War and Empathy by Dr. Wayne Dyer

Anu Parmar anuparmar at scastrategies.com
Thu Dec 16 10:14:23 PST 2004

~ thought my fellow OSTers out there might enjoy this article ~ Anu Parmar

War and Empathy by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

We invite you to tune in to a radio interview with Dr. Dyer this coming
Thursday evening on Coast to Coast with George Noory. You can listen online
at www.coasttocoastam.com. Local broadcast affiliates can also be found at
this Web address.

Dr. Dyer has written a short essay about war, American leadership, and the
role of empathy in resolving conflict. Please read it and pass along. This
article is also posted on Dr. Dyer's Website at:

My Turn
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

The war in Iraq, specifically America's role of leadership in this war, is a
painful invitation to ask ourselves what, if anything, we've learned from
previous wars. I, like you, am revolted by the brutal killing of hundreds of
thousands of innocent people during any war. And, like you, I'm saddened by
the apparent inability of human beings to find less violent solutions to
conflict and terrorism. What can we learn from previous wars? Are there
lessons from past experiences that can help reduce or minimize the
likelihood of excessive and unnecessary destruction and devastation of lives
and countries, and our future on Earth? I believe the answer is yes! We can
learn, and there are lessons available.

In an interview with Errol Morris, Robert McNamara, the former Secretary of
Defense during the Vietnam War and the Cuban missile crisis, delineated some
lessons from both events. Eighty-five-year-old McNamara, in Morris's Academy
Award-winning documentary, The Fog of War, looks back at the crucial
mistakes made by our government in failing to understand our supposed enemy,
and even more egregiously, our failure to communicate with those Vietnamese
leaders we were assigned to hate and destroy. The lesson? Empathize with
your enemy.

Meeting with his North Vietnamese counterpart, described by McNamara as "a
wonderful man named Thach," almost 30 years after pulling out of Vietnam,
Thach still insisted that America's mission was to colonize and enslave the
Vietnamese. Thirty years later, McNamara couldn't convince his former enemy
that we believed we were there to protect them from Communist control. In
all those years of conflict and killing on both sides, we had never
successfully communicated to our enemy why we were fighting and killing
them, and we were unable to empathize with what they were experiencing as a
civil war. Thach felt they were fighting for their independence and we were
fighting to enslave them. Total misunderstanding is the result of failure to
empathize. We must learn to find out why we're so hated and make an attempt
to understand each other.

Today we are once again engaged in a gigantic battle with people that we've
dubbed insurgents or resistance fighters, who seem to be so filled with
rancor and rage that they're willing to sacrifice themselves and their loved
ones to destroy the hated Americans. Are we making an effort to understand
and empathize with our new enemy; to communicate with those who want to
destroy us? Sadly, the first lesson of war offered by an octogenarian who's
been there and seen the folly of fighting an enemy you cannot comprehend,
let alone, understand, is still being ignored at a horrendous cost.

Our strategy today, just as it was some 40-plus years ago, is to kill the
insurgents even if we must destroy the villages - including schools,
mosques, homes, and businesses in the process. After all, we can always
rebuild what we've torn down. Yet the hatred remains, and force gives birth
to counter force. The killing and destruction go on, and the people who
witness the total annihilation of their land are future insurgents in the

We're told by those who represent us that the insurgents and the average
Iraqi and Middle Easterner hate us because we stand for freedom and
democracy. It's my contention that we have it backwards. We're hated because
we fail to stand for freedom and democracy. In fact, what we do stand for is
whatever is best for American financial interests. Under the Shah of Iran,
freedom and democracy didn't exist, yet we supported that regime. The Saudi
royal family certainly doesn't stand for freedom and democracy, yet we have
no quarrel with them. The Emir of Kuwait is not about freedom and democracy,
and he has our dying loyalty.

The average person on the streets of Iraq isn't fooled by our occupation of
their country. They hate us throughout the Middle East and the Moslem world
because we care most about how to make money in foreign lands. They know it
and we should know it. But we're told that it's our freedom and democracy
that engenders this animosity toward us. Residents of Iraq, Iran, Kuwait,
Syria, and other countries throughout the Middle East hate us vehemently
because they believe that Americans simply can't figure out how all that
American oil got under their sand. They believe that we're acting in our own
self-interest and that we justify destroying their villages and killing
insurgents by convincing ourselves that it's in the name of freedom and

If all of this is blatantly untrue, and we have no monetary motives in our
continual clean-up campaigns that are leaving corpses and severely wounded
people by the hundreds of thousands, then let's make an effort to
communicate with those whom we're now aimlessly killing. I ask each and
every person who conducts this war under the guise of Christian principles
to answer this question: How much time have you spent praying for your enemy
today? Read Jesus in Matthew 5:43-44: You have heard that it was said, 'Love
your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and
pray for those who persecute you.

Throughout our history, there has been a long list of those we've been
conditioned to hate. The British, French, Spanish, Germans, Japanese,
Russians, Communists, Northern Koreans, Vietnamese, Iranians, Taliban, and
both northerners and southerners in our own country are some of the people
we've been encouraged at various times to call enemies and to hate. The list
is long, and as time passes, those we were assigned to hate we later were
told should be removed from our hate list. The enemy is obviously hatred
itself, and the glassy eyes and the tears rolling down the face of a former
wartime Secretary of Defense say it all to me. Have empathy for your
assigned enemy.

With empathy you know in your heart that it's not a sign of weakness to
attempt to understand that the people we call terrorists have placed the
same label on us, and that the use of force will create a counter force, a
never-ending saga of killing and hate. Ending war involves cultivating
empathy in our policies and the love of God in our hearts. As the Native
Americans reminded us: No tree has branches so foolish as to fight among

Hay House Inc. / Dr. Wayne Dyer P.O. Box 5100 Carlsbad, CA 92018-5100 (800)

> *
> *
> ==========================================================
> ------------------------------
> To subscribe, unsubscribe, change your options,
> view the archives of oslist at listserv.boisestate.edu:
> http://listserv.boisestate.edu/archives/oslist.html
> To learn about OpenSpaceEmailLists and OSLIST FAQs:
> http://www.openspaceworld.org/oslist

To subscribe, unsubscribe, change your options,
view the archives of oslist at listserv.boisestate.edu:

To learn about OpenSpaceEmailLists and OSLIST FAQs:

>From  Thu Dec 16 12:25:41 2004
Message-Id: <THU.16.DEC.2004.122541.0800.>
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 2004 12:25:41 -0800
Reply-To: chris at chriscorrigan.com
From: Chris Corrigan <chris.corrigan at gmail.com>
In-Reply-To: <20041216174350.27389.qmail at web54601.mail.yahoo.com>
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

Dynamite story Brendan...this is exactly the way to handle these types
of situations, and god knows I've had my fair share.

Perhaps it might be pointing us towards a truism:  in Open Space
issues that lurk below the radar will generally get dealt with below
the radar.  In other words if the dead moose/dingo will always get
dealt with in a manner directly related to how buried it is within the
organization.  No one will post a topic about it, but it will come out

The simple reason for this is that people, by definition, have been
unable to deal with the issue up to now, and so they are acting
perfectly consistently by not dealing with it when the agenda is set.
But the quality of dialogue ain OS will always open someone to
venturing the possibility that this issue needs to be raised.

If it is "the real issue" then it will really happen.

I like the bit of your story where the State Manager takes delight in
the fact that he didn't have to raise the issue, and yet it got dealt
with anyway.

Thanks a lot for this...

Consultation - Facilitation
Open Space Technology

Weblog: http://www.chriscorrigan.com/parkinglot
Site: http://www.chriscorrigan.com

To subscribe, unsubscribe, change your options,
view the archives of oslist at listserv.boisestate.edu:

To learn about OpenSpaceEmailLists and OSLIST FAQs:

More information about the OSList mailing list