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In Powerful Peace, J. Robert DuBois takes on a crucial, unprecedented mission for a U.S. Navy SEAL: the relentless pursuit of interpersonal and international peacemaking. With gut wrenching candor and surprising moments of comedy, he narrates a personal journey through decades of conflict, its often-absurd origins, its ever-present innocent victims, and its potential solutions. Most importantly, Robert delivers practical recommendations for private citizens and policy makers alike. He offers rare context for ...
In Powerful Peace, J. Robert DuBois takes on a crucial, unprecedented mission for a U.S. Navy SEAL: the relentless pursuit of interpersonal and international peacemaking. With gut wrenching candor and surprising moments of comedy, he narrates a personal journey through decades of conflict, its often-absurd origins, its ever-present innocent victims, and its potential solutions. Most importantly, Robert delivers practical recommendations for private citizens and policy makers alike. He offers rare context for students of international relations, community leaders, and soldiers bound for unfamiliar lands.
Powerful Peace is the unvarnished ground truth on face-to-face engagements worldwide. Robert DuBois demonstrates that prevention of hostile intent is far more necessary to genuine security than the race for tactical or technological superiority. Whether countering Soviets, terrorists, insurgents or improvised explosive devices, he observes and reports on the fundamental similarities behind hatreds. Ignorance and misunderstanding poison human potential. Dignity and respect are powerful antidotes.
Powerful Peace is the fascinating story of human beings—in war and peace and school and work and play—learning to better understand others to avoid unnecessary conflict and enrich the world. Seasoned by professional experience in more than thirty countries, Robert has plainly “been there, done that”…yet his insightful conclusions on fighting may surprise you.
A Personal Letter to Veterans and Recruits xxii
Author's Note xxiii
Introduction Surreal… and so real xxvii
Section I Body 1
1 Hate September 11, 2001 3
2 Harm Blowing up baby 9
3 Loss Everybody loses 12
4 Smart power Smarter, not harder. 16
5 Restraint Cause a pause 21
6 Alternatives I won't make my wife a prostitute 26
7 Self-interest Simple needs 31
8 Dignity The ugly American 36
9 Respect Guarding killers at Abu Ghraib prison 40
10 Grievance Terrorism is only a tool 43
11 Resilience Thank you, Mr. bin Laden 47
12 Accountability Pop Quiz: Do we make our misfortune? 50
Section II Mind 55
13 Balance Kissing and killing 57
14 Context 1 On Rashids 60
15 Context 2 On rapes 62
16 Context 3 On men of God 64
17 Context 4 Inside out and upside down 66
18 Conscious bigotry A big T for tolerance 69
19 Unconscious bigotry Fed poison 72
20 Pride Don't be a roadblock 77
21 Arrogance The six blind wise men and the elephant 80
22 Ignorance When complexion kills 84
23 Understanding Cultural blindness 87
24 Change "A tremendous responsibility to humanity". 91
Section III Heart 95
25 Commonality We laugh and cry in the same language 97
26 Comfort Peace of mind 101
27 Compassion It's the children, stupid 104
28 Empathy Look through his eyes 108
29 Community The Baghdad Zoo 112
30 Family Heart is where the home is 115
31 Duty War heroes on war 118
32 Sacrifice How precious? 122
33 Crisis Unity through tragedy 125
34 Duality And 129
35 Exclusion Are you with us or against us? 132
36 Inclusion Colons 136
Section IV Soul 141
37 Tolerance In defense of faith 143
38 Holy war I'm sorry for what we've done to ourselves 147
39 Camaraderie Surrounded by armed Turks! 151
40 Appreciation Credit 155
41 Mindfulness Words as hands 158
42 Humanity Fighting fighting. 162
43 Action Entering Indonesia 166
44 Paradox War is good 170
45 Opportunity Civil affairs 177
46 Possibility Tomorrow in our hands 180
47 Proactivity Co-create your world 183
48 Commitment Leaving Iraq 186
Conclusion Hope 191
About the Author 199
List of terms and abbreviations 201
The book presents us with a foundation, giving us a chance to form our own thoughts about what has happened in the past and alternative paths our future can take. Its ideas on how to fix, or rather, on how we can adjust our thinking, are awesome. The information it provides enables us to form a more accurate picture of the reality the book’s ideas can become. The way DuBois weaves together his first hand knowledge and others’ experiences, makes the story flow beautifully, but more importantly offers insight into a world the reader may never otherwise know, and helps us to accept, or not, the ideas he proposes. Of all the effects this book had on me the one I’d like to share is the dialogue it open between my teenage son and I regarding issues he was having at school. He showed interest in the book and asked about it. Focused on the section entitled Hope, I thought it would be a perfect time to get him to understand how far reaching his, and others', actions are. And how devastating an effect they can have. The story helped me open up a dialogue with my son that felt for him more than a session of mom nagging. I have no doubt it will have the same effect on others; it will give them a place to start their discussion and whether or not they agree 100% with all its suggestions, as long as their thought process is evoked good things can happen. So many of the points raised and ideas suggested seem like common sense. Unfortunately, we very often over look what is common and sometimes even what makes sense. I think having this book out their will give many readers the idea to think a little. And it’s not even that they have to think about others, all though that would be wonderful, if they just think of themselves, about how doing something negative would impact them, it may just be enough to get them to take a different path that will ultimately stop the unknown negative chain reaction they would have unintentionally instigated before reading the book. I think this book will be of great benefit to the world. Regardless if it’s the world of trillions or simply the world of one. It’s already touch mine in an extremely positive way and I thank the author for putting it out there. I will no doubt be sharing it with friends, loved ones and maybe even a few of those not on my favorite list, although I’ll have to be a little tactical in getting it to them. I purchased copies to donate to my local High Schools. I think the book should be required reading for all teenagers as they’re the ones who are going to have the power to enact the change in the future. I’ve also ordered some for my friends who are teachers. Their summer reading can turn into some amazing Fall lesson plans. One child reading it, learning about it and being inspired by it could be enough for a chain reaction. There are lessons in the book that everyone should learn and share, young and old.
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Posted July 16, 2012
I originally met Rob DuBois on Twitter through mutual friends and similar ideas. The first thing I recognized was his record of military service which to me there are few honors that are any greater. The Navy SEALs are in the upper echelon of the military with an extreme training regimen that demands a physical and mental 'can't quit' attitude. To me that 'true grit' alone is enough to command respect and intrigue someone enough to read a book written by one of them.Since then I have connected with Rob on Facebook and through his Powerful Peace blog sites and he honored us by joining our Society for the Preservation of Military History group. Rob is an incredibly busy man, yet he has always made time for my questions and comments.
Rob honored me by asking if I would be interested in reading the advance reviewer's draft of A Powerful Peace and I of course accepted and dove in. I knew this wouldn't be just another 'war story' or an 'inside look at Navy Special Operations', this was a crusade to end conflict and the human suffering and degradation that is the result of fighting.
I read the book and enjoyed it. The ideas provoked thought and positive change in my own life and I can only imagine the same for all the lives which these concepts will touch.
I listened to Rob DuBois during a Mike Huckabee interview and I also watched him on the TEDx Talk conference for "What the hell is Smart Power?" and I find him to be genuine, wise, and the epitome of humility. His remedy of understanding and respect can cure many of the issues plaguing our society and allow us to reach our potential through peaceful living. The book hasn't even reached store bookshelves and yet already in the works is a high school curriculum based on Rob's book: A Powerful Peace. I've heard the idea of A Powerful Peace Conference being bantered around and I think it would be a great idea that will transform the lives of all who attend because of its positive and healing message. The book A Powerful Peace; A Navy SEAL's Lessons on Peace from a Lifetime at War is excellent and I highly suggest it to anyone.