I am not a pacifist. I emphasize being strong and arming yourself to defend yourself and those you love. However I also advocate forgiveness. You should try to reach out to your enemy and make peace. But as history has shown countless times, not everyone has reason and rationality. Maybe their reason and rationality has been affected by hatred or vengeance. Maybe they're just crazy. I would not feel guilty for killing a zombie or a pirate to defend myself because they both lack the ability to love.
But those are the easy cases; not everything is so black and white. There are so many cases where theres no "bad guy" or "good guy". Every battle in history has involved young men killing each other that could have been best friends in normal life. But it's so easy for society to brainwash someone into fighting because they are the "good side". I'm a sucker for glory and honor and being a brother in arms. I have always had dreams of being a soldier for those reasons. Anyone who is a fan of Star Wars or Lord of the Rings knows what I mean. It just feels awesome to fight against evil.
However if you look at a war from outside the box, at the individual soldier level, there is no bad guy. A soldier like me, one who fights for his family and teammates, will have no choice but to kill someone who shoots at me. The enemy could have been just like me, someone who helped his community to be a better place. He had no choice but to go to battle against me. If I happen to kill him, I couldn't find it in myself to gloat. It's an unfortunate necessity, so to celebrate death is wrong. The soldiers who take pictures with dead combatants in Iraq are assholes. How is that any different from the terrorists who drag civilian truckers' bodies through the streets?
So you wonder what position I take? Thus far in my life, I realize to be a pacifist is to be a fool. But to live by the sword also means to die by the sword. You know those Chinese war dramas with people flying around? As a teenager I always thought it was lame how they built up storylines where both were good guys but they were just destined to fight each other because they were heroes for warring kingdoms. It never made sense to me because I didn't know who to root for. Of course one of them has to die, but he gets a proper funeral and eulogy from the opposing hero. Some other examples are Achilles vs Hector and Naruto vs Pain. I love the movie Troy and the Naruto manga because they explain both characters and why they do what they do. Both do what they believe is good. When you are outside the box, there really is no bad side. Who is to say what we believe is good and what the enemy believes is bad? Of course we think what we do is good because it is the result of growing up in our culture. The extremists also believe what they do is good.
In the end we have to fight the terrorists, and they have to fight us. I accept that. I have to defend my way of life, and they have to defend theirs. I'd be happy to leave the terrorists alone with however they want to live, but their way of life insists on making me worship the same god as them and killing innocent people. And so we must fight. But everything we do must be done with the purpose and hope of ultimate peace through love. Violence for the sake of violence or "killing them all" will never solve anything because you cannot kill everyone. Wars will always leave orphans that vow revenge.
To end the cycle of hate we have to understand the enemy. We may not ever come to terms with them, but our actions can change the next generation. They are brainwashed by hate, and so only love can change them. It will take a long time, even some generations, but I believe it can happen. We need to reach out to our enemies with a hand of peace every chance we get, and only defend ourselves if absolutely necessary. If we are content with watching cool videos of airplanes taking off from carriers and cruise missiles launching from submarines, and yelling "Hell yeah kill those motherfuckers" (my exact quote as a 9th grader after 9/11)... nothing will ever change.
It took me nearly ten years after 9/11 to see that my views were flawed. We have to try to see outside the box, outside the "drunk glasses" that our culture has put on us. Did the people yelling "USA USA" think how video of themselves will make potential future terrorists think of us? How about neutral countries like China? Or Europeans? It makes us look like dicks. I don't care if the man is a mass murderer, just because someone deserves death doesn't mean you celebrate it. I remember the rage boiling inside me when I saw videos of Muslim people celebrating the deaths of 9/11. I swear if I was 18 at that time (with my 14 year old mentality) I would have joined the military right then and there. Our celebrations are encouraging future violence. Yes Osama died, now we should work towards making peace with his disciples. But our actions so far are doing the opposite.
I don't blame people for celebrating. We are all made differently, but people need to know the consequences of their actions. I don't blame the father who shoots his daughter's killer in the back. Even though it's justified, it's still murder. Osama might have deserved to die, but cheering his death still looks classless.
I was annoyed by the updated Facebook statuses of people cheering his death. I almost decided to mock them all with a status update of "WOOOO NATIONALISM!!" How can some people say "it's a good day to be an American". That's something you say when you land on the moon or get every kid to be literate, not when one man is killed. Blind patriotism is a dangerous thing. What's next, Obama throwing a parade in front of the White House like this?
Okay so I exaggerated with the Hitler comparison. But you gotta admit, the Nazis with their shiny helmets and boots look BADASS. Germans probably thought they were the shit, and they probably thought. "if we put our mind to it, Nazi Germany can accomplish anything, and not just because of our wealth and power."
When watching the Obama speech and celebrations with me, even my 13 year old brother has the foresight to tell me "how stupid, what are other countries going to thing of us?" Never discount the world's perception of us. That plus learning history can give us a gauge of how we're doing as a nation. If you ignore those two, you are content to live inside your bubble and be lead astray by mob mentality.
Old enemies can become good friends, all you need is perseverance and some time. Example from history: France and England treated Germany like shit with insane demands of war repayments after World War I. You know what happened. The US didn't demand any war repayment from Japan after WWII. In fact we spent a fortune in Japan to help them rebuild their country. And look at our relationship now. We're good allies. We give them F-15s, and they give us PS3s. Although they are fools, they do not know that PS3s are much more valuable than F-15s. Obama finally got the time to go after Osama because the Playstation Network is down.
Pictured: a pathetic F-15, whose air to air combat kill ratio is ONLY 100+ kills to 0 shot down. I'll give you respect when you get a thousand kills (which is about half of Rambo's kills in Rambo 4)
Meh who am I kidding, I'm gonna indulge in some patriotism for the next few minutes while singing along to this song lol