Last night I watched Lone Survivor, a film documenting the true story of a Navy Seal team in Afghanistan. This film has been critically acclaimed as a tale of heroism, of patriotism, of glory. And it makes me mad as Hades. Not because it's a bad film. No, I thought it was well and respectfully done.
It makes me angry because in 2015, after thousands of years of warfare, we still haven't learned. War is a needless waste of human life. War is not an effective way to solve our differences. War doesn't change minds, not in a large sense. Sure, individual soldiers are often changed by the experience - sometimes in a positive way, most times in a damaging way. But the cultures that clash don't come out with a greater respect for each other. No, hostility simply becomes more deeply entrenched.
It makes me sick to see the lives of the youth of this country wasted. Many young people from poor or simply rural backgrounds are targeted by military recruiters. They have few options in their lives. Many live in small towns whose main industry was shipped overseas. A tour in the military offers them a stable and decent career, or a ticket to college. They're sold this idea that they are making the world a better place, that they will become heroes, that what they are doing is noble.
Our service members are being sold a lie. Sure, there are times when we are forced to fight, like the World Wars. Goddess grant that those times never come again. But in these modern times, most of our conflicts are purely about politics. It is an ugly thing. What's worse, some of these wars are really about controlling resources.
I ask you - who benefits from all this? Is America "more free" because of the war in Afghanistan? No. The extremist factions who we allegedly were targeting have not gone away. Their resolve to destroy us has only strengthened. Mostly, we damaged the citizenry. Let us not forget that part of the problem in that particular country was of our own creation. The US trained and equipped Afghan soldiers to serve our purposes against the Soviets.
So. We go to war to serve the interests of politicians, many of whom are also involved with big oil and of course, military contractors. We lie and tell our youth they're saving the world, our youth who have no jobs available to them because American business owners shipped our industries overseas. We waste our precious resources on war, when we could be solving the many problems in our own country.
With every war, we go deeper into debt. We lose more and more of our credibility as a nation. Our actions as a nation say "We are bigger and richer than you. We will do whatever we like to you. We will destroy your cities, your homes, your people. We will even attempt to impose our culture and system of government on you. You cannot stop us."
With these pointless wars, we continue the notion that might makes right. That force is appropriate. That human life does not matter, especially those lives that are different from ours. That making money for oil companies and military contractors is more important than anything else.
I say no. There must be an end to the violence. There must be an end to the lies.
I spent many years walking the path of the warrior. I trained in every martial art to which I could gain access. I studied martial philosophy. I am proficient with a bewildering number of weapons. I even considered joining the military. It's hard for me to believe now that the only reason I did NOT join the military is that at that time, they did not allow women on the front line. Yes, I wanted to fight. I wanted to use my skills, to test my resolve, to exercise my sense of honor.
What I did not realize at the time was that my personal anger was behind all of this. I have written before about the tragedies and injustice that I suffered in my early life. I was angry. I was divorced from my emotions. For a time, I was even divorced from my sense of womanhood.
Thankfully, Goddess knew better than I did. She knew that my sensitive, empathic soul would be scarred and besmirched by the horrors of war. She knew that I was not beyond help, not beyond healing.
I now know that the path of war leads only to death. It has no meaning. There is no nobility in this, no glory. It is pointless and wasteful. Surely, if my home and family were truly threatened, and there was no other option, I would fight. But nowadays, I would try everything else in my power to avoid it. And I would only have done what was necessary, not something good.
I am no longer a physical warrior. Now, my work is raising consciousness with words, with spirit, with love. I will not trouble you with another call for activism. No stirring rhetoric here about the return of Goddess, the reintegration of the feminine to heal the scars of patriarchy.
No. I'm simply a woman who is sad, a woman who is still angry, a woman who is tired of being angry.
I cry for all of the people who are infected with toxic ideas. They think that they have a monopoly on truth, that everyone else is wrong and it is their holy duty to correct others. They think their Gods want them to strike down the unbeliever.
I think that the Divine is unknowable. I think that the Divine is an energy that encompasses and permeates the entire Earth. And I think that force is love and creation. That force has nothing to do with war, with ideology, with domination or control.
If I'm wrong, and the Gods do exist as separate entities, and they really want us to suffer and harm others, then this is not a world I want to live in.