Worried About the War?

The closer our country gets to war with Iraq, the more upset I become and the more powerless I feel. I was wondering how you, as a physician and healer, regard the potential loss of life on both sides.

– January 30, 2003

Updated 4/19/2005

The practice of integrative medicine is more than a hands-on approach to healing, it is also a philosophy that encompasses all facets of health – physical, emotional and spiritual – and all ways of fostering healing in ourselves, our fellow humans, and ultimately the planet. I view war and other forms of violence as opposed to these values. If and when we – as individuals and as a nation – must fight, I believe we should choose our battles very carefully.

I am deeply concerned about what seems to be a march towards war with Iraq. When I was at Harvard during the Vietnam Era, I learned – like so many of my generation – the importance of speaking out and the difference that our voices can make in policy and political decisions. We all should treasure the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and never forget how powerful they can be. From what I read, opposition to the war has been accelerating, but I don’t know how much of an impact it will have.

I understand your frustration with the momentum toward war, and I urge you to take some action to overcome your feeling of powerlessness. Psychologists have observed that people who make their voices heard tend to feel better than those who don’t. I encourage you to take action whenever you feel strongly about an issue. In this case, you can begin by writing your representatives in Congress.

Since you oppose the war, you may feel better among kindred spirits. In fact, whatever your views, you can find organizations that reflect them and will involve you in efforts to promote your cause. Being involved as a citizen will help you deal with any feelings of powerlessness in this era of mass communication and globalization.

I’m reminded of a quote from President Kennedy that seems relevant to us today: “Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind… War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.”


Andrew Weil, M.D.

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