‘Respect Veterans: Invest in peace’

By Don Fish, Decorah

Dear Editor,

Memorial Day is a time to think about how to respect humans who have risked or lost their lives in war or preparation for war. Veterans and their friends and family are often lost in their return to an imperfect world. We claim to honor and glorify them and then can’t stand their pain when they don’t fit into a world where killing is a mortal sin. We wonder how they feel when we ignore their pain as we edge our way into another power struggle where the end game is war. They may feel disrespected by the attitudes of those who were against war. We don’t wonder enough about why they hide their feelings or try to escape them with drugs and alcohol. Good health care gets erased by some government actions that give endless money for new weapons but little for quality rehabilitation services.

Conflict resolution through war does not work well and has unintended consequences that should haunt us. We have seen enough history to know that war leads to calls for revenge. Revenge leads to more revenge. Many current war-like actions are based on old vengeful conflicts. Maybe we are not entitled to revenge. We invest huge amounts of human lives and national treasure to manipulate ourselves.

We have plenty of good literature and research to invest in negotiation skills, cooperation and human dialog to create better outcomes but refuse to use them because of our need to feel secure using threats. If this is how we hang onto our ego-based vision of power, we all lose.

I propose we invest more of our defense dollars in peace making and keeping. We are born with the ability to make friends and cooperate. Why don’t we try it locally? Ask your Veteran friends what they think.

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