I think I am ready to comment on the situation in Iraq and our involvement. After reading Fiona’s post where she quotes Sean Gonsalves on the moral issues of the Iraq war, some of the rumblings of my own soul are ready to surface.
There is such a thing as higher moral ground. Unfortunately, we little understand it.
That does not mean we do not employ it. It is employed because it holds great power. If one is truly on high moral ground in a matter, it will command both respect and loyalty in support of whatever cause employs it.
The trouble is, we can find it compromised. And once compromised that ground is lost…. and the cause is found on another ground. That does not mean a cause is lost, it means that it has lost force. It holds less of a call upon our support.
This is generally true whenever high moral ground is in force. In whatever matter, great or small, I believe. There are other battles for causes, but the one waged on high moral ground is the one most vulnerable to change. And in the spirit of “counting costs” it might be good to see whether we have the wherewithall to claim “high moral ground” before we start on that tack.
The ground on which the struggle in Iraq is waged has changed. Those American soldiers who engaged in base torture of prisoners changed it. Because of our culture, I think it was inevitable.
Because for a long time we have embraced relative morality, relative morality is shifting sand under a stance of high moral ground. Moral Ground demands a consistancy of behavior in the face of hard pressures. And relativity in moral view will never provide that.
If you have a relative moral base in the constituents of a cause, you cannot depend on them to hold to a ground they neither understand nor really believe in. They will cave. And that is what happened in that prison in Iraq. The ideal of doing what is best, no matter how deserving the particular Iraqi person, nor how difficult and degrading the pressures of the situation. It is alot to ask. It requires a great deal of understanding of just what is at stake.
Not always an available commodity in war situations.
I do not condone or excuse the behavior of Americans, and we all must take some responsibility for each others actions. We sent our people over there, and we are responsible for what happens because of that.
We lost the High Moral Ground of helping the Iraqi people. That doesn’t mean we cannot address the wrongs and seek to continue to finish, what we may finish, in that endeavor. But we may no longer claim a maintenance of the “High Moral Ground”. We are now on different ground. That of weighing the balance of the good we may do against the problems we are causing…or continuing. And the costs.
High Moral Ground is maintained no matter what the cost. Because it is worth it for the sake of greater good that it has the power to do. The pull it has to raise large numbers of people together for creating a lasting improvement in the world at large is phenomenal. So perhaps this is where the arguments must begin and where the lines must be drawn.
At the beginning it was a risk to venture a war on unsure information. But could we have known that? I am not so sure those who howl in their hindsights really know. Were we premature? Was our president premature? Maybe. But that is not the issue for our present policy.
We failed in our initial goals, but that does not mean to not continue to try; it does mean to more carefully review the manner in which we progress.
Ask yourself: Could a different president simply pull us out of Iraq on the day empowered? Not really. We will have to have policy in place, regardless. We will have to weigh the options, regardless.
And we will have to choose what sort of nation we will be. Nipped at the heels and running? Or eventually will we need to stand against the revealed threat of Islamic determination to push their will forward through terrorism?
Because I do not see enough Islamic national work against the use of terrorism and terrorists in the advance of their causes.
A slap on the hand and a few choice words has not been sufficient to stop the bloodshed.
A question is what ground is such enforcement waged upon? Find me the ground and we may discuss it. I do not feel comfortable with “cut and run” in the face of agression. It tends to leave your back uncovered.
3 thoughts on “Higher Moral Ground”
Grit, my friend, did you read my posting of May 27, “Touche”?
The problem for me with what you say about so-called moral relativity is that without the relativity, things are just too rigid and people often miss the truth because they are straining so hard to fit events to their ideology. Nothing, nothing in the universe, Grit, is absolute. The only constant is change. Truly understanding that brings liberation. Clinging to rigid moral ideals only makes a person blind to humanity, with all respect. I think it is far more spiritual to leave room to change one’s mind.
I might have missed it. That is happening lately, but I will get myself back on track after I take my vacation ( and then I will be dedicating an entire post to your comments). Maybe before if I can manage.
Because I would make a case that that there is Absolute. It is rare, but necessary, and does exist.
And the ideas of Chaos being the only reality and spirituality…. that is just too much to resist commenting upon. 🙂 And chaos is exactly what a reality that has only change within it is called.
Can’t live there. We can live with it, but not in it. ….more…………later
In going back over things to comment in a post, I don’t think I missed the meaning of “touche”. I sometimes doubt myself, but I think I got it.
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