Monday, October 20, 2003

War on Terror: Iraq

It's odd for me to say this, but I'm not sure I was right about attacking Iraq (and Afghanistan). I supported it pretty vehemently, and wrote a lot about the subject for classes and online.

Now, don't get me wrong. I can't think of any conflict of reasonable size that has been managed as well and as cleanly as the War on Terror has been (the Battle of Manila Bay, where the only American casualty was a sprained ankle, seems an unreachable standard). I'm glad Saddam Hussein and the Taliban have been removed from power. I still think that Iraq posed a threat that could have easily become imminent had we acted the way the UN wanted of us. I rejoice that children are free, the tortures are ended, and that liberty is being grown.

However, I'm not positive that we should have done it. It's incredibly easy to say that coming from a well-off American family and being at college, which is why I'm very hesitant and uncertain about the whole thing. We as Christians are not called to kick butt for the poor and oppressed. We're called to feed and clothe them. I don't remember which blog it was, but on one of the ones run by a veteran there was the story of a clergyman who wasn't sure that instead of ministering to the troops in Afghanistan, they shouldn't have simply gone on their own on a mission and tried to spread the Gospel. The Apostles and the early Christians didn't set out to conquer the pagans; they set out to live (and die) among them to show God's love. According to Church history, all the Apostles except St. John the Evangelist were martyred, and he was tortured and exiled. We're willing to kill other people in order to grant freedom to ourselves and to others, but not willing to go and try and be examples. What does this say about us?

In the past, I've approached politics and morality largely from a conservative and Realist perspective, informed by Christianity. When I go to what I hope is a Christian perspective colored by conservatism and Realism, it's scary how things change. If I were drafted into the military, I'm not sure that I wouldn' t be a Conscientious Objector and insist on taking a non-lethal role, such as medic or clergyman. If someone came into my home and threatened me or my loved ones, I don't know that I could kill or even shoot him.

I respect and support our troops. They're doing their job, just like anyone else, and do not deserve to be vilified. I very, very sincerely hope that they return home safe, sound, and on a frequent rotation. I understand that my position may seem incoherent, hypocritical, or any one of several other not-so-positive things. It may be that my views change sharply in the near future as I consider and reject or enhance what I've just stated above. Stay tuned.

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