Peace with ISIS? 9/18/14
Below is an article I wrote on dealing with the exploding Middle East crisis. I sent it to several newspapers and my representatives.
Peace with ISIS?
My first natural response is that the only option I know is to take ISIS out with our military. But if we bomb them such that we kill about 75% civilians many women and children as often happens it will become the cement that pushes people to fill the ranks of ISIS. The more we bomb them the faster their acts of hatred for us will increase.
Here in Kurdistan, Iraq are refugees a result of the fighting there. My friend Peggy Faw Gish is on the CPT team there. Go to Plotting Peace to read Peggy’s updates.
My reading “The Powers that Be” by Walter Wink has made me reconsider and try to think of an alternative response. Asking how can we stop this growing hate of each other?
Also I learned that ISIS along with their evil ways are doing some very good things like providing health care, shelter, food, and jobs for the people. I want to note that we provided health care, shelter, food, and jobs for the people several years ago as a part of our military offensive in Iraq. It was successful in winning the support of the people. This was done in caring ways so that the receiving people knew it was in real caring.
So my analysis is that the only way we can end this spiral of violence we are in is if we somehow figure out a way to really care for the people. This very well could turn these Isis enemies into friends. Although this seems overwhelming and impractical, is this not what Jesus taught as the way to deal with enemies?
However, maybe it is not as impossible as it seems. What if we said we want to talk to try to resolve our differences and that we will stop bombing them. At the same time we start dropping medical supplies, food, tents, or whatever they need that is not military aid.
What If our troops become involved on the ground and were taught to aid the people out of genuine caring? An added benefit of doing good might be that our troops would be much more likely to come home at peace.
Today when they come home they are often in need of therapy from shooting people and destroying homes. I think that is why so many divorce their spouses, commit suicide, suffer deep depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. As Americans we can’t kill people and not suffer some very deep negative effects on our psyche and society.
I see this as a way to get us out of our boxed in thinking. I hope this is the beginning of a conversation to figure out how to get through this very stuck situation in a good way.
Jim is an alumni of Christian Peacemaker teams with 12 years focused in Colombia, South America
PS. I will be at the Goshen Mennonite Relief Sale 9/26 and 9/27 handing out a flyer with this article and giving several talks in the area. Please pray God will use it all for creating peace.