Friday, September 12, 2014

War--the Answer?

photo by STML / flickr
When the Iraq war started thirteen years ago we were in Oxford England for a month. The whole town was in an uproar over the Gulf war. There were large protests up and down the streets. Walking by one little row house one day I saw a small sign in the window. It read: "War is Not the Way." The English folk knew something first hand about war. They were bombed over seventy times by the Germans in World War II.

We did not know then that the basis of our response to 9-11 was flawed by misleading information. We were all sure that we had to mount a "war on terror." We were told by Mr. Cheney and others that this war would be over in a matter of weeks. Thirteen years later--yes, 13 years later--we are still fighting. Over five thousand of our young men and women have come home in boxes. Our attempts to help Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan--and the rest of that part of the world has been disastrous. Costs of War estimates that more than 4.4 trillion dollars has been spent on this war to date--and that between 298,000 and 354,000 of their citizens have been killed. We stirred up a hornets' nest which seems to be unending. ISIS is only the latest response to our folly.

I have no answers of course to this troublesome time, this monstrous enemy and the direction we need to take. Who does? We ought to know that all those that championed our tanks and planes and bombs 13 years ago did little to help. We say we will augment the native soldiers to fight their own war. All the training with them we have done the last few years has accomplished little. They are not prepared. Why will this time be different.

Our beleaguered President talks about coalition forces and the allies that will join us. He doesn't give us their names. If we think we can march in yet again mostly alone--we will pick up the tab and we will suffer the casualties. Will we make the same mistake we made thirteen years ago by listening to the wrong voices?

Jim Wallis wrote a piece years ago about our beginning war. He repeats it in Sojourners. Let us pray and hope that we can find some resolution to this tangled and scary situation.

Memorial honoring our dead in the war--Grace Church - San Francisco
photo by california cowgirl / flickr

--RogerLovette  /

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