Friday, June 18, 2010

CBA for the heart and mind

Colonialism drove Iraq crazy, Saddam's version didn't help much, but the 2003 invasion and the long occupation has gone through national trauma, suicide attempts and an underlying depression that pervades civil society. Isn't this a version of what all societies do when foreigners invade and control them?

For the 30 million Iraqis, many with totally predictable mental health issues, there are about 100 psychiatrists. The downward spiral of punishment, lashback and depression we've heaped upon an already burdened people has produced a country that will take decades to recover.

That violence. A real problem-solver. Brings democracy to your door--then throws it aside, blows the door off the hinge, lets your old enemies in to kill your son and ravage your daughter, burns down your house, pollutes your water, beats your wife and expects gratitude. Violence expects worshipful adoration for inflicting the worst humiliation and torture. Violence demands a huge chunk of all you produce, whether you are in the victim nation or the perpetrator nation.

Then, when someone promotes nonviolence, they are chided and challenged, yeah sure, tell us how that would work against Marcos, Milosevic, the KKK, apartheid, or the gulag commies who ran the Warsaw Pact countries? Oh--that's right, that's how they were all defeated, with almost no one's house burned down, water polluted, taxes seized, wife beaten, sons killed, or people driven insane.

It is so past time to redefine conflict management, democracy, and most of all, enlightened self-interest. Run a reasonably accurate cost-benefit analysis and you get the same replicable result: violence is a loser and nonviolence, for all its challenges, is the best approach. Now if we could get it merely a thousandth of the funding that violence gets...

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