I watched The Kingdom the other night. It was a harrowing experience, not principally because of the violence, but because of the last two lines of the movie. Like the punchline of a good joke, those lines hit me hard between the eyes and the message got through loud and clear.
I know it's something of a cliche to talk about the cycle of violence, so forgive me if I stray down that path.
A few years ago I wrote a piece called Turn The Other Cheek, George in which I put forward that the better response to the World Trade Centre attacks from a Christian ruler would have been one of non-violence. At the time there was a great call for vengeance from the Americans and it saddened me. All that money spent on equipment to flatten Afghanistan and then Iraq, just to flush out two enemies of the state. Looking back on it now, it seems as though Bush made an angry decision and has been unable to back down from it ever since. Is he embarrassed?
Whatever the reasons, we are now left in a situation in which two countries are destroyed and the destroyers are now trying to convince people that they are rebuilders. Will the destruction convince any of the enemies to lay down their arms? Probably not. When vengeance is high in the cultural awareness of those with the triggers, the weapons will be taken up again and used to inflict more violence.
The answer is not vengeance. The answer is peace and peace-making. We can spend our time and money on making war, or we can spend it on making peace. I, for one, would rather see peace.