Friday, May 18, 2007

The Journey of the Human

"At each stage of human existence the adult man is off on his quest of his holy grail, the way of life he seeks by which to live. At his first level he is on a quest for automatic physiological satisfaction. At the second level he seeks a safe mode of living, and this is followed in turn, by a search for heroic status, for power and glory, by a search for ultimate peace; a search for material pleasure, a search for affectionate relations, a search for respect of self, and a search for peace in an incomprehensible world. And, when he finds he will not find that peace, he will be off on his ninth level quest.
As he sets off on each quest, he believes he will find the answer to his existence. Yet, much to his surprise and much to his dismay, he finds at every stage that the solution to existence is not the solution he has come to find. Every stage he reaches leaves him disconcerted and perplexed. It is simply that as he solves one set of human problems he finds a new set in their place. The quest he finds is never ending."

Clare W. Graves

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Some Basic Principles of Warfare That Bush Doesn't Get

Spate of Suicide Bombings Threaten "Surge"

I would never over simplify the situation in the Middle East and the current situation in Iraq. To be fairly blunt, I have not studied the nuances of the situation and thus in determining what is the best course of action is not within my current capacity. I do, on the other hand, have read some history; which might offer some insight to war in Iraq.

1. Declare war on enemies and with the purpose of destroying your enemies.

For some peculiar reason, modern times have seen "military operations" instead of war. War is a useful and powerful tool of a state to declare its will over another state. Utilizing war for anything else is not only foolish, but counter-productive. If a state is unwilling or unjustified in declaring war, it should think of other actions. If a state declares war without the intent of destroying its enemy, the war is lost. This lesson was learned in Vietnam, and I guess we are set to relearn this basic principle of war again.

2. An occupation is never a liberation.

I am amazed that people are astounded to hear that suicide bombings are increasing. This is not only surprising, but completely predictable. A military occupation, what ever the reasoning, will never be a liberation. Liberation requires that the people be empowered for their own fate, a military occupation (no matter how cooperative it is) is antithetical to this concept.

3. Liberty and Freedom are always relative.

To declare liberty and freedom, but in a specific manner (i.e. the US model's) is antithetical to the very principle of liberty and freedom. It is like telling a child they have the freedom to make any choice they want, as long as it aligns with the parents view. This is not a free choice at all. The outcome of such a situation is fairly predictable, the child will throw a tantrum. When applying the same principles on a grander scale; the outcome is also predictable. There will be an increase in conflict (which is what we are seeing in Iraq).

4. To Pull Out or Not to Pull Out

This question to me is a ludicrous question that now needs to be answered. This is like playing the game "just the tip" with your teenage girlfriend and at climax trying to decide, "do I pull out or not." The real question is: Are we at war? If we are at war, then destroy the enemy, nothing short of complete annihilation. This was more clear in ancient times where villages were burned, children killed, and women raped to breed out the people. Culture was not attempted to be saved or synthesized, it was eradicated.

To believe that war can ever be used to save a culture, protect the innocent, and liberate a people is naive. The only time this occurs is when the local people take up arms for themselves. Even the term "terrorist" is relative. The minute men of the US were thought of as terrorists by the dominant regime during their time. Now they are "freedom fighters". The line between "freedom fighter" and "terrorist" is only where you stand.

Instead of fighting terrorists, why not avoid conflicts and wars that require people to become warriors for their beliefs. Let those battles take place in conference halls through spoken word, not on the battlefields with 18 year old lives. There are times for war, today is not one of them.