For the Sake of Surrender

John McCain will not surrender in Iraq. He continually says so.

In another military cemetery in America, a widow, a mother, a son receive a folded flag. The stars and stripes that draped the coffin of their fallen hero is a flimsy bandage for the bloody scar on their hearts. Each mourner, consumed by pain, let’s out a wail, letting all who hear it know that they have reached the point when the deep sorrow they have been feeling has sucked even more emptiness from the depths of their already empty soul.

And we cry with the son, the mother, the widow. We reach our hearts around them and hope to heal them by our embrace.

Some of us wrap ourselves with our own flag, hugging it as close as a rabbi’s prayer shawl, as we try to find meaning to the tragedy of this war. Beneath our shroud, we mumble:

For the sake of the wounded and the dead,

we must surrender to the error,
surrender to the folly,

surrender to the truth,

for God’s sake.

In any case, we are the enemy to whom we must surrender.

During the Vietnam War peace negotiations, there was a term made popular in Washington: “Peace with Honor.” It was a phrase that always seemed odd to me, a way of saving face during an unwinnable war. But it was never considered surrender.

Here and now, in this war, we must pursue honor first, the honor of our own nation. When we vote this November, honor is what’s at stake – our global identity as an ethical and honorable nation. Peace may follow; it may not. But at that point, when we stand in good faith to confront our enemies, we will do so as respected, responsible members of the world community.

Surrender? No. Cut and run? Puh-lease.

But when we are united in changing our country? Honor. And peace.


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