Every week, the President of the United States sits down with his advisers and decides who to assassinate, via drones, in one or another of the Islamic States, without due process – no reading of charges; no public release of evidence of guilt; no trial. Frequently, scores of innocent bystanders are also killed. Recently, a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders was inadvertently bombed in one such act. If you were a citizen of one of the targeted countries, how would these acts be viewed?
To help your deliberation on the question, ask yourself this: imagine that China considered certain citizens within the UK or the US to be threats, and each week Xi Jinping sat down with his advisers and decided which locale within each country would be bombed.
Do you imagine that this could go on for years without the general populace rising up in arms or demanding that their governments respond in kind? At the very least, if it were your country, would you not feel personally helpless, develop an abiding hatred of China and rejoice when terrible things happened within China? If your answer is "no", then please read no further because you and I reside in alternate realities and there is no possibility of communication between us.
We live in a reality of cause and effect, and every effect is, in its turn, a further cause of some subsequent effect. In such a reality, how does a rational mind place blame? If we look at each 'wrong' done by one group or nation to another, and trace each back to the 'reason' for each wrong, then, in the case of the seemingly never ending struggle between Christian and Muslim states, the cause and effect interplay is a set of threads extending back to the Crusades in the 12th and 13th centuries.
I am in no way condoning the barbaric acts of IS, or of any other similar extremist organisation. These acts are inhuman by any measure of humanity and I am sickened by the horror of them. But we must ask ourselves how such a level of inhumanity could come into existence. It cannot be something innate in the belief systems of opposing nations because history proves otherwise. The Spanish Inquisition, born of the Catholic Christian belief system, and the Protestant Christian Witch Trials where men, women and children were burned alive, are as barbaric as anything the Muslim-inspired States have spawned.
The vaporisation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – cities with no military value and filled with innocent civilians, many of whom are still alive and suffering from the scars of third-degree burns – was the pinnacle in the history of man's inhumanity to humans, and belief systems played little or no part in its conception and execution. It must be something other than belief. We must look long and hard at ourselves, because we – all of us within the human species – are at fault. Unless you can claim that you are free of jealousy, anger, greed, hatred, fear and all the rest, then you as well as me, must bear the blame.
There is the prospect of global war on the horizon. And the war will be unconventional – cyber war will play a significant, if not the major, part, and the war will be unimaginably devastating. No one can doubt this. But every nation must accept its part in the causation this potential threat.
The developed world believes that it is peaceful and civilised. The tiniest amount of objective observation proves otherwise. "War" is a beloved word. We stand behind the War on Poverty, or the War on Drugs, the War on Terror, The War on Crime, the War on Cancer and the war on a thousand other things. We are warriors and we speak of peace.
And civilised? Turn on the television and check out any news channel. Do we see grandmothers giving us new recipes for baking apple pies? No. We see murder and mayhem, fires and floods, war and pestilence. We can see people murdered on the news, but we cannot speak an impolite word describing the act of love. Where is the civilisation in this?
It is time to get real. There is not much time left before that war on the horizon becomes the noonday reality that few of us will survive. We must stop the hostility, now, all of us, and sit down and listen to the other, with an open heart and mind – mindful of our own dreaming part in this nightmare.