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Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009 04:27 am

A peace activist’s concern about Obama’s war

Finally, the change we’ve all been waiting for; the light at the end of the tunnel. Now we can sit back and relax, right?

Well, at this moment, pundits vie for the cleverest visuals to mock the size of the economic stimulus package just signed into law. Naysayers are saying “Nay!” President Barack Obama has so many expectations to fill that scientists who specialize in cloning will need to clock in considerable overtime.

While not wanting to add to the list of complaints, here I go anyway. Some people in the peace movement are accused of not giving Obama a chance. Yet, when called to participate in change, I know no other way than to give voice to concern, then take action.

Missile strikes into Pakistan? Some 17,000 soldiers deployed to Afghanistan, and more to come? This is not the change I was hoping for.

Yes, our president is visionary in terms of the challenges ahead. And if anyone can inspire a country, he is among the most qualified. However, vision and inspiration within a thoughtful and creative strategy in the Middle East are desperately needed right now, and more of the same is no way to succeed.

How can we believe that the old ways will work in a land of hope and change? War and violence have never worked: through resentment and retribution, they only prepare the ground for increasing violence.

According to the group Get Afghanistan Right, “Without a clear strategy, benchmarks for success, and a plan to bring our troops home, this escalation will only prolong the American-led occupation – increasing anti-American sentiment throughout the region – while failing to make America any safer.”

We are called to participate in a wonderful harvest of hope. With voices to call, feet to stand and letters to write, we can contribute towards a conversion to real peace. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we will experience tranquility in our lifetime. But if we don’t join in while we have a leader who tills the ground, inviting us to plant seeds of justice, we could miss an opportunity that may not come again.

We all need to call on our President to support the full review of U.S. policy on Afghanistan, encouraging focus on diplomacy and development as our best hope for a peaceful and secure Afghanistan. E-mail him at president@whitehouse.gov.

And while I have his attention, I’m going to ask him to bless the whole world, not just the United States. God knows that our global village – which includes the US – needs all the help we can get.

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