War will not end violence [Letter]

September 15, 2014

I am saddened that President Barack Obama, who rode to election promising to end wars, has once again essentially called on us to go to war ("ISIS is not invincible," Sept. 9). I am also saddened that there is so little protest. This is so different than during the Vietnam War when the conscience of the American people and especially our youth rallied us to action that eventually led to peace.

All this will have tragic consequences. The violence of terrorism cannot be eradicated by more violence. The many wars of the last 13 years should by now have shown us the futility of taking up arms.

What then can we do? The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. points to the only answer:

"Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.... The chain reaction of evil —- hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars — must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation."

May these prophetic words rally us as a country to think globally! This new war will only bring need and suffering and produce millions more refugees. It will also sow seeds of hatred in the hearts of a new generation of children and young people, who will see no other option than to resort to violence in the future.

I know that many who read this letter may not share my faith, but we must pray for our country and for all the young men and women who take up arms in defense of our freedom. May we also have the courage to pray for our enemies.

Johann Christoph Arnold, Rifton, N.Y.

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