A former student of mine, a soon-to-be-graduate who will attend a university in Europe, has applied for a "Peace Scholarship" from a local church organization. She listed me as a reference contact.
Think about that for a minute. She asked me, someone who spent the first several years of his adult life preparing for war, someone who still supports our current war against Islamofascists, to be a reference for a peace scholarship.
There's a compliment in there, and I'm grateful to receive it.
This morning I spoke to a member of the committee who will be deciding to whom to award the scholarship. I pointed out at least twice that I'm former military, and that I don't support the "peace at any cost" belief structure, but that I view this student as one who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. Even though I don't agree with her, I respect her beliefs and the logic (not emotionalism) that helps structure them. As I wrote in a letter of recommendation for her, she's destined to become an arbiter or an ambassador. I could gush on and on about her, but that isn't the point of this post.
It's obvious that I have a significant amount of respect for this young woman, but that her views are almost the opposite of mine. Why, then, would I want to promote and help her earn a scholarship the foundations of which I don't accept? When I hear the peace advocates cry out, I see in my mind's eye an image of Neville Chamberlain, holding in his hand "a piece of paper signed by Herr Hitler himself", promising peace in our time--just before the most violent conflagration in human history. When my own belief is that the best way to obtain peace is to be strong enough and prepared enough that no one will attack you, why would I support such a naively idealistic scholarship? Why, when history is on my side, would I give such effusive praise for a student who is wrong?
Because some day, she might be right--and a war could be averted.