We can chart human history by our wars. Every nation has needed soldiers. Every empire has needed soldiers. Even minor chieftains have needed soldiers. Soldiers enforce power. Without the threat that the warriors represent, the next ambitious figure will change a society’s destiny in a drumbeat. So for centuries the world has used its warriors and sometimes celebrated them and sometimes ignored them and has learned that if you ignore your warriors you lose the respect of your society and your power will be in jeopardy. Societies must thank their soldiers and honor their families and it should be their honor to do so. In times like these when armies are large and finances are tight it is difficult to treat warriors and their families as well as we should. Societies have often postponed rewards to soldiers until more affluent conditions prevailed. Fortunately there are those who remind society to show appreciation for soldiers with things like parades and ceremonies and awards, but also in more tangible ways with things like housing and education and medical care and jobs. This is our Memorial Day, set aside to remember our fallen soldiers and thank our living soldiers for defending our nation and our way of life. Hopefully we will not begrudge them the more tangible rewards they were promised and which they deserve.
Meanwhile we all still yearn for a day when history will no longer be measured in wars. We continue to strive to find a way to organize our societies so that peace will bind us all together and war will become obsolete. Realistically, we can’t imagine how this will ever be possible.
FREEDOM – Tom Zart
In their new uniforms,
The young march off
Not knowing who shall return.
With a proud devotion,
They brandish their flag
Leaving loved ones to wonder and yearn.
May we all be buried
By all of our children
Is an ancient tribal prayer.
They’re so easy to lose
But so hard to forget;
Such a burden for a parent to bear.
Oh, the taste of victory
Shall soon be forgotten;
But, never that which was lost.
For those rows of white headstones
In peaceful green fields,
Make it easy to tally the cost.
America has survived all attempts to destroy
Knowing the cruelty of war,
And, we who remain
Must help keep her free
For those who can march no more!
Iran is now providing us with the newest “Fear Factor” episode in the daily parade of aggressive world leaders who hate America and want to inflict pain on America. Iran wants nukes. We are not sure why Iran wants nukes, but we are sure that letting an aggressive nation who hates America develop nukes is probably not a good idea. (I am not even including Iran’s dysfunctional relationship with Israel in this discussion.)
Iran says they want nukes to use for peaceful purposes. They want to provide energy to the people of Iran. This is a laudable goal. Why would anyone need to be secretive about it? I can see that it might provoke anger when the world will not believe what you say, when they want to enter your country and poke around to see if you are being truthful.
But why are your borders closed in the first place? What are you doing in there that the world is not welcome to see? I know the culture of the 21st century can be invasive, as we are seeing in other Arab nations. I am guessing that you are trying to keep out these cultural influences so Iran can remain Iran. But in trying to hold off the world and stop progress Iran seems to us to be keeping its citizens in the prison of a time warp. It seems to us impossible, controlling, and artificial to hold the world out forever.
Is Iran like the “small dog” who barks a lot because s/he feels threatened or is Iran imperialistic? Does the nation want to be “top dog” and rule the world? This is what we worry about. We are not sure, based on the hostile rhetoric we hear, about what Iran’s true goals are. This is why we worry that Iran is developing nukes as weapons and not just for peaceful purposes.
Iranian leaders project hate, they project paranoia, and they project a chauvinism that often leads nations to attack other nations. They keep defying the world and taking it to the edge of war, as in their current threats to close the Straits of Hormuz. It may just be the protective stance of a beleaguered nation, or it may be a set-up to hostilities that involve more than an exchange of hateful words and threats. We want to like you Iran, but as things stand, we cannot know if your bite is worse than your bark.
The sad thing is that it is difficult to imagine any Iran scenario that does not eventually involve armed conflict. I hope we find another way to relate to Iran. Of course, we cannot really exclude Israel from any discussion about Iran because Israel is our BFF and Iran refuses to even admit their existence. Any solution that involves only Iranian-American relations is unacceptable. Any solution that involves Iranian-American-Israeli relations seems impossible. So far we have not come up with any ways to turn Iran from a “hater” into a friend.