Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Iraq & murder

I've been thinking a lot about the situation in Haditha... Let me begin with my usual disclaimer. I am a pacifist and I believe that there is no justification for a Christian to engage in war.

Now... thinking about the situation in Iraq, what would one expect? We have leaders from the President to the Attorney General telling us that the Geneva Convention no longer applies. A war was begun under what look to be either false pretenses or gross incompetence and lots of people have died for what? We have 20 year olds with automatic weapons risking their lives daily and always unsure who the enemy is, after all, they aren't fighting an army, it is more like fighting a bunch of street gangs. We have a moral situation where Iraqi deaths aren't even counted and "collateral damage" is greeted with a shrug. We drop bombs on villages knowing full well that bombs don't discriminate in who they kill and that is OK. We have kids who either just want to get home alive and are frightened all of the time. We have others who have developed a taste for the thrill of playing God. We have leaders with compromised moral understandings and a Marist-like commitment that allows any means if it leads to the end they desire. And when things go wrong, even though the troups have pretty much followed the messages they've been getting from the top, they get blamed and end up in jail (see Abu Ghraib in light of the administrations discussions on torture).

Given all of this, what would we expect to happen? Some good kids have been stuck in a terrible situation with contradictory "moral" messages and we expect them to know when a killing is "good" and not? And if a mistake is made...

The bottom line is that war is horrible. Period. This one in particular - and probably all modern wars - has no justification. And any blame for the actions of those soldiers must be shared with those in leadership who sent them into this terrible and unnecessary situation. The lives of these soldiers may be ruined as they possibly end up spending the rest of their lives in jail. They will carry guilt and the scars of their actions whatever happens. There is a way to stop this from happening again. Bring them home as soon as possible.

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