Knight - Citizen Soldier in the War on Terror
time we do our part in the War on Terror.
In fact, without our help, we cannot really win.
We've seen this problem growing for many
years now. A clash of ideologies that daily expands to pose a global
On one side of the conflict is the constant
dissemination of western ideals throughout the world. These ideals
include democracy, freedom, equality, humanitarian conscience, freedom
of religion and speech, and the use of reason in the name of progress
On the other side is religious fanaticism
at its worst, promoting an onslaught of indiscriminate and even
mass murder in the supposed name of God. They have willingly embraced
the tactics of terrorism, an ugly, ungodly means of waging war in
which combatants cripple the functions of legitimate governments
through violence, disruption and fear, and ruin the lives of millions
of innocent victims. They reject democracy, freedom, equality and
religious freedom. Violence and hate are their way of life, even
when contrary to the teachings of their own religion. Their brutal
tactics and unforgiving ways deaden the conscience of their participants,
cheapening the value of human life - particularly their own. Right
now, they feel confident of success by their rapid victories and
little resistance. Their bravado has issued threats of slavery and
murder to all the advanced nations of the world.
Most of us in the west so strongly believe
in the self-evident value of our ideals that we cannot understand
the popularity of their ideology of hate. Why would anyone join
a movement to wage war against freedom and equal rights and peaceful,
civilized, and cooperative coexistence? And for what? The tyranny
of some self-styled caliph, who claims power not by
reason of worth or beneficence, but by the insane deviltry of killing
It is important to ask ourselves the motivation
of these combatants, who would live so much better if they embraced
The answer is simple. They don't look upon
the west as the successful realization of high ideals. They see
a wanton Babylon of immorality and greed, hated by Allah
for crushing all that is sacred. Seeing us as hypocrites feeds their
hate and justifies the cleansing of a bloody jihad.
To win this War on Terror, we must wage
it on two separate battlefields. Intelligence, security measures
and military force naturally dominate one. But the other, less tangible
one, suffers from the neglect of empty words and platitudes. That
needs to change. It helps to know what we are fighting for, and
that it is real. That is where we will find our greatest strength.
We have to wake up to the inspirational
depth and beauty of our own ideals before they can effectively stand
up to terrorist propaganda. We must prove that greed, and all the
ugliness that comes along with it, is not the natural result of
freedom. True freedom produces virtue, not greed.
We must resurrect the primacy of conscience
to solidify our moral base. We must realize that true happiness
does not come from the acquisition of expensive toys, or the diversions
from life of being constantly entertained. It comes from leading
a virtuous life.
Lastly, we must rescue and reform our politics
by preventing partisanship from perverting the will of the people.
This is where today's Knighthood plays
a vital role. We already recognize and hold dear the ideals mentioned
earlier. Indeed, we have made serious commitment to them, and are
charged to show the world that they are valid through the way we
live our lives.
Whenever we speak what is true when others
will not, whenever we go out of our way to offer kindness to those
in need, whenever we defend the weak, or assure justice, or measure
our words before speaking to make sure that they support higher
goals rather than our egos, we strike a blow for freedom in the
War on Terror.
We who proclaim freedom as an ideal are
responsible for making it so. Believe it or not, the whole world
is watching what we do with it. Ideals are just empty words until
we bring them to life in our everyday lives. If we fail to do that,
if we fail to live them enthusiastically and with pride of accomplishment,
then we empower our enemies.
We have a saying among us. "Seek
the Knight Within." Please take a moment to consider
that, to listen to the quiet voice of conscience, your own conscience,
which is an intrinsic part of you, and longs to complete you. We
are being called to a battlefield where bombs and bullets cannot
win the day. Our weapons are what we say and do to the least among
us, and the rationale of building a society forever immune from
Companions, and those moved by the ethics of Chivalry-Now,
by standing up for the light of reason and virtue, and promoting
truth, we stem the tide against the degradation of our own ideals.
There can be no greater weapon or fortification against the ideology
of darkness that threatens us now.