My time in America taught me that some organizations are very good at convincing people that to disagree with their institutional values, is to be a weaker person. I think this is especially true of the military. I saw a picture in a Facebook group two days ago of General Tommy Franks with a speech bubble saying something like: "Next time you're home, and you see an anti-war protestor, shake his hand, and as you walk away, wink at his girlfriend because she knows she's dating a pussy." Then there is the cartoon that draws a scrawny crop-haired young man alongside a hulking, fully-kitted soldier. The young man has PEACE written on his t-shirt and the flower in his hand is drooping because of the stink lines coming off him. The soldier is carrying a little, dark-skinned girl (presumably away from danger) and the caption reads "Who has done more for world peace"?
Here are two of my favourite extracts from McIntosh's essay. These should lend insight into why he's such an inspiration.
"Violence, it is true, only understands violence, and it gets confused and has to think twice when faced with the opposite."
"If violence is the absence of love, nonviolence is about the presence of relationship. It is the means of connection with that which gives life.
That is why it's hard to explain in prosaic language why nonviolence matters and from where it derives its power. It's why many of those who argue for peace have difficulty in completing their arguments. The argument starts in this world, but doesn't end there. The suffering that we voluntarily take on is a birth pang, and you have to trust to life beyond life to get to full delivery. You have to remember that the greater part of our being can never be killed, and that God is always on the side of the suffering."