June 19, 2006

i don't support the war in iraq

This morning, driving to work, I listened to a story of a man visiting a Vietnamese orphanage recently. He looked on rows and rows of beds with children with terrible deformities. The majority of these children would not have been this way if it were not for the fact when their parents were children they were exposed to chemicals used during the Vietnam war. War sucks... it is terrible. As I think about those children, lying in cots a world away deformed by someone else's sin... and think of my own... I am forced to wonder what stories my children may hear as adults from Iraqis that grew up through this war. What will we give to stop this? What will it take? Do we care enough for the generations that will come after our own to stop this nonsense? ... I'm very tired of war this morning.

Some quotes to let sink in today:
In times of war, our leaders always speak of their prayers. They wish us to know that they say prayers because they wish us to believe that they are deeply worried and that they take their responsibilities seriously. Perhaps they believe or hope that prayer will help. But within the circumstances of war, prayer becomes a word as befuddled in meaning as liberate or order or victory or peace. These prayers are usually understood to be Christian prayers. But Christian prayers are made to or in the name of Jesus, who loved, prayed for, and forgave his enemies and who instructed his followers to do likewise.

A Christian supplicant, therefore, who has resolved to kill those whom he is enjoined to love, to bless, to do good to, to pray for, and to forgive as he hopes to be forgiven is not conceivably in a situation in which he can be at peace with himself. Anyone who has tried to apply this doctrine to a merely personal enmity will be aware of the enormous anguish that it could cause a national leader in wartime. No wonder that national leaders have ignored it for nearly two thousand years.

-Wendell Berry

'Of course, let us have peace,' we cry, 'but at the same time let us have normalcy, let us lose nothing, let our lives stand intact, let us know neither prison nor ill repute nor disruption of ties....' There is no peace because there are no peacemakers. There are no makers of peace because the making of peace is at least as costly as the making of war � at least as exigent, at least as disruptive, at least as liable to bring disgrace and prison and death in its wake.
-Daniel Berrigan

Father, forgive us. For we know all too well what we do (or at least what others do in our name) and have not the spine to do anything about it.

10 comments :

joel said...

i heard that on NPR, as well. Such a simple intention transformed into something quite substantive. War is simply one example why any further allowance of our identity's cultivation and molding in the political sphere prooves counter-productive to the body of Christ. The Christian ideology has been subsumed by the nationalist rhetoric we've been ingrained with. The body of Christ has no bounderies except for the ones nation-state identities foster. War is not a by-product of religious animosity as much as it is a result of Christians bio-political tendencies. We are not where we live. We are called to transcend this space....alas, however, there are far too many American-Christians who see war, genocide, and, moreover, poverty, as an affliction of the Other, those are fail to reside in the American body of Christ. And and that is the sadest thing. And that is why far to few of us are angered by this or any war....

anyway, solidarity Jason. And sorry about the rant...

Trey said...

Just finished "Reading Lolita in Tehran" ... fascinating story and vivid description of the long war between Iraq & Iran which culminated in the gassing of thousands of Kurds & Iranians. War sucks, but in Iraq there are 100s of thousands if not millions who would say they are more free to live now (and in the near future once the US leaves) than under the hand of a tyrant.

Jason said...

I'm not as savy as you as far as politics and economics. I haven't travelled the globe as extensively as you... all I know is that when I read the Sermon on the Mount, when I pray for Jesus to lead my life, it doesn't lead me towards participating or supporting acts of violence in any case. My faith tells me that I can not ever excuse violence. I just can't see that as possible in light what Jesus has done. That is all I can say to that.

Trey said...

I don't think I have anywhere close to all the answers. But in those far-off travels, I've met good people who are grateful forever for their liberators. The only reason I put the post is that I think Jesus leaves it ambiguous. He's pro-justice and pro-mercy.

Carey said...

When a violent act is carried out, the motive makes all the difference.

If you hit a big man with a stick so he will stop strangling your small neighbor, that is called a "rescue" because you were using violence to defend a weaker person against a stronger one.

If you hit a big man with a stick so you can take his wallet, that is called "robbery" and should send you to jail because you were using violence to steal.

Hitting someone with a stick isn't always nonsense -- sometimes it is the only thing that makes sense.

The problem with the war in Iraq is that while it is certainly a "rescue", some also perceive it as self-serving or oppressive. All the regular Iraqis I've heard and spoken with think of it as a rescue even though we all are saddened by how large a price must be paid to get the hands off of their throats.

Carey said...

For example, here are some Iraqis who are grateful for the war in Iraq.

Wouldn't blanket condemnation of all violence, even violence exercised by governing authorities for the sake of protecting the weak from an oppressor, represent a step beyond what Christ taught us about government?

Jason said...

It seems pretty clear that oil has a lot to do with this war... I don't think that our governments intentions here are to 'liberate' or 'rescue' a country... it just doesn't seem to fit.

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