I met a new friend. His name is Jason. He asked me to call this blog post “The Last Native American.”
Jason asked if he could talk to me. He said he was a veteran who had done terrible things and he needed someone to talk to.
Jason was a Marine sniper in Afghanistan who worked with two other snipers as a team. They killed many people. Sometimes they would surround a position and kill everyone at that position. He said was he even was required to kill an innocent child.
To fight their guilt the three snipers would tell jokes about their targets and make bets as to who could make the best shots.
Jason wondered if God could forgive him for killing so many people.
Jason is also dealing with an alcohol addiction.
We discussed the parting of the Red Sea and the great miracle God performed to save the Children of Israel. Jason thought if God could perform such a miracle, perhaps Jesus could heal him of the sins he had committed.
What do we owe Veterans like Jason?
We owe veterans the same thing we owe every human being living today. Agape love.
Agape (Ancient Greek agapē) is a Greco-Christian term referring to love. Within Christianity, agape is considered to be the love originating from God or Christ for humankind In the New Testament, it refers to the covenant love of God for humans, as well as the human reciprocal love for God; the term necessarily extends to the love of one’s fellow man. Wikepedia.
We owe veterans agape love. Many veterans are followers of Jesus, our brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus commands us to love our brothers and sisters in Christ, if we do not love our brothers and sisters in Christ we are not his followers. Veterans who are not followers of Jesus are potential followers of Jesus and we owe them the same love.
10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister. 1 John 3:10 NIV
Many veterans have suffered severe injury in the line of duty. Because we have experienced the love of Jesus, we owe these veterans the best possible medical care.
Many veterans have developed severe psychological and emotional problems as a result of stress and injury suffered in the line of duty. Because we have experienced the love of Jesus, we owe them the best counselors and support system we can provide.
Many veterans have become addicts. Because we have experienced the love of Jesus, we owe them the best help available to help with their addictions to drugs and alcohol. The Salvation Army has one of the most effective programs available for helping people overcome addictions through healing through Jesus Christ. ARC: Adult Rehabilitation Centers gladly open their doors to veterans who are addicts.
Many veterans were recruited in their teens and early 20s. They were told they were patriotic and protecting their families if they joined the military. Because we have experienced the love of Jesus, we owe the truth to young people who are considering joining the military. Laurence M. Vance gives many reasons why young people should not join the military. See “Should Anyone Join the Military?” 1. Link at bottom of post.
We owe to veterans a foreign policy that makes a much greater effort to use non-violent methods to settle difference between countries. According to Rod Sider there is always a way third way. Columbia University Press studied 100 violent and non-violent uprisings. Non-violent campaigns are twice as likely to succeed. There is always an option to find non-violent ways to intervene in situations. Police work could be made less violent with proper training. We can also make greater use of weapons such as stun guns. Non-violent negotiation between countries who disagree is a many times cheaper than war. 2. Link at bottom of post.
We owe veterans an end to unjust foreign policy. Giant defense contractors and oil companies have great influence in congress.
USA Today says: Maryland-based Lockheed Martin, the largest defense contractor in the world, is estimated to have had $44.9 billion in arms sales in 2017 through deals with governments all over the world. The company drew public scrutiny after a bomb it sold to Saudi Arabia was dropped on a school bus in Yemen, killing 40 boys and 11 adults. Lockheed’s revenue from the U.S. government alone is well more than the total annual budgets of the IRS and the Environmental Protection Agency, combined.3. Link at bottom of post.
War Is A Racket. WAR is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. The Antiwar Classic by America’s Most Decorated Soldier.4 Link at bottom of post.
War in the Middle East: In “America’s War for the Greater Middle East,” by Retired Army Colonel Andrew J. Bacevich, Colonel Bacevich tells us that the Greater War in the Middle East is about oil.5. Colonel Bacevich also discusses how our military action in the Middle East is creating new terrorists faster than we can kill them. These “terrorists” are protecting their families from us.
Do we really want our young people joining the military and killing innocent children so that we can have cheap oil, drive big pickups, and buy stock in profitable oil companies?
We also owe the veterans of our enemies a great debt of Agape Love.
Reasons why other Christians participate in violence: Reasons Christians Give to Say Violence by Christians is Legitimate
1. Should Anyone Join the Military? By Laurence M. Vance
2. Doug Stuart interviews Ron Sider, Ep 145: Loving Enemies in an Age of Violence, with Ron Sider
3. “Military spending: 20 companies profiting the most from war” by Samuel Stebbins and Evan Comen, USA Today, 2019
5. “America’s War for the Greater Middle East, A Military History,” Random House, April 5, 2016. By Retired Army Colonel Andrew J. Bacevich. Book Review: “America’s War for the Greater Middle East.”
Copyright © 2019 by Jon Kauffman. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given. Permission is gladly given to re-blog this post.