It is the eve before your Afghanistan Policy Speech. Like millions of other Americans that supported your election and have put faith in your leadership judgment, I remain hopeful. However, I am saddened about what is to become a new phase of US aggression, if press reports are correct. We didn't elect you to be a new "war president," and I agree with many others that you will wear this mantle, if you proceed as it appears you are planning to do with an expansion of the war, risking more lives of America's men and women --- forever changing the lives of their families. President Eisenhower made it clear, "...War never solved anything."
I also know we are not the only ones bracing ourselves for the delivery of your policy message. The whole world is watching. Many of them, who have believed in your leadership and continue to look to you to deliver on your promise of change are waiting. I can't help imagining the Afghan people --- mothers and fathers --- children old enough to understand whatever rumors are meeting them --- worried and scared at reality that the US once again is staging to show its military might, destroying more of their homeland and killing more of their innocent men, women and children. Collateral damage we have rarely even acknowledged in this war.
Why? There must be a better solution than more WAR.
Last night, I read a passage from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I wish you could read before you deliver your message from the podium at West Point about expansion of the War:
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
(A Time to Break Silence, April 1967)
"A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: 'This way of settling differences in not just.' This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.
America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.
This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense... War is not the answer..."
I remain grateful for not personally knowing the experience of WAR in my lifetime... However, I admit I'm also haunted by a message left by someone with a credible opinion, Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler, well-known as America's MOST decorated soldier. He told us...
"WAR is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in life."
With great hope we await your message. Bring our troops home, save lives, save money we don't have, and STOP THE MADNESS of WAR. These are my greatest hopes. Please do the hard, more courageous act of doing what is RIGHT for our country, our troops, and for the world.
founder, president, and CEO
Global Dialogue Center and Leadership Solutions Companies
author, Putting Our Differences to Work:
The Fastest Way to Innovation, Leadership, and High Performance
PHOTO CREDITS: An Afghan man looks on as he stands at a bus stop in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009. (AP Photo/Mustafa Quraishi)