Bombing for Peace? –it’s time to rethink war strategy
The US initiative to gather nations in an attempt to crush ISIS is, in a sense, an understandable reaction to the brutality conveyed by the media. But like all other similar initiatives in the Middle East, the methods of bombing and other military approaches are doomed to failure. It will only make the volatility more volatile, the methods more brutal, and the friction more fractious.
The arguments by Barack Obama and others that military force is the means to resolve the problems hides a desperation that political leaders around the world cannot see a way forward in such a fragile Middle East. The public statements do not reflect a private confidence that they will succeed, as the last decades have shown. Nor is there any scientific validation that military action can create peace and harmony. And there are contradictions and confusion on who to form alliances with, which in any case can change at short notice.
Much of the current Western hyper-reaction to the violence stems from media hyperbole. Certainly, killing of innocents by brutal and callous fanatics is appalling, but so is the amplification of it by western media outlets. So effective are these graphic depictions that political leaders, either willingly or unwillingly, are spurred into acts of retribution by further media pressure, Gallup polls, and so-called voter reaction.
The outcome of such military retribution always results in thousands being killed as a result, and millions more being displaced. This places an awesome responsibility on the behaviour of the media, which for the most part they blithely ignore. Furthermore, fear-mongering by the media runs counter to empirical research showing a steady and dramatic fall in violence in the world.
“The decline of violence may be the most significant and least appreciated development in the history of our species.” Stephen Pinker, Harvard University
‘Pinker, a Harvard psychology professor and best-selling science writer, wants to correct what he sees as a basic misperception. Fed on a steady diet of gruesome news—terrorist bombings, schoolyard shootings, deadly riots—people have come to think of life in modern, industrialized societies as dangerous, when just the opposite is true. Western Europe is not only the safest place to live in the world today; it is probably the safest, most peaceful place in the history of humankind’ [Wall Street Journal]. It is true that the tragic events in Syria and the Middle East have resulted in significant casualties of late, but in historical terms they are actually nominal, amplified exponentially day by day in graphic media drama. The circumstances do not warrant escalating the situation by drawing in a dozen or more nations into the conflagration, for the reasons given below.
As the foremost proponent of consciousness-based solutions to word peace, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi commented in the 1990’s on the first Gulf War in a telling prediction of what has unfolded in the whole of the Middle East:
What has happened to Kuwait is going to happen to every country sooner or later. We have the example of political friendship. Iraq was friend with all these allies just a few months ago. Now, Iraq is the greatest enemy of the allies. Political alliances… political friendship, absolutely, has no meaning in the field of politics. It’s very unfortunate that a friend today is a deadly enemy tomorrow. Japan is supporting the war. Who knows Japan will be invaded by the allies. Who knows? Germany is supporting the war. Who knows? Allies are going to invade Germany next day. Whole thing is very indefinite, is absolutely unstable, and very pathetic for any intelligent level of life on earth. Maharishi
The Middle East, in particular Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Lebanon have suffered enough. Whatever the agenda and motives behind these wars have been and are, whether religious, political, commercial — no gain can be made on any of these fronts with the methods which have been used in the last decades. 200,000 Iraqis died in the ill-conceived and poorly planned Iraq invasion and occupation, millions have been displaced both then and now. Foreign intervention in Afghanistan has only temporarily kept the Taliban at bay, corruption has escalated and political infighting has caused economic stagnation.
Maharishi went right to the heart of the issue of wars at the time of the first Gulf War:
“Now, what the allies have done, they fed Iraq with weapons. Where from Iraq got weapons? From same America, from same Britain, from same Germany who are now fighting with their own weapons. It’s a bad situation, it is bad politics. Who incited Hussein to invade Kuwait? Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and all the surrounding countries. Who incited them? They were fed by weapons from the allies. And now they have a beautiful logic: “We don’t allow the aggressor to live anymore!” You create an aggressor; feed him by the means of aggression. And then come out as the great saviour of the world. You don’t want the aggressor anymore, what is this? It’s all a fraud. The whole thing is a fraud.” Maharishi
Need for a scientific approach
It beggars comprehension that leaders and governments, even with all the lessons of history, still pursue these failed approaches to resolve conflict. Rather than sending in military to bomb, shoot and kill, these same personnel can be used to transform the violence into peace by a new approach.
In a paper entitled, “A New Role for the Military: Preventing Enemies from Arising – Reviving an Ancient Approach to Peace” in the current The Journal of Management & Social Science is the latest of over 50 studies which have shown the positive effects of Transcendental Meditation and the TM Sidhi programme — known collectively, in a military context, as Invincible Defence Technology — when practised in large groups.
Its author Dr David Leffler, Executive Director of the Centre for Advanced Military Science at the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy in Iowa, USA, advocates the deployment of ‘Prevention Wings of the Military’, made up of groups of military personnel who practise Invincible Defence Technology twice daily. Their role would be to prevent the emergence of new enemies and threats by reducing collective societal stress, which, according to Leffler, is the cause of tension within and between different countries and religious groups, giving rise to war, terrorism, and crime.
The likelihood that the combined results from previous research — reviewed in the new paper — were due to chance, it is claimed, is less than one in a quintillion. According to Dr Leffler, a US Air Force veteran,
“This non-lethal and non-destructive technology… can create victory before war, and can assist in peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding.”
There is also political expediency at play here. Political and military leaders around the world have regularly been informed of consciousness-based technology to resolve war and crises, and that these methods have scientific and statistical validation, but because politics revolves entirely around the garnering of votes, western leaders shy away from this obvious solution even though it will have immediate impact. Leaders are fearful they will lose votes, and this fear will cost countless more lives and suffering, not to mention enormous waste of resources to fight unwinnable wars.
Maharishi eloquently explained the solution to end wars, and the reaction of political leaders at the time of the first Gulf War:
“Today there is a great demonstration of lack of intelligence on the political level. All the political leadership assembled on Gulf, and everyone is feeling it is a big mess that has been created. That shows all the political organisations in the world need my knowledge of creating harmony and establishing integration of world consciousness, eliminating all this crimes and criminal tendencies and wars and battles.
It can happen through a group of seven thousand [experts using Invincible Defence Technology]. I couldn’t do anything more except bringing out this program, this philosophy, this practice, and prove through scientific results that it works. This effect of harmony in the world consciousness and growth of evolutionary trends and tendencies and subside these negative trends and criminal tendencies in the whole world, has been proved repeatedly many times during the past ten years.
Nothing more could I do except offer this to the governments. It is up to them whether their intelligence accepts it or not. It’s like a man who opens a good delicious French restaurant on a good street of Paris. And he sees thousands of people are passing by, and he sits there and nobody comes to his restaurant. Nothing more can he do except open the restaurant on the open street. He can’t feel sorry that no one comes to him. He can only sympathise with those who are passing by, and they must have some good smell from his restaurant, but they don’t come to the restaurant. [Maharishi and audience laughing]
If the political leadership wants to destroy themselves, destroy some country or the other, they can destroy, they have weapons. But if they genuinely want to have peaceful effective change of attitude they should take my programme, establish a seven-thousand group in their country as an essential part of administration, and then their administration will be creating a very peaceful, harmonious, integrated life in the country. And their influence in the whole world will be that of nourishing nature” –Maharishi