I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. Isaiah 50:6
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you. Matthew 5:4
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. Matthew 25:35
On this Veterans Day, many of us may ask ourselves how to square our views on loving our enemies and turning the other cheek with war. It seems that there has always been war because there has always been jealousy and greed, a lust for imperial power. Adam and Eve wanted to be greater than their creator; Cain wanted to best Abel. How different our world would be if Adam and Eve had understood peaceful partnerships and parental protection.
One of the wonders of the way our current armed forces are approaching their duties as protectors of the oppressed is in holding the bullies at bay while encouraging the empowerment of the citizenry. From Time Magazine, Monday, Aug. 29, 2011, The New Greatest Generation by Joe Klein: "...Seth Moulton, a Marine captain who had been the Harvard class-of-2001 commencement speaker and became particularly adept at working with Iraqis to organize construction projects. "Petraeus was an amazing boss," Moulton says. "Our mission was to defeat the military bureaucracy. We were able to build border forts, using Iraqi engineers and work crews, for one-fifth the price that the American contractors were charging and in one-third the time. Our proposals went right to his desk, rather than through the bureaucracy. The only thing he demanded of us was success."
The post-patriarchal era of United States military involvement appears to be empowerment by passing on information and protecting the weak while they learn. This is something that we know has happened all over the world in wars past, but we've not necessarily been proud to admit it. Helping our former enemies to help themselves is a hallmark of America's fighting forces. Chivalry isn't dead; it's now called cooperation and compassion, shared by women and men. Perhaps we Americans do have a collective cowboy complex, but I wouldn't have it any other way.