I recently read the following in J. Denny Weaver’s book, The Nonviolent God (p. 220):
When the hour arrived for the end of Word War I, Winston Churchhill and his wife went to Downing Street to congratulate Lloyd George, the prime minister. Churchill interrupted a meeting already in progress and suggested that since the “fallen foe” was close to starvation, they should send “a dozen great ships crammed with provisions” to Hamburg. The suggestion received a cold rebuff.
Six years later a German soldier described his feelings at the time and wrote that “only fools, liars, and criminals could hope for mercy from the enemy.” His hatred grew for those responsible for the suffering. On observing the great misery [in Germany], he wrote, “My own fate became known to me … I resolved to go into politics.”
That soldier was Adolph Hitler.
Critics of nonviolence often use Adolph Hitler as an example of a time when violence and bloodshed was absolutely necessary. They say, “So if you had a chance to go back in time and kill Hitler and save millions of innocent Jews, you wouldn’t do it?”
What the question fails to recognize is that there were good ways of stopping Hitler that did not involve killing him. One wonders if there ever would have been a Nazi Germany and a World War II if Winston Churchill’s advice had been heeded.
Similarly, one wonders if Winston Churchill’s suggestion could help the West in our struggle with radical Islam and ISIS.
If that isn’t appalling enough, in our efforts to retaliate against the horrible tragedy of the murder of 2,753 people in the Word Trade Center on 9/11/2001, we sent our young men and women overseas, and so far, 4,486 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq and 2,345 U.S. soldiers have died in Afghanistan, with tens of thousands of soldiers being injured or wounded. And this is nothing compared to the casualties among the people of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Looking back, is it possible that there might be a better way to defeat Isis and radical Islamic terrorists … a way that would have spent less money and fewer (if any) lives? What would Iraq and Afghanistan look like today if we had followed Churchill’s advice in the wake of World War I, and had sent boatloads of food and construction crews to the Middle East to prop up their economy and give their people an education?
The annual GDP of Iraq is just over $200 Billion. Afghanistan is about $60 billion. Imagine what the two countries might look like today if we had spent $4 Trillion building those nations up instead of bombing them down?
When it comes to stopping Islamic terrorists, I sometimes think a Wal-Mart in Baghdad would work better than bombs.
“Oh … But you can’t export capitalism into the Middle East! They will rise up in rebellion.”
Maybe. But if your choices are between a Wal-Mart and bombs, are you really going to choose bombs?
I am not saying this would have “worked,” … but then, is what we are doing now really “working”?
I am not a politician, and I know these are difficult issues, but I just sometimes wonder when the world is going to wake up and realize the truth that that violence always and only leads to more violence. In trying to defeat violence with violence you become like the enemy you seek to defeat.