Past Stray Thoughts

I listened to President Obama's speech last night about sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. First of all, I don't agree with sending more U. S. troops to Afghanistan. The security of Afghanistan is an international concern and there should be a balanced international presence there. This isn't our war and it is not a war that can be won with guns. It's an occupational hazard for the president as commander-in-chief to ask generals what they need to solve the world's problems. If you ask a general what they want to fix Afghanistan, of course the general will say more troops, more guns, more equipment. It's the wrong question to the wrong person. As president, not as commander-in-chief, but as president, Obama should be asking those that really know how to fix Afghanistan's problem. And what is the problem?

President Obama, to his credit, hit the problem squarely on the head when he said that extremists have distorted and defiled Islam. The problem is a malignant ideology. You cannot fight the spread of a distorted view by sending more U. S. troops. This is a war over the minds of young men and women, not just in Afghanistan, but around the world. As such, the best way to fight this war is for people to bear the good fruits of their faiths, the acts of kindness and compassion that lead to understanding and illumine the true path in life. The problem is, Islam is not the only religion that has been distorted and defiled by those that have only greed and hatred in their hearts which distorts their view of not just their religion, but of politics, morals, and all aspects of life.

In Buddhism, the first path of the Noble Eightfold Path is Right View. Right view is fundamentally understanding what all the great religions have taught. Perhaps Jesus said it best, "As you sow, so shall you reap". With just this much knowledge from the world's great religions, we can see not only how distorted and defiled Islamic extremists have twisted the religion of Islam, but how many churches, temples, synagogues, and mosques have distorted and defiled religion by condoning the use of military force to win a war of the mind and heart. If only they would just stick to practicing their true faith, loving neighbor as self, sowing good seed to reap good fruit, seeking the kingdom of heaven within, visiting those in prison, feeding the poor, caring for the sick to use a few Christian examples, the correct view would become apparent. This is a war against ignorance, greed and hatred. It cannot be won with guns. Killing the enemy only creates more hatred which only gives rise to even more enemies. What must be killed is the greed, hatred, and ignorance. This can only be done through compassionate charity, loving kindness, and wisdom.