Author of Jesus Rode a Donkey:
Why the Republicans Don’t Have a Corner on Christ
The Pentagon just completed a study about the ethics of our soldiers serving in Iraq. They discovered that they don’t seem to be sufficiently ethical. Between 50-60% of the military believe that civilians should not be treated with dignity and respect, and 10-30% report that they have actually mistreated civilians – whether hitting and kicking (10%) or cursing and insulting civilians (33%). In numbers, this means that of the over a million soldiers and Marines who have been deployed since this war began, more than 500,000 do not respect the people they have come to save. Of the 160,000 military now serving in Iraq, that means that over 80,000 do not respect the people of Iraq, even though there can’t be democracy without some sense of trust and equality. That’s a lot of people impacting a country negatively. No wonder so many in the Middle East, and in the world, believe the United States is going about this all wrong.
We can’t gain respect by disrespecting others.
We can’t create democracy without a belief in the inherent equality of others, and without a belief in the rights of others.
We can’t gain trust, by making promises we can’t keep, and by breaking promises to rebuild and to protect.
We can’t ask for ethics in others, when we ourselves lack ethics and integrity.
We can’t gain understanding, without understanding others. Many in our government and many of the presidential candidates, don’t know the difference between a Sunni and a Shi’ite, and know virtually nothing about the beliefs of Muslims.
We can’t gain Unity, by sowing seeds of disunity, through the walls we build, and by taking sides and creating an us-against-them mentality.
We can’t gain long-term gain, through continuous short-term mistakes.
We can’t gain positive world opinion, by ignoring the world opinion of others.
We can’t gain good will, by creating ill will.
Perhaps it’s time to admit that we don’t know what we’re doing and we’re not doing it well.