Late in 1877 the Nez Perce nation fought an asymmetrical war with the United States of America. For over three months Chief Joseph led 800 companions in a battle against the United States Army as they made a thousand-mile flight to Canada that stopped 40 miles short. On October 5, 1877 Chief Joseph surrendered, uttering these words:
Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before, I have it in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Our Chiefs are killed; Looking Glass is dead, Ta Hool Hool Shute is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led on the young men is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets; the little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are - perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my Chiefs! I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.
Joseph and his people were not treated well in surrender. Alas.
But it is not the Nez Perce that I’m thinking about today.
I’m thinking about the nation that vanquished them, the United States of America. We are fighting to maintain our position as King of the Mountain. We cannot win this battle, too many of the world’s peoples hate us and fight against us, and do so asymmetrically.
We think we can drone them to death. We are wrong. In any event, surely we do not think we have a permanent and exclusive franchise on drones. There’s lots of advanced tech out there in the “second” and “third” world and, if we force it to, it will rise to the occasion and be used against us.
And we fight against the Earth. We cannot win that battle either. Yes, we can increase the level of destruction, we can obliterate more and more species. But we do not have the power to split the earth asunder and turn it into dust. The worms, insects, and microbes will consume us and compost us long before we can destroy the earth.
We cannot win. We must surrender. When will we elect a President who is wise enough to heed Chief Joseph and join with him in saying
From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.