones can we succeed in our mission to re-create the family of Mankind and unite the world in the cause of peace and justice. 

I therefore resolve this year  to forgive the chief architect of America’s near-destruction, Dick Cheney. When his sick heart finally gives out and he gives up the ghost, may his soul rest in peace after facing the judgment of a loving God that I believe in my heart exists.

The soldier who kills in anger is the one who has the hardest time forgiving himself when the heat of the battle ends and he returns to society. It is impossible for any feeling person to escape feeling guilt in the knowledge of having violated the First Commandment., but doing so our of anger rather than a sense of duty is among the most soul-searing acts of war.  

We are taught by our parents and society that we shall not kill, yet our youth are told by our government that it is a patriotic duty to serve in time of war when our leaders demand it.  It is a difficult struggle for soldiers having killed for lofty ideals they may come to see as cynical lies to live with this contradiction unless they know how to forgive themselves and know that they are forgiven by God, if they believe it exists. 

Though we may try to tell ourselves that a soldier kills for a greater good, if we understand the meaning of the life and death of Christ we know in our hearts that killing can no longer be seen as the answer to confronting our fear for the safety of ourselves and our loved ones. This lesson does not depend on belief in Christ's divinity. It only requires the simple recognition that he gave his life for his belief that a Soldier For Peace is willing to die to defend the principle that violence is not the answer to ending conflict, but its cause.

Having made the choice to fight, the soldiers’ duty to his or her comrades compels him to act when called upon to fight and kill in the name of a greater cause that our government claims we are pursuing. The young men and women who volunteered to defend America and its ideals typically are too young to understand the regularity with which our government has betrayed us in choosing mass murder over faith in our power to influence events by acting in the best interests of all. 

It is this lack of faith in the belief that right makes might that leads citizens and politicians alike to accept the self-fulfilling prophecy that war is inevitable. This sad fact is made more poignant when the combat veteran retreats from society and fails to engage in the battle to end war so that their children do not suffer the same fate.

It is the selfishness of our politicians and their corporate Puppetmasters that is ultimately responsible for the suffering of our young patriots. Our troops are told that their opponents are enemies of America, the citizens of both countries and of the world. Only by demonizing the chosen enemies of the corporatocracy can they expect morally upright citizens to kill in the name of God and country.

It is senseless to expect otherwise of the psychopathic CEOs who run these corporations. They see profit in convincing the US Congress with depressing regularity that it is necessary to send our children into battle to kill and die to maintain corporate profit margins. Those who would sacrifice the lives of innocents  for the sake of personal gain cannot escape responsibility for their crimes. In accepting the belief that profit is more important than responsibility to our young, the environment, their workers or the general public that bears the cost of war in blood and treasure, they surrender their souls to the judgment of the One who decides their fates.

In the new year, I resolve to remember that I have chosen to forgive those who have habitually lie to themselves. They are the true enemies of a free people who must together decide what kind of nation the United States is to become, yet in seeking to heal our wounds and restore democracy to America, I believe that we must forgive even those who have betrayed our trust. These are those who have abused the power to waste the lives of those who  willingly risked them in the name of a freedom they themselves will never know in this life.  

I vow to continue to fight for liberty and justice for all in the name of the patriot martyrs who have given their lives to preserve the Union and the true American ideal of promoting justice and peace throughout the world. I will not rest until we have removed from power those who have forgotten that we are all part of one family of Mankind and therefore must love others as we claim that we wish to love ourselves.

May God have mercy on their souls. As for ourselves, if we all refuse to accept that war is inevitable, there will come a day when it will be seen as unthinkable. On that bright day, we will will cease to study war and we will fight no more forever.

Rick Staggenborg, MD

Founder, Soldiers For Peace International

1 comment:

  1. This will probably be one of the more controversial essays in this book. While advocates of ending war often talk about peace, love and forgiveness, the idea of forgiving those who willingly caused the deaths of millions of innocents over history is beyond the imagination of most people, lovers of peace no exception.

    As I argued in one of the earliest essays in this book, there is a practical reason to seek reconciliation after the truth of the massive betrayal of the citizens of the US and the world is made clear to even the most willingly ignorant. Massive recriminations that many call for would fracture the very society we must unite in order to move into a new future with assurance that blood oaths will not be taken by the losers in the War to Take Back America.

    Beyond this, it is to be hoped that after the truth is evident to the deniers of the fact that the US has suffered a corporate coup, they will be able to accept the fact. Otherwise, many will seek to deny it in an effort to assuage the guilt they might otherwise feel for their complicity.

    There are traitors in our government who have committed crimes against humanity, but we are all responsible.

    Finally, I am appealing not only to those who already oppose war to join us but to those who consistently argue that this is a "Christian nation." To the extent that is true, they need to understand that Christianity is not just a belief but a way of life.

    If Christ taught nothing else, it is that we are all part of the family of Mankind and that we have a duty to love all of our neighbors, even those who would be our enemies.


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