Saturday, October 13

Diane sent me an email with this quote and asked for my opinion.

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Some of you may disagree, but I think this pretty well sums up reality and is 100% analagous to the present situation. This is an excerpt from "Black Hawk Down" by Mark Bowden. He is talking about Delta Force guys, and the cluster f____ in Somalia in 1993.:

And the job demanded more. It demanded all you had, and more . . . because the price of failure was often death. That's why Howe and the rest of these D-boys loved it. It separated them from other men. War was ugly and evil, for sure, but it was still the way things got done on most of the planet. Civilized states had nonviolent ways of resolving disputes, but that depended on the willingness of everyone involved to BACK DOWN. Here in the raw Third World, people hadn't learned to back down, at least not until
after a lot of blood flowed. Victory was for those willing to fight and die. Intellectuals could theorized until they sucked their thumbs right off their hands, but in the real world, power still flowed from the barrel of a gun. If you wanted the starving masses in Somalia to eat, then you had to outmuscle men like this Aidid, for whom starvation WORKED. You hold hands and pray and sing hootenanny songs and invoke the great gods CNN and BBC, but the only way to finally open the roads to the big-eyed babies was to show up with more guns. And in this real world, nobody had more or better guns than America. If the good-hearted ideals of humankind were to prevail, then they needed men who could make it happen. Delta made it happen.



i'm somewhat familiar with this occurrence in Somalia and the book is on my 'to read' list.

in response:

war/violence is actually the easy way to get things done. it is extremely limited because it only works in the short term and it never changes anyone.

this assessment is too simplistic. we in the 'civilized' world likely wouldn't resolve conflicts nonviolently if there weren't a strong civil authority to punish us when we did. if the Somalis (and others) had a strong civil authority that they feared, they would probably resolve conflicts nonviolently, too.

compared with the power of faith, guns are useless. a gun cannot change somebody's mind. it can only threaten them into action or inaction. real faith can motivate.

in addition, nonviolent leaders like Jesus, Paul, Gandhi, and MLK have changed the world in profound ways. these are not men who theorized alone. they confronted evil systems and people. they were beaten. they and their followers were killed. and the world changed.

Wilberforce fought for years in Parliament and got slavery banned peacefully.

force was the only short-term change-agent in Somalia. but it didn't change anything in the long run. what's more, those Delta-force boys, so powerful, got jumped. their power failed them. they weren't able to achieve their goal.

nonviolent resistance cannot be ended because its power cannot fail. martyrdom only pushes it forward.

and nonviolent action could really change things in this situation. we Americans could change our foreign policy. we could work as much for the good of others as we do for our 'national interest'. a real government could come to Afghanistan.

Delta Force may be necessary or effective, but it's capability to effect change is severely limited.

good-hearted ideals can prevail without Delta Force. sometime it's in a very different timeframe. if you're a strict materialist and focused on the here and now and what you can grab and defend, Delta Force is for you. but if you're hungry for more than that, their guns won't satiate your hunger.
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