This forum asks:
"What are our greatest challenges to fostering dialogue and deliberation about this difficult issue?"
Listening to an NPR "war diary" on this afternoon's "All Things Considered," a Portland (OR) member of the Peace Institute at a demonstration was attempting to dialog with a demonstrator at another rally whose focus was supporting the troops. The latter person kept expressing her unwillingness to enter into dialog, saying she was only there to show her support, and wondering why the other woman wasn't carrying a similar sign.
I note much friction on the subject of who owns the right to "support the troops" -- and I've yet to hear or read about any attitudinal distinction between individuals and their collective (as well as individual) actions. In conservative Christian circles one encounters the notion of "loving the sinner while hating the sin" -- and the target of such an expressed value frequently resents it. Is there a similar rhetoric operating secretly in the hearts of anti-war activists?
Regarding the implements of war, there probably isn't much support on either side of this argument for any form of weaponry as an offensive tactic.... but oh dear, there's the challenge at the base of all this divisiveness: who's offense, and who's defense? At this point, the BIGGEST challenge to dialog is letting go of the chicken/egg issue. It's simple in theory, but difficult in practice.
About me: I'm a wedding officiant who encourages mindfulness in loving unions, and who struggles with the concept of a mindful war.