Americans were under attack. It was September 11, 2001. Ultimately, this peace-loving country initiated all out war. The United States sought a broad coalition; however, the President and others were willing to go it alone. This nation, its leaders, and citizens concluded their safety and stability were being threatened. Our countrymen thought enemies were everywhere and thus, the battles began. Policies were adopted. The idea of privacy was altered. The Patriot Act was drawn and passed. The National Security Strategy for the United States of America was accepted.
People throughout America were ready to protect themselves no matter what the cost. Aggressive reactions were booming. Americans declared loudly, “You are either with us or against us.” If you choose to terrorize me or mine then you will be taken, “Dead or alive!” Thus, the cycle begins again. America believes, we must aggressively attack.
Post-September 11, 2001, America went to war. This was not the first time; nor do I think it will be the last. Americans seem to accept a cycle of conflicts. Some say it is the nature of man to war. Others offer evolution as the rationale. After all, man is descended from beasts; therefore, we as humans fight for our survival. When Americans felt threatened, we brawl, batter, and beat our adversaries vehemently! Enemies might be terrorist, Tories, or any persons or groups that tempts or taunts them. However, none is a foe unless they pressure us [the people of the USA] personally. On balance, we are people of peace; we believe in diplomacy. We are a democratic nation. Our history demonstrates this or does it.
We work towards peace whenever possible. We intentionally avoid conflict. Confrontation must come to us before we engage. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 during what was the Second World War to stop all wars. Battles had been raging for two long years in Europe; Hitler and Mussolini were on the rise for years prior to the war. While Chamberlain tried to quell the aggressive advances of these comrades, his own passivity, policy of appeasement, gave them strength. The drum beats of warfare heightened. However, the United States stayed distant. Until, this country believed itself vulnerable they thought it was none of their business. Americans wish to wound no one, unless provoked.
We, the people of the United States loathe war, or so we say. In truth, citizens of this nation love fighting. Repeatedly, our countrymen accept violence and reject harmony. They claim this acceptance is reluctant; however, there is ample evidence that affirms the contrary.
Frequently, I find myself saying “War is never an option,” to those advocating the effort. I receive in retort this reply, “Brutality is justified when it is an act of self-defense.” From my perspective, fighting is never an act; it is what we do when we react. Actions are loving, they are giving they demonstrate care and concern. When we take action, we are productive. We yield growth. Actions are lively and full of vigor. When we react, we destroy! A reaction is elicited when we fear for our families, our familiars, or for ourselves. Pain causes a fight or flight response.
Intellectually, Americans state, “War is the option of last resort”; however, this country, it leaders and citizens choose it often, more often than not. We fight conflict after conflict. We clash here and abroad. We win battles; some say we win wars. Yet, we never achieve peace. The reasons for this are plentiful. Among these is “Might does not make right.”
The numbers may be on our side; however, success is much more than a tangible strength. The United States often has more servicemen and women than its enemies. Our artillery is ample. The tools this nation produces are quite superior. Still, our will at times is less strong than that of our adversaries. On these occasions, victory is not ours. In truth, I think when aggression is involved no one triumphs. Everyone suffers a loss when we wage war, except perhaps the businesses that produce our weaponry and supplies.
In case the citizenry ever forget that this nation was founded on war, our leaders remind us. Their words are written into our policy. Most recently, our glorious king, George II etched his wisdom into our doctrine. Bush and his Bunch drafted the National Security Strategy for the United States of America in 2002. Our Eternal Emperor, the man chosen to speak for God, and selected to serve by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, President George W. Bush is quoted throughout the document. He offers,
“Our Nation’s cause has always been larger than our Nation’s defense.
We fight, as we always fight, for a just peace?”a peace that favors liberty.
We will defend the peace against the threats from terrorists and tyrants.”
– President Bush. West Point, New York. June 1, 2002
The President sounds so eloquent, so astute, and so contrary. I wonder; how does one defend peace as they fight. Is liberty achieved when we exert our will on others? History proves it is not.
People may pretend to circumvent their truer desires. They may appear to be abiding by the laws set by those deemed superior. However, they plot, plan, and pursue their personal philosophies, no matter what or who tries to control them. Consider Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and yes, even the early American colonists.
Nevertheless, we pursue. We Americans conclude we must protect, defend, and preserve our safe space. If anyone or any group threatens us, we must act aggressively. “To achieve these goals, the United States will: Prevent our enemies from threatening our allies, our friends, and us with weapons of mass destruction.”
These weapons may be in the form of arsenal or they might be mere articulations. No matter what their shape or appearance, any action taken against this State must be defended against.
We the people of the United States know how to form a more perfect union, a compassionate community, even if we have to do it through war; we will do it. It is as our President postures,
“Some worry that it is somehow undiplomatic or impolite to speak the language of right and wrong. I disagree.
Different circumstances require different methods, but not different moralities.”
– President Bush. West Point, New York. June 1, 2002
Thus, the President declares, “War has been waged against us by stealth, deceit, and murder. This nation is peaceful, but fierce when stirred to anger. The conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others. It will end in a way, and at an hour, of our choosing.”
– President Bush. Washington, D.C. (The National Cathedral). September 14, 2001
Yet, it does not. It never has. They start a conflict. We commence the battle. Each fights the war to end all wars, over, and over, and over again.
When wills this end? It will conclude when we realize that “War is Not an Option!” Aggression is never a solution. We can be assertive; yet, not aggressive. Wow, what a concept. It might be an important one to consider before we engage in another war, or the next fight. Yes, we have rights; however, so too do they.
Thus, I offer a discussion of aggression and assertiveness. I hope this might broaden our perspective. As you review the following information, I ask you to extrapolate. Consider what we witness locally, in our daily lives.
I believe that what we do in our homes, in the workplace, and on our streets becomes our habit and our truth. If we are snide, rude, crude, hostile, violent, or just plain aggressive with members of our family, with friends, or familiars we are likely to be so elsewhere. If we believe belligerent behavior is justifiable in defense of ourselves, might we also be more willing to accept it as a strategy for our nation? Sadly, I suspect we are.
Understanding Assertiveness, By Stuart Sorensen ?” RMN
What it will do is provide some information about the nature of assertiveness and how it differs from other methods of dealing with people.
Most people confuse assertiveness with aggression or “getting my own way.” True assertiveness, however, is much more than that. Assertiveness considers the rights and needs of everybody. It assumes that everyone is equal. Because of this assertiveness can be thought of as a method of increasing choices for everyone.
When we are unhappy with a situation, we have at least four choices. We can:
• Accept the situation
• Be aggressive
• Be passive
• Be Assertive
Most People Behave in Each of These Four Ways in Different Situations.
If we are happy to accept a given situation, then all is well and good. If not then we must choose one of the other three options. Let’s look at these more closely.
The aim of aggression is to get our own way ?” to win whatever the cost to other people. Aggression is not interested in the rights, wants or needs of others. Aggression is usually destructive, either physically or psychologically. It’s true that people who behave aggressively often get what they want but aggression has other results as well.
• Aggression often breeds aggression. This means that once people start behaving aggressively with each other it can be very hard to stop. People start looking for new ways to hurt each other and before you know it they’re lifelong enemies.
• Aggression can make us unpopular. Once we get a reputation for being aggressive, people start avoiding us. This may be because they’re frightened we might turn on them or because they think we’ll embarrass them by behaving aggressively to other people. They may also be worried that they’ll lose friends or influence as people might assume that they are just as aggressive. In the end, the only friends aggressive people have are people who are just as aggressive they or people who are frightened of them. They lose out on a lot of friendships because of their hostility.
• Aggression discourages people from helping us in the future. If we force people to do what we want by using aggression, they will probably feel bad about us. This often means they refuse to help us when we really need them.
• Some people believe that behaving aggressively makes others respect us. It doesn’t, it simply makes them fear us. Frightened people only do what we want for as long as we are watching. As soon as our backs are turned, they tend to do their own thing. This makes our aggression a waste of time.
• Aggression can make us feel good for a short while but is it worth it?
The aim of assertiveness is to find the best possible solution for all people. It’s about finding ??win:win’ solutions. [Here I need to assert my own belief. I believe that if there is a win, there is also a loss! I prefer the term “grow:grow.”] Assertiveness sees everyone as equal with equal rights and equal responsibilities.
• Assertiveness increases the chances of our needs being met. If we are able to tell people what we want without becoming aggressive, they will be more likely to help us. Also, if they can’t help us and we are able to accept that without becoming aggressive they will remain friends.
• Assertiveness allows us to remain in control. We can decide for ourselves what we want to do and then seek out opportunities to do it ?” or to do something similar. It puts us back in the driving seat.
• Assertiveness brings greater self-confidence. As we learn to take control and see what we can achieve our confidence increases. This in turn increases our feelings of self worth and self esteem. We begin to feel better ?” more effective.
• Assertiveness lets us have greater confidence in others. This is because it also helps others to state their needs and wants. By dealing honestly and fairly with them we encourage them to do the same with us.
• Assertive people have more friends. As we begin to treat people more fairly they begin to trust us, to like us and to want to spend more time with us. We make friends who truly respect us instead of walking all over us (passivity) or fearing us (aggression).
• Reduced stress. The more in control we feel the less stressed we feel. We don’t need to worry about doing things we’d rather not. We don’t have to let other people control us. Nor do we have to worry about trying to control other people. We have the power to choose our own destiny.
Remember that there are many ways to interact with others. We can inform, explain, discuss, or simply have a relaxed conversation. It’s often useful to know in advance precisely, how you intend to interact.
The article continues. I do not necessarily agree with the premises or phrasing in the latter portions of this presentation. Therefore, I am choosing to assert myself. I will offer one further aspect though I have chosen to alter one term. The author speaks of “rights” and states the “right” we each have as individuals. I might list those however, I experience that most people are very familiar with their rights.
Rarely do they acknowledge what social scientists term as “responsibilities.” I struggle with that word for I, as many cringe when another person declares that we must be responsible. Often the speaker of this dictum is not. Therefore, I will replace the word responsibility with a phrase, “I can consciously choose.”
Dear reader, the choice is yours. Please consider we will get what we give. That we cannot control.
• I can consciously choose to treat others fairly, honestly and with respect for their dignity.
• I can consciously choose my own actions and their consequences.
• I can consciously choose to uphold the rights of others whenever I can.
• I can consciously choose my own decisions.
• I can consciously choose to be aware and acknowledge my role in my own life.
• I can consciously choose to accept, what happens to me is, generally, a result of my own decisions.
When we question the value of war, if we are honest with ourselves we will realize there is none. Aggression need not be our habit, preference, or option, first or last. We can assert ourselves. We can and must acknowledge that we have rights and privileges; yet, we must remember that others have the same. Theirs are equal to our own, no less worthy and no more.
Yes, speak up when you feel threatened; defend yourself assertively. However, you need not do so aggressively. Realize that if you choose conflict, you will get what you ask for. The force with which your enemy engages will be equal and opposing. I invite us as a nation and as individuals, to acknowledge peace is the greatest path. When we truly pursue tranquility, we understand war is not an option, ever. May peace be with you, everyone.
• On American Independence Day, July 4, 2006, this nation celebrates war or freedom, depending on your chosen perspective. North Korea fires its test missiles. Their mission is to exert their independence or to initiate war. We choose; they will act in kind. They have already. We show our strength and our ability to engage in war. They offer the same. Assertiveness or Aggressive attacks, which cycle will be chose this time?
Please, sing it with me. War, By Edwin Starr
Peruse if You Choose. No Worries. No War . . .
• President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat, Office of the Press Secretary. October 7, 2002
• Poll: Don’t Go It Alone On Iraq. CBS News. September 7, 2002
• The Patriot Act
• National Security Strategy for the United States of America
• Casualties in Iraq, The Human Cost of Occupation, Antiwar.com
• Economists say cost of war could top $2 trillion, By Bryan Bender. Boston Globe. January 8, 2006
• Bush pledges to get bin Laden, dead or alive, USA Today. December 14, 2001
• ‘You are either with us or against us’, CNN News. November 6, 2001
• World War I and World War II By Jerrie S. Cheek. Educational Technology Center.
• President Addresses the Nation. Office of the Press Secretary. September 7, 2003
• The National Priorities Project
• The 9/11 Commission Report, Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
• War remains the option of first resort – not last, By Simon Tisdall. The Guardian. Thursday February 27, 2003
• The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler, The History Place?
• Neville Chamberlain Wikipedia.
• Appeasement Spartacus.
• War as Self-Defense, About.
• Why America Goes to War, By Richard Corliss. Time. January 16, 2006. Vol.167, Iss. 3; pg. 127
• Not Just A Last Resort?
A Global Strike Plan, With a Nuclear Option, By William Arkin. The Washington Post. Sunday, May 15, 2005
• National Security Strategy for the United States of America
• President’s Remarks at National Day of Prayer and Remembrance, The National Cathedral. Office of the Press Secretary. September 14, 2001
• President Bush Delivers Graduation Speech at West Point, George W. Bush. June 1, 2002
• North Korea Test-Fires Several Missiles, By Maureen Dowd. The New York Times. July 4, 2006
• War, By Edwin Starr