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Could we but see ourselves as others see us

I thought of this old poem again the other day and I'll bet that you remember it too:

Could we but see ourselves as others see us.

It would from many a blunder free us!

Robert Burns, the Scottish poet, closed his poem with those lines in the final verse written Sept. 13, 1785. These are his words in the final verse:

O wad some power the giftie gie us

To see ourselves as ithers see us

It wad frae many a blunder free us,

An' foolish notion.

It occurred to me again when reading what we call collateral damage. When we use it, especially of late, is when our drone aircraft killed those other than whom we truly meant to kill because our intelligence or calculations were wrong.

We explain that it was unintentional and we are distressed, too, when we learn of our miscalculation. However, they take it as we would take it -- if the situation were reversed. We would see it as killing or murder of our kith and kin.

Is that enough?

Personally, I don't think so. I was less distressed when those accidents occurred in Afghanistan. As I understand it, those al Qaeda training camps were there when we helped drive Russia out of their country.

But now, they are in Yemen continuing further distance from the area where the Sept 11, 2001, bombing crew came from. Is our interpretation now a just and moral one? Or, has it become a tit for tat immoral game that can never end as the two sides are traditionally honor bound and must always attempt to win the final round.

On the back bumper of my car, I have two signs that say, "War is not the Answer."

At some point, we must negotiate a settlement. We are the ones most likely able to make that happen. We are obviously the most powerful militarily in the Far East. They have been able to make us pay for our so-called victories with their adaptations of explosives. Most individuals on both sides would truly like to have this tit for tat ended. Murderous mayhem has too many ugly, very ugly, results.

And in recent times, 1955, Pete Seeger wrote a poem, Where Have All the Flowers Gone. His last line was, "Oh, when will they ever learn?" Ed Ciaccio put that to music, which sums up why I keep remembering these lines:

Where have all the flowers gone?

Long time passing?

Where have all the soldiers gone?

Long time ago.?

Where have all the soldiers gone?

Gone to graveyards every one.

When will they ever learn?

When will they ever learn?

I would have changed the last lines and made it: When will we ever learn?"

Bernie Hughes, Ed.D, is a retired educator who resides in Superior. He can be reached at bernie3024@