Late one night, bombs fell on the village of Kama Ado, a tiny, isolated hamlet of mud houses. I interviewed people who were hauled from the wreckage. I wrote a story about it. I fell asleep. By morning, my story wasn’t the same. Instead of leading with the news of the crushed village, the top story had Pentagon officials denying reports of the bombing. The first voice in the article was no longer that of an Afghan victim. Instead, it was a Pentagon official who said, “This is a false story.” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the same: “If we cannot know for certain how many people were killed in lower Manhattan, where we have full access to the site, thousands of reporters, investigators, rescue workers combing the wreckage, and no enemy propaganda to confuse the situation, one ought to be sensitive to how difficult it is to know with certainty, in real time, what may have happened in any given situation in Afghanistan, where we lack access and we’re dealing with world class liars.” I read it once. I read it twice. Were we to believe the village had spontaneously collapsed while U.S. warplanes circled overhead? Every Man In This Village is a Liar, p. 12 – Megan K. Stark
"Here is the truth: It matters, what you do at war. It matters more than you ever want to know. Because countries, like people, have collective consciences and memories and souls, and the violence we deliver in the name of our nation is pooled like sickly tar at the bottom of who we are. The soldiers who don’t die for us come home again. They bring with them the killers they became on our national behalf, and sit with their polluted memories and broken emotions in our homes and schools and temples. We may wish it were not so, but action amounts to identity. We become what we do. You can tell yourself all the stories you want, but you can’t leave your actions over there. You can’t build a wall and expect to live on the other side of memory. All of that poison seeps back into our soil." Every Man In This Village is a Liar, p. 51 – Megan K. Stark
The Law of Retribution "People are very apt to think, especially when they are strongly tempted, that they can probably escape the law of the land, outrun the constable, or slip through the clutches of authority in some other way. They hope that individuals will forgive them, or else be powerless to revenge their actions; or that the thing will be forgotten sometime; or, better still, that they will never be found out at all. If however, they understood that the law of retribution is a Cosmic Law, impersonal and unchanging as the law of gravity; neither considering persons nor respecting institutions; without rancor but without pity; they would think twice before they treated other people unjustly. The law of gravity never sleeps, is never off duty or off its guard, is never tired out, is neither compassionate nor vindictive; and no one would ever dream of trying to evade it, or coax it, or bribe it, or intimidate it. People accept it as being inevitable and inescapable, and they shape their conduct accordingly—and the law of retribution is even as the law of gravity. Water finds its own level sooner or later and our treatment of others returns at last upon ourselves." Emmet Fox, The Sermon on the Mount

Suggested Reading List

Every Man in the Village is a Liar – Megan K. Stack  – Beautifully written and the most honest account of the reality of the fighting in the Middle East I have read. Megan definitely paints the picture you will never get to see on the nightly news and if she has picked a side in the war on terror she has chosen the side of that common man who never had an investment in the violence but seems continually caught in the politics and greed of war.

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man– John Perkins – Perkins himself is recruited by the National Security Agency and is put on the payroll of an international consulting firm. His job is to write false economic forecasts for 3rd world governments that are supposed to be humanitarian in nature, but the real motive lies in manipulating these governments with the goal of controlling their resources. It provides an excellent understanding for how the international game of finance is played, who benefits, and what the implications are if you don’t play according to America’s rules.

Everything Ever Written– Noam Chomsky and Chris Hedges

Forgiveness– Gerald Jampolsky – There is no winners in a life burdened with angry and resentment. It has been said that resentment is like me drinking poison in an effort to harm someone else and forgiveness is not about allowing people to do you harm but we forgive to allow ourselves to heal.

The Spirituality of Imperfection – Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham – We are all incredibly imperfect people and Kurtz and Ketcham seize the opportunity to teach us a great deal about love and tolerance. They delve into a variety of different religions to view their spiritual aspects but seem to have a sincere fondness for the spirituality exhibited by the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron – A brilliant spiritual guide to simply becoming a more creative human being.

The Hour of Sunlight - Sami Al Jundi & Jen Marlowe – A beautiful story of the continuing struggle of the Palestinian people living under Israeli authority. For those who wish to understand what life is like in the occupied territories you will not find a better guide.