Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Politics of Love

Militarism, the whole idea of war, is based on gaining victory over your opponents. Ever since Bush invaded Iraq he has been seeking victory. Instead of victory, we are faced with a huge quagmire. Shiite, Sunni, Kurds and Americans are dying daily. They hate each other and they kill each other. What a horrible mess. Maybe we would be better off if we substituted the politics of love for the current politics of hate.

It sounds polyannish. If we can't win with our great military might, we definitely will not win with love. Very logical and very practical reasoning. However, we're not winning; we're losing. We're not imposing our will; others are imposing their will. We're not achieving any of our goals; our enemies are achieving their goals. So maybe it's time to change our thinking.

Let's throw away the hate bug and lift up the love bug. This is the essence of an article I just read on the Internet. The title is "On November 7, Be Smart: Vote for Love," by Patch Adams. Of course, Adams (who by the way, is an M.D.) says this in answer to the legion of skeptics:

For those who say that a love platform is ridiculous and naive, I ask them to compare the results of the $300 billion we’ve spent on war in Iraq with what we would get if we had spent that money on setting up health clinics all over the world and feeding people who are hungry. I travel around the world and meet lots of people who fear and hate us. If we spent our energy and resources uplifting people in need—spreading laughter and light instead of bombs and bullets—we’d live in a world that was happier, healthier and safer.

$300 billion is way, way on the low side. But just think of it, $300 billion properly used in a program stressing love for all mankind, the number of terrorists would fall like a meteor and the number of people that loved America would rise like a rocket.

Patch Adams has a great idea. And he instructs us how to get started implementing it:

So come November 7, be smart. Vote out stupid and arrogant candidates who think that occupying Iraq by force or bombing Iran will make us safe. And vote for candidates who understand the simple notion that love is not only the best medicine, it’s also smart policy.

You know who they are. Most of them are Democrats.

Posted by Paul Siegel at October 24, 2006 6:37 PM
Comments
Comment #189986

Paul, I seem to remember hearing about a hippie type guy who used to wander around the mid east a while back who had a similar idea. I thought he was the guy that Christians ( like all of those US fundamentalist ones) proclaimed to follow. But I must have been wrong. So much of what we hear from them is certainly not spawned by love. It seems to be rooted more in fear and manifesting itself in hatred. Or maybe it was because communications were less reliably recorded in his time and so his message has become confused with the passgage of time. Anyhow, we know what he got for his trouble! And yet, there are still some dreamers who try to follow his clarion call to love one another. What a loser eh?

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at October 24, 2006 7:14 PM
Comment #189987

I think interdependence is a more practical way to get people to stop killing each other.

It is practical mainly in that you can create interdependence but you cannot create love.

I want to refrain from being skeptical but do you have any point or plan other than to vote for Democrats?

Posted by: Zeek at October 24, 2006 7:16 PM
Comment #189998

Zeek, I don’t get where interdependence comes into the subject under discussion. Interdependence is something of a buzzword of management speak. In principle it’s actually a very useful paradigm. But we’re talking here about people who go about their day carrying explosives for IED’s, RPG7’s and AK 47’s. Their clear objective is to kill people who are defined by otherness. Meaning that they are not only totally independent of them, but they don’t even rate them as people worthy of living. Or perhaps, more accurately, not just people who don’t deserve to live, which implies at least a personal passivity to those lives, but that those “others” deserve to die. And not only do they deserve to die, but many people are clearly happy to be complicit in these killings, altogether apart from those who actually discharge the weapons. So tell me, in the present situation in Iraq, how are you going to get three principle groups, two of whom have a deep distrust and even hatred for the other, to begin to act in an interdependent way? Cause this question has me whacked.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at October 24, 2006 8:07 PM
Comment #190006

Eep. The terminology reminds me of cute hippie chicks in peasant dresses swaying their earthly hips and passing out daises while bearded guys bang on bongos and share joints.

How about instead of “love” we call it “enlightened self-interest?” It amounts to the same thing and it has the side benefit of confusing the Ayn Rand crowd.

Posted by: Trent at October 24, 2006 8:30 PM
Comment #190035

“You know who they are.”

Well, actually I do not. Who are these love-filled Democratic candidates of whom you speak?

Their identity is a pretty well-hidden secret, ingeniuosly diguised by both their pro-war voting records and their rhetoric.

It would be rather touching if these sweet little pussy-cats would step forward and explain to the American public how we should put down our arms and smother Osama Bin Laden with love.

Posted by: Neo-Con Pilsner at October 24, 2006 9:53 PM
Comment #190053

trent

Even as much a lib as I am I have to agree with you…It’s a little late for love, but “enlightened self interest” is forever :-) Also, anything that messes with the randians is OK by me.

Posted by: Dave1-20-09 at October 24, 2006 11:04 PM
Comment #190066

Paul,

This is an excellent article. The Repubs have so dominated and framed the debate that we cannot even seriously talk about what you are suggesting here. They would simply say: “that is nice but seriously, who do we bomb.”

Posted by: Ray Guest at October 25, 2006 12:01 AM
Comment #190073

I think that we should practice what we preach, (as well as voting smart in this election.) I know that it is easy to look to the government for change, but I think that we need to make a change, one person at a time. You should all check out www.one.org. A little off the subject, but then again, not.

Posted by: Erin at October 25, 2006 12:31 AM
Comment #190074

Ray,

“They would simply say: “that is nice but seriously, who do we bomb.””

Actually we would simply say “Where do you want us to send your body”, when you wald up to
Osama or one of his friends with you olive brach in one hand and a dove in your other and first he laughs and then he cuts your throat.

Posted by: Keith at October 25, 2006 12:37 AM
Comment #190078

Neo-Con Pilsner,

Did you even check out Paul’s link?

KD

Posted by: KansasDem at October 25, 2006 1:13 AM
Comment #190086

I must say for a few days many of us thought Bush may accept a true change in his Iraq occupation policy. I was wrong, he only prescribed more of the same. Now, they’re saying we may need more troops.

Where are the new troops going to come from? I’ve long said that we must increase troop levels and reinstate the draft. Will they do it? Hell no, that would be political suicide.

Our troops can’t mend the division between Sunni, Shia, and Kurd! We can’t force Iraqi’s to accept each others diversity. That’s up to them.

We must either reinstate the draft and develop a “Marshall Plan” for Iraq with a “Million Man” occupation force and the financing to match or get the hell out.

Biden’s plan for division sounds better to me all the time. No more American’s need to die in Iraq. the idea that we have “all” of the terrorists tied up fighting “over there” is just absurd.

KD

Posted by: KansasDem at October 25, 2006 1:37 AM
Comment #190089

“The science of war leads one to dictatorship pure and simple. The science of nonviolence can alone lead one to pure democracy.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Can anyone argue with the logic of Gandhi? Overcoming might with right?

If Gandhi were alive today would he be in Git-Mo? On a “no-fly” list? In a secret prison? Would he be water boarded?

How many of us “libbys” would you Neo-Cons just love to torture a little bit?

I’d certainly choose Gandhi as my role model over GW Bush!

Please consider India’s prominence in the world today. What happened to military might there?

KD

Posted by: KansasDem at October 25, 2006 2:10 AM
Comment #190093

KD

“Please consider India’s prominence in the world today. What happened to military might there?”

Huh.

Posted by: Keth at October 25, 2006 3:01 AM
Comment #190098

KansasDem,

Ghandi got shot by a Muslim extremist. His daughter was assassinated by her own bodyguards. As for military might in India, they secretly conducted thier first nuclear weapons test back in 76 and went public with another in 98. Thier border with Pakistan is probably the second most militarized on Earth after the North/South Korea border. India spends more on defense as a percentage of thier revenues and overall GDP than we do. Where’s the love?

Posted by: 1LT B at October 25, 2006 3:36 AM
Comment #190138

LT,

I believe KD’s point is that India became the power it is not because of the military but because of concerted non-violent efforts to overthrow a foreign power led by (as you pointed out) martyred peace based leaders. Although India has a mighty and nuclear military where do you currently see its use in an offensive and/or pre-emptive manner? I see it mostly posturing with an antagonist neighbor.

To me, violence in international relations is the choice of those in the weaker position.

Posted by: Dave1-20-09 at October 25, 2006 9:55 AM
Comment #190153

Dave1,

I see your point, but I think its misapplied. Ghandi took advantage of the fact that one of the foundations of Western Civilization in which he was educated is basic human rights and the rule of law. Ghandi succeeded because he exposed hypocrisy that the West was not willing to live with. I would love to see a peace parade in the Middle East. I’m sure bin Laden and his cronies would be deeply moved by such a spectacle until they sent a loon strapped with dynamite into the crowd to blow himself up.

Also, I don’t think that violence is necissarily the mark of weakness. For all of thier posturing, niether North Korea nor Iran can stand up to us in a real war and they know it. We use violence and the threat of violence as the final tool in dealing with international problems because we are the only nation on earth with the power to make those threats and actually back it up with action.

Posted by: 1LT B at October 25, 2006 11:32 AM
Comment #190161

LT,

Good reply, two points of where you misapplied {said in humorous voice, remembering that inflection can’t be typed}

would love to see a peace parade in the Middle East. I’m sure bin Laden and his cronies would be deeply moved
That’s not the point. The point is we should have led by example of what is good by responding in a positive manner, taken the high road, rather than the destructive and incredibly bloody manner Bush did after the assault of 9/11. Violence begets violence, especially in the eye-for-an-eye world of the mid east.
We use violence and the threat of violence as the final tool
Absolutely. Once we use violence, it is no longer a threat. Our hand is exposed, there is no further recourse. Therefore your use of the word “final” is viable. However, using the violence means we have no other effect or impact by diplomatic means and therefore have become “weak”. Has violence improved our situation? Are there many examples where it has?

Posted by: Dave1-20-09 at October 25, 2006 11:49 AM
Comment #190163

The main problem framing this whole discussion has to do with the value of and in life. The terrorists we are fighting have NO value for life at all. In fact they LOVE to die and killing additional people in the process is a wonderful thing to them.

This premise is totally counter to what we believe and are trying to protect.

LOVE is not the answer…

Posted by: Cliff at October 25, 2006 11:59 AM
Comment #190165

BTW…

Aldous…where are you?

Paul wants to send the democratic love squad over to Iraq to settle this whole thing. I am expecting all the dems to sign up and get over there on November 8th.

Posted by: Cliff at October 25, 2006 12:03 PM
Comment #190183

Cliff,

Please reconcile the 500,000+/- additional deaths of iraqis, almost 3,000 dead american soldiers, the tens of thousands of American wounded, with “what we believe and are trying to protect”.
That may be what you “believe”, but count me out.

Posted by: Dave1-20-09 at October 25, 2006 12:56 PM
Comment #190188


Dave1,

Good post. Remember who shed first blood, though. Bush’s actions were in response to the 9/11 terror attacks. Had these attacks not happened, the Taliban and Saddam would most likely still be in power. Also, I would argue that the removal of the Taliban, as well as the defeat of Nazi Germany and Japan in WWII were instances of violence on our part making the world a better place.

Posted by: 1LT B at October 25, 2006 1:02 PM
Comment #190189

Interesting how the Republicans refuse to see the point, which is pretty damn simple. This “War on Terror” is for hearts and minds. We know that our misguided occupation of Iraq is not helping us win this war. Some battles can’t be fought with guns.

Look, if Al Qaeda and the insurgents (for once I’m using the Republican trick of conflating the two) wanted us out of Iraq, they’d simply cease hostilities. Have any of you asked why they haven’t? We’re playing their game by their rules. We need to be smarter instead of helping create future generations of terrorists.

But I don’t except many Republicans to concede this very obvious point.

Posted by: Trent at October 25, 2006 1:03 PM
Comment #190192

Paul,

What you refer to is “soft power.”
Check out this link link text

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at October 25, 2006 1:08 PM
Comment #190196

Paul,

What you refer to is “soft power.”
Check out “Propaganda Isn’t the Way: Soft Power
by Joseph Nye Jr.
From The International Herald Tribune
www.ksg.harvard.edu/news/opeds/2003/nye_soft_power_iht_01
It’s a great article that is right in line with your message.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at October 25, 2006 1:15 PM
Comment #190203

LT,

a) You must have forgetten that Saddam had NOTHING to do with 9/11. Even Bush has explicitly stated that. It is my deeply considered opinion that Bush knew this, and of the lack of WMDs, BEFORE he invaded.
b) The Axis and the Taliban attacked first. We responded to, not initiated, the violence. However, we attacked Iraq first, the second time that is. Bush did not wait for diplomacy. And, remember, Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 nor did he have WMDs.
c) Look at what’s happening in Afghanistan now that our attentions are primarily focused on Iraq.
d) Do you really believe, I mean REALLY REALLY BELIEVE, the world is a better place now that the Saddam is out of power? Do you believe, I mean REALLY REALLY BELIEVE, that the Iraqis believe that too?

Posted by: Dave1-20-09 at October 25, 2006 1:43 PM
Comment #190245

You people post too fast.

Paul in Euroland, well, I was under the impression that getting people to stop killing each other was our basic topic of discussion.

First off, I do not think it is an easy solution, but compared to getting those exact same people in your examples to love each other instead, it seems a whole lot easier.

But relativity aside, my solution is not all that impossible (I think…).

I suppose for the situation in Iraq specifically it would be a bit harder since it is a larger population we are dealing with… I guess allowing the different sects to monopolize certain industries would be the most feasible solution.

Although, admittedly, there are a lot of unforeseeable outcomes with that.

But… if anyone has better long term solutions to the hatred I would love to hear them…

Posted by: Zeek at October 25, 2006 4:49 PM
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