“We are doomed if we leave Iraq, and we are doomed if we don’t.” While it was Arun Gandhi who said these words, this is the exact mentality of politicians and citizens nationwide.

This year, our very own University is gathering speakers of a various assortment to address the issue of the never-ending War on Terror.

The first speaker in this series was Arun Gandhi, grandson to revered Mohnadas Gandhi. Unlike most speakers on this War on Terror, Gandhi did not propose a solution; he did not suggest that one political party was wrong in its handling of the war, but also did not condone the handling. Instead, he intimated a way of life – nonviolence – and implied that this way of life is they key to escaping the “cycle of madness” that is the War on Terror.

Like his grandfather before him, Arun Gandhi was able to share the beauty of nonviolence with his audience and left it up to the individuals to decide how to apply it to our ways of life. However, he did refer back to his grandfather as an example that we could learn from.

No matter what, Mohandas Gandhi would show respect, understanding, love and compassion to others; he never considered others to be his enemies or adversaries, only his friends.

The United States must learn from him, or like countless imperial powers before us, we will fall.

For the past five years we have shattered nations, decimated lands and ruined lives in our fruitless endeavor to rid the world of those we call terrorists. In America’s initial, and by all means rightful, anger, the government struck to root out terrorists worldwide.

The true tragedy of September 11, 2001, was America’s inability to learn from history. Besides it being morally wrong to destroy an inordinate amount of innocent lives, this War on Terror is based on flawed framework. In its very name, the War promises to fight an idea.

If only the Wachowski brothers had been advisers to the administration on that fateful day – they would have told the President that no one can kill an idea. And instead of filtering out the terrorists among the world, we have glorified the notion that one can bring down this overzealous state that has plagued families since it began its search for those it condemned.

It is not too late to change our course. We have exercised our ability to do violence against others and now it is time to show the world that we can do exactly the opposite. We must start with the major controversy of our day: Iraq.

Our government sent in troops to topple a merciless dictatorship and it did exactly that. Now, in the midst of chaos, the government leaves our soldiers in Iraq to do a job they were never trained to do – rebuild.

It is past time to bring home our soldiers and send in those who know how to build, people who truly believe in peace. When the world sees America, it sees a militant nation spending its resources on a fruitless war when it could be using those same resources to help people around the globe.

It is time to change our image and show the world that we too can be as compassionate as Gandhi; we too can love the world and we too can we remember that those people dying at our hands are not our enemies.

Epstein can be reached at mepstein@campustimes.org.



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