Dennis McFadden had a great aphorism in his blog the other day - "where you sit, is where you stand." So let me first say where I sit...
I grew up in the Viet Nam era and each night on the news heard the body count and saw the horrors of a war that we shouldn't have been fighting. The draft ended just as I reached that age but I thought very carefully about what I would do if I was drafted. I stood at the margins of the anti-war movement. I didn't have any friends who didn't come back but I did have friends who went and were never quite the same again.
I went to college as a Christian to a school in the Anabaptist branch of Christianity and was steeped in the peace church movement.
As I read the scriptures and look at church history, I don't see how any Christian can be anything but a pacifist. I know some still hold to theories of just wars and justifiable wars, but looking at the nature of modern warfare, I can see absolutely no justification for modern warfare.
Which brings us to the third anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq. Over 2300 young American men and women have died there. Over 17000 are injured. Estimates of Iraqi deaths range from 50,000 to over 100,000. No reasonable person can look at the situation in Iraq today and say that the Iraqi people are better off today than they were under Saddam. No reasonable person can look at this quagmire and propose a workable solution for either the short term or the long term. John Kerry's question from the last election rings all too true - "Who wants to be the one to ask a young man or woman to be the last to die for an unnecessary war waged under false pretenses?"
And that doesn't begin to take into account the spiritual damage done to these young people. The other day, our local paper had a story about a young man who is a sniper in Iraq. I have no idea how many people he has killed but I do know that is literally his job. He sits in a hidden protected vantage point and shoots people. Tell me, what does that do to a person's spirit?
A few weeks ago, the VP accidentaly shot a friend while hunting for quail. He said it was the worst day of his life. All that told me was that he is either the coldest, the most unimaginative, or the person least able to empathize with others in our world... Each day, people die because of the failed policies of this administration. Each day mothers, wives, fathers, children, husbands cry because their loved ones have died. Every day young men and women see and do things that scar them forever. And every day, fat cats in Washington, New York, and other centers of power grow richer because of it all.
So what do we do now? I wish I had answers. Perhaps, Iraq should be three smaller countries. After all, it was an artificial copuntry put together by the British. Perhaps, the future of the place should be turned over to their neighbors and they can support the fledgling governments. They have the most to gain or lose over what happens there. Perhaps, we should just walk away and see what happens next - certainly nothing that we are doing there is helping.
Personally, I feel that Bush & Cheney should both be impeached at the least. Some have argued that they should be tried for war crimes. I can see that logic. I'd like to see everyone in congress who voted for this war or at least those who continue to support it turned out on their behinds.
Usually anniversaries are occassions for celebration... this is one for mourning.