To qualify my views and observations , I must reflect on how I came to be in the position to speak out.
I joined the military in 1949 at age 17 and retired in 1992, over 40 years of active duty and reserve time with some breaks in between, for a total of 27 years for pay purposes. Much of this time was spent in foreign countries.
I also worked for the federal government as a news reporter and also retired from federal service in 1992.
Thru all these years I was a strong “ HAWK“, my feeling was, who ever is the enemy, “kill them all but six and make them pall bearers”,
From 1992 to the present I have been employed as a consultant by the federal government to the Russian Federation and to the Government of Nigeria, Africa.
Thru these travels my views have certainly changed.
While working in Siberia on three different assignments, I traveled and lived in small Russian villages, working with the local government and farms, many of the farms were still run as collective communes under the communists doctrines.
I found the people to be friendly and hard working and proud of their heritage but surprisingly there was a definite lack of Christian beliefs. A few practiced religion in the Russian orthodox church but most did not discuss their beliefs.
To the opposite, this year I traveled to Nigeria on assignment and found religion ruled every action, including government. The southern part of Nigeria is mostly Christian, while the northern part is of Muslim faith. They have had internal strife for years because of this division.
While in the north, I was at a meeting with high level officials and suddenly all of them got up and left the room and went out side. My first thought was that I might have said something to offend them, But it was simply prayer time and they went outside to kneel and pray.
This brought home to me how little, we as Americans understand the power that religion holds over some people of the world.
Now the terrible things that Happened September 11th, only bolsters my belief that we must try to understand the problem and work for a solution without just going in and killing innocent people for revenge.
Thankfully, our Secretary of State has spent a lot of time in the Middle East and understands the complexity of the problem.
I will continue to help in any way to keep our American way of life intact, whch means freedom of speech, travel, and the right to practice a religious faith, even if it does not agree with mine.
James Mccallister [email protected]