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Letter: Is peace the antidote to terrorism?


When Americans first heard about ISIS we thought bombing them was the only way to get rid of these evil terrorists. Walter Wink’s declaration that “there is always a nonviolent solution to every conflict” caused me to question the bombing as a solution. We have to begin to think outside the box. This is one effort to do so.

I want to make very clear I do not condone what ISIS is doing. Today, driven by fear, support for war is once again rising based on the lie that “violence can end violence”. That is doing the same old thing, futilely trying to settle things with guns and bombs. Most agree this Is not working. My aim here is to help us understand what makes people join ISIS and what might be a way to get leaders from all sides to start talking.

What if ISIS was bombing your town and killed your son, mother or friends? Then suppose a group formed to fight and stop that killing. Would you join them? Inevitably when we use bombs to kill leaders many daughters, mothers, brothers and friends, are killed or injured. Consequently are we not encouraging relatives to join ISIS and thus swelling their ranks?

Several years ago our US military provided health care, shelter, food, and jobs for the Iraqi people. They did this in caring ways as a part of our military offensive. It was successful in winning the support of the people. When I was doing peacemaking in Colombia several years ago the Colombian military changed from abusing the farmers and stealing their chickens etc. to treating them well. I was amazed how quickly the farmers changed from fearing the military to welcoming their presence.

ISIS is caring for people giving health care, shelter, food, and jobs for the people. Should we do something similar to win people away from supporting ISIS?

Do we want to end terrorist attacks? Than we have to stop doing what is causing the terrorist acts. ISIS says “if you bomb us we will continue to attack you.“

What if we said to ISIS we will stop bombing you? We want to talk to resolve our differences and to show it we will start dropping medical supplies, food, tents, or whatever is needed that is not military aid.

In light that they too like us are people created by God might they surprise us and be willing to talk? What is Jesus’ way in this worldwide catastrophe? Do you think bombing is working? What are your ideas?

Jim Fitz

Evanston, IL - formerly from York County