Thursday, September 27, 2007

Seduced By War: Remembering Where Our Legacy Resides

(913 words)
By Andrew Murray
I am concerned about a culture that has been seduced by war. I am concerned about a culture that salivates over the raw power of military hardware but shows little sustained interest in the military virtues of courage, loyalty, honor, fidelity and justice. I am concerned that our civilian leaders on both sides of the aisle seem to have forgotten what many of our great generals and admirals including George Washington, Omar Bradley and Dwight Eisenhower always knew: that it is not America's military power that makes us great. It is our greatness that makes us powerful.

What makes us a great country is not that we can go anywhere in the world and kill anyone we want. Well, anyone we can find. What makes us great is that we work hard; we tolerate differences; we have room for faith and science. We are great because in the end we know that a healthy, prosperous and happy society not only endures, but needs, diverse opinions, cultures, life styles, fashions and beliefs. No amount of terrorism can take this away from us. We can only take it away from ourselves.

What was supposed to be the elixir that would cure the national malaise following the turmoil of the '60s and restore our faith in American power has turned out to be, perhaps, an even more difficult circumstance to reconcile. Iraq was a broken and depleted country in 2003, having already lost one war to the US, having been subject to crippling sanctions from the UN and having fought to a draw with Iran after a devastating war that lasted ten years. At the same time the US stood alone as the most preponderant military power.

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Andrew Murray is professor of peace studies and director of the Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa.

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