War, 9 Years Later

19 Dec


Late last night, the last U.S. troops exited Iraq signaling the official end of the U.S. – Iraqi War after 9 years of fighting.

The cost?

  • Over 4,000 U.S. troops killed.
  • Over $8 billion spent.
  • Over 30,000 U.S. soldiers injured.
  • Over 100,000 Iraqis killed.

For what? Nothing. A total waste of human life and capital.

I have total respect for our military and our troops and they (or, at least, the vast majority) did everything their government asked of them with honor and skill. I honor, respect and support our troops; and I mourn for those who died and for those who have their lives forever altered by both psychological and physical injury.

But this war was a travesty and a tragedy.

I opposed the war from the beginning — but have to admit that I was kind of wish washy in that opposition.

I remember that I was interim pastor at a small church when the war began. That week, I gave a sermon about what the Bible says about war. I presented a balanced view of what the Bible says on the topic, raised important questions about the implications of modern warfare for Christians, and then left it at that.  I decided not to weigh in strongly on my own view.  I actually had two conclusions written and brought both into the pulpit.  I decided to go with the less controversial, less bold and less open to criticism conclusion.

Not that it makes any real difference (no one in Washington is listening to me), but I regret that decision.  I wish I had stood up and called it what it was then: a travesty and a tragedy.

I hope when faced with similar issues in the future, I do not fail again.

1 Comment

Posted by on December 19, 2011 in Uncategorized


One response to “War, 9 Years Later

  1. Ben Dubow

    December 21, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    @Bruce, is your argument that the Civil War was also unjust? Not sure I am following your logic. I assume that you are not actually defending slavery (as it sounds like you are) — I will give you the benefit of the doubt here.The differences are pretty profound… for example, the Civil War was, well, a civil war! Iraq is its own sovereign nation.And I would say this about the Iraqi war… even if well-intentioned and justified in the beginning, you would have to say with hindsight that it was a mistake. I don’t think there is anything wrong with admitting the mistake (as people like Colin Powell have). I would actually have a great deal of respect for Bush/Cheney etc, if they would simply stand up and say "we were wrong, we made a mistake."That said, it is also worth remembering that (a) a lot of people opposed the war, predicted that no WMD’s would be found, and also argued that it was unjust and we shouldn’t be there. So hard to argue that no one could have known… And (b), remember that we went to war on a totally new doctrine of war set forth by Bush/Cheney and the neo-cons: a pre-emptive invasion as just war theory.Many, many philosophers, ethicists and theologians rejected that argument from the get-go. And I think they were right to do so.



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