Vietnam Redux: History of Oppression Repeats in Afghanistan

When I think of all the ways power and violence have been used to oppress people over the course of history, I can’t help but be frustrated by the efforts of the Coalition military in Afghanistan. (OK, violent conflict is complex and I can’t cover all the nuance in this post.) So many Americans are still attracted to the idea that violence as a solution to problems. It wasn’t in Vietnam. It’s not in prisons, in our homes, or in interactions with the police.

War breeds more war resentment and death. We must take a very simple stand that war is not the answer to conflict; it is the cause of of violent conflict. ‘Eye for an eye’ philosophy does not work.

If you know anything about the history of Europe, the Middle East, China, Africa, you know this. The insanity of endless European tribal wars, dynasty wars in China, and colonial wars. We must take a very simple stand that war is not the answer to conflict; it is the cause of of violent conflict. After 9/11, there was an immediate violent response. As tragic as 9/11 was, the response should never be violent. When the soldiers came to get Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and his followers drew their swords and cut off the ear of a servant to the high priest, Jesus said, “put your sword back in it’s place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52)

Many people around the world knew that Iraq and Afghanistan wars were like another Vietnam in the sense that US/Coalition forces would inevitably be seen as invaders. Enough men with weapons (the Taliban) viewed Coalition forces as invaders who were trying to establish a different society that they did not want. The result was devastating including the death of a total of about 241,000 people, destruction of property, and spreading of evil. In many ways the Iraq/Afghanistan wars are like Vietnam all over again. In Vietnam, we tried to stop communism with war, but that didn’t work and the corrupt forms of communism developed around the world stopped themselves. Vietnam is not a communist society. Will humans eventually come to the realization that war is not the answer? That violence is not the answer?

Love is the answer. Love is work with a decent conditions and decent wages, good food, shelter, healthcare, education, and caring for the sick and marginalized. As teachers, we play a role in education, but also in the other categories as well. May we always strive to be worthy of our calling.

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