President W. Bush took pains to cover the naked breasts on the statue of Justice and denied justice and international law the right and opportunity to handle this attack in a lawful manner. Was this covering because of the shame? He resorted to the false attraction of war with no rules of conduct as an expedient solution to achieving the goal of making the 21st century our century of empire. He can brag that he kept the empire intact and no serious attack on the homeland, but at what price? The long-term results of his wars remain at best unclear and very far from the Pax America we the people were told would be easy and cheap. Most notably, our enemy is greatly encouraged by the fact that we the people of the United States of America are unwilling to pay a war tax. Bush was against raising taxes as his political position. So, despite trillions of dollars in war debt since 9/11 and counting, there's not a peep from anyone about that debt. And, more so, our enemy sees us fighting among ourselves about taxes, the rich against everyone else, with most of us little realizing what great wealth we have in comparison to most of the world. Wealth akin to the golden ages of myth and legends in private hands. 1% of we the people have 37% of our collective wealth. Is this the United States our forefather's fought to give us? Is this what our Constitution intended?
Global Legal Development:
What would cause fear in our enemy's heart? War surely has not. Let's try law, and why not? Will our standing President, change the name not the message, have the courage to go to the next level in human global legal development? And, if so, how best can he do that? By offering we the people tired of Bush's Doctrine of War, a Doctrine of Law. (Charter) Imagine we the people embracing that idea and joining with humanity so that those who break international codes of justice will face first local police action and if needed backed up by special forces to enforce global law. Let us lead the way and dare other nations to follow our example. We the people of this generation can be America's next great generation. How? Take the essence of the "American experiment in Justice" to a global level. Such could be the beginnings of peace on earth, at least peace based in justice grounded in the God of Love.
Let's get real:
Until the Law of Love is fully amongst us, the Rule of Law grounded in love is the next best thing. The events in the Middle East, the widely acknowledged cradle of Western Civilization, provide us with a rare opportunity. Until the events of the spring of 2011 and the Muslim revolt against dictatorships Obama's course in war was Bush heavy according to liberals, or Bush light according to conservatives. Now he can change course. An opportunity for greatness is before us. When we are honest we know there is an alternative to a Doctrine of War and not to consider it could have perilous consequences. Will history write that like Captain Smith of the Titanic who ordered full bore ahead even with credible warnings of icebergs that our leaders failed to heed the warnings of grave dangers on present course. (World War III).
Center of Gravity:
Our enemy sees our wealth as our weakest point, our center of gravity in war. This fact of their position in war (Center of Gravity in War) should be of grave concern to us. Our enemy is aware that when a nation is willing to go to war without raising taxes to pay for it, it faces an enemy decaying from within. And, true to form, we quarrel about taxes and all our various "entitlements", not seeing that a nation bound to ego pleasures and aggrandizement (Ego Self) is narcissistically wounded. This psychological fact adds credence to our enemy's belief that such an opponent is in self-destruct mode. They believe that the imperialistic West will fall as empires have before.
Our enemy rejoices for what it sees in a financially weakened West, for Europe is in even worse financial shape than we, and it takes heart from seeing Muslims fighting and dying to free themselves from imperialistic and terrorist regimes. Before humanity's eyes on global TV Arabs and Muslims and other peoples as well are standing up for their human rights as citizens of global earth. They want what we all want as a basic human right: To be free in the civility of law justly applied. For as best I can tell law justly applied is as close to heaven on earth as it will get, and so much better than war.
On which side of history do we place our hope and desire to live in peace with our neighbors as the God of Love commands. The enemy of the imperialist West has reason to be hopeful that it will succeed in its primary objective: getting the West out of its affairs. And just as we have in the West gun-loving citizens who believe war is the answer to everything, so does the East. We must be wise, for Islam, Arab, Persian, many other wonderful people of the "East" will be engaged in great struggles within as a people long repressed by imperialistic powers supporting terrorist regimes and fundamentalist theocracies struggle for the one person one vote honestly counted social contract. One person, one vote honestly counted is a universal human right. Only through truly democratic means of government can this be found. One vote honestly counted, and living under the rule of local law and custom, expect in matters of global security, and the vast majority of humanity will support law and not war.
But law is hard to sell even in a war weary world, hence the nuanced position of Obama on Libya. People are critical of his policy, not understanding that he is playing coy. We are an Empire beholden to dictators. To move too quickly, to reveal his hand too soon could lead to too much global instability such that the neophyte forces of international law (U.N./NATO actions in Libya are really "police actions" to protect the innocent) might not be able to bring lawful control to the flow of events. So war could become more and not less likely if change is not managed skillfully in the name of justice.
On the other hand President Obama needs to be bold to capture the imagination of we the people if he is to win re-election to the presidency in 2012.
Playing with Others:
Positioning the United States to play with others, as he is has done in the Libyan situation, goes against our dominant sense of ourselves as people who go it alone (George Bush Great Opportunity), who kick ass when and where we want to on the face of the earth. Eisenhower warned of this danger to our democracy from the military industrial complex. Is this monster what "defence" in the first line of the Constitution meant? I think not. And more alarming we delude ourselves into believing we are "exceptional" (Amazon >Ozymandias) to the rules of history. The United States of America has military forces in more than a 130 foreign countries and nations and tribal area to enforce our will. Our military industrial complex needs wars to justify its existence and maximize profits and we the people have obliged. It is a match made in hell.
We the people have forsworn what our founders deemed most precious: Justice. What would Justice demand in our present circumstance? Both sides standing down on the first strike rule of war. At least that would be a great start.
It is time we the people grew up. It is time we lifted our heads up and see a higher cause than empire building. Our Founders would approve. The good news is that our president's heart is in the right place as he takes proper lead in the Middle East. Thus far, he has only taken one or two small steps, but many more are still needed. And there are there are those amongst us that will call his Doctrine of Law, evil and wrong-headed. Let us be honest: We the people have a long way go before we could be judge as a just people in our conducting our affairs according to the vision of our Founders. Two hundred years into our history, and we are way off course. Was it not Franklin who said we were to be nation of justice, not power?
God Help Us:
Lest we forget our God, who is a God of Justice commands us to love our enemies. The first step is listening. Failing that perhaps out of a denial-based defense mechanism, conservatives play right into Osama's game plan. Deception is key to victory in any war. (War Battles Itself) Not that defense mechanisms are a bad thing, per se, but when they blind us from seeing reality clearly, we have a problem. The conservative-Christian and right-wing Republican Party is Osama's greatest ally, along with Wall Street Democrats, for is it not so: A nation unwilling to pay its war debt is a nation in failure mode. Hence, the importance of identifying the center of gravity, what the enemy defines as its opponent's greatest weakness. "Know your enemy", as the philosophers implore us. (Enemies Evolve) According to Sun Tzu, get this right and victory is certain. That the Arab League is willing to stand behind the rudiments of a doctrine of peace based on law justly applied in Libya is a step in the right direction for all concerned. We live as one or we die as many. Obama's doctrine of law hits at what is common sense: a threat to any one of us is a threat to us all. Let's step back from the slaughter of the innocents that threatens to happen on all sides. Let us rise to a humanity that outlaws the slaughter of the innocents and has the means to make this a happen. Revenge killing is humanity at its worst: It is ontic evil. NATO is putting together a plan that serves as a test case of how to apply just enough force to prevent mass slaughter and rape of the innocents on either side. Just enough of the sword of justice applied to keep to the playing field fair enough. That individuals can be compelled to go to war I accept, but they should be assured that, if killed, their bodies will be honored and, if wounded, they will be given the best medical treatment and, if captured, they will be assured, freedom from torture. Poor men may be compelled even impressed to fight rich men's war, and fight to throw off the oppressive, but at least let's have some rules for the conduct of war in place. War itself is evil: let us not compound the problem by making war without rules, for that would be a greater evil. Those called to arms on all sides are entitled to protection from torture and to be assured of their basic human rights. That seems fair enough. It is unreasonable to expect full-fledged democracy to emerge in a few days or months in a array of North African countries, when it took the United States or France, centuries. What is and will be needed is a sustained effort for as long as it takes to establish a government for all humanity based on democracy. Living in peace freely with my neighbor: this is as close to heaven on earth as it will get till the Law of Love is fully amongst us. These are Muslim countries rising up; they should strive to base a rule of law on Qur'anic principles; the Qur'an, indeed, is an amazingly democratic work. Peace-loving Arabs and Muslims are saying we have our own way, our own traditions of law based in love, for we too are children of the same Loving Father. The East has its own sins to deal with; we in the West need to tend to our own. And for sure there are Muslim revolutionaries whose sole aim is war, and while revolutionaries have their role in history the majority prefers the peace that comes for law justly applied. Change comes slowly. Patience must be our virtue, our national strength. Mutual respect of boundaries is the cornerstone of healthy human relationships. To live as free persons under democratic rules and liberal principles - is that not what ninety nine per cent of adult human beings want? When a person has that all the rest is detail. We become an actor in a play where every "I" (Self/Ego) gets one vote on matters of import that affects everyday life. Better the law as imperfect as that might be than the perfection of war. We can live in peace with one another if we desire it, by rule of law as our Founders envisioned it, and on that basis we the people of the U.S.A. reach out to humanity.
Democracy and Liberty Universal Human Appeal:
President Obama's doctrine of law supports people's revolutions everywhere as humans reach for a system of belief that unites them ever more in peace under the rule of law. This doctrine of law, a doctrine of peace. (Charter) History awaits President Obama's chance to define history with a doctrine of law. (Vision) Let us pray he speaks of law and not war on Monday, March 28, 2011, two days from now. An opportunity for greatness and to earn the Nobel Peace Prize given in the hope that he will lead humanity away from war.
If he does, for even a hint at this world view and watch those who thirst for war howl in protest.
Post Note April 2011:
It is noted that President Obama did not speak directly to the matter of peace and law on March 28th. Careful not to sound like a dove. Even in more recent speeches of President Obama on Libya attest there is no overt call for a Doctrine of Law. But, underlying the world view he is painting for us, Justice for all is embedded. It's there. I pray he gets a second term to make peace his legacy.