In debates about war in the United States, voices in the conflict resolution community are too rarely heard. Those of us who work in the field think a great deal about conflict—how to prevent it, manage it, resolve it, recover from it, and learn from it. We examine conflicts around the world, but do we in the negotiation and conflict resolution field look carefully enough at the conflicts of which we are an important part?
I believe civilian and military Americans are vastly divided in our experience of war, and until we bridge that divide we civilian Americans in the conflict resolution field will be excluded from some of our nation’s most consequential discussions.
To bridge that divide would require that civilians must come to understand and appreciate what soldiers experience, and that military Americans be willing to engage the rest of us in conversations about that experience. We civilians may not have been to war, and we may sometimes ask dumb questions, but we want and need to understand the soldier’s point of view.
In my fourteen years as managing director of the Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School, I have been privileged to be part of a vibrant community of scholars,authors,teachers,and students who are ... Read the full article here.