Thursday, December 21, 2006
Jim Wallis on the War
It's no secret that I am and always have been totally opposed to this war in Iraq. I simply don't think there can ever be any justification for "preemptive", unprovoked aggression. Besides being contrary to the values of the Kingdom of God, which demand love for enemies and active peacemaking, we've really only succeeded in making things far worse over there, and created a new breeding ground for terrorists and anti-American sentiment in that region.

Anyhow, Jim Wallis has an excellent post at the God's Politics blog in which he responds to the comment critics there who accuse him of being against the war simply because he "hates Bush". In his response Wallis reiterates that he does not hate Bush, but he absolutely does hate this war. Here are a few of his comments that I especially appreciated:

I don't hate Bush, but I do hate this war. I am very angry about this horrible, unnecessary, and stupid conflict that an evangelical mega-church pastor (and a friend of mine), calls "a senseless slaughter." Our kids are being killed and maimed unnecessarily, Iraqis are dying in untold numbers, and the region and the world are much less safe because of this war.

And don't start in about Saddam. I was against him when Washington treated him like a pal—guess who was the liason to the Butcher of Baghdad: Donald Rumsfeld. We helped Saddam in his war with Iran and even helped him target his use of WMD's against Iranians (boy, do they not want that to get out). You remember the old American foreign policy adage, "He's an S.O.B., but he's our S.OB."

I would have supported the disarming of Saddam of whatever weapons of mass destruction he had and removing him from power by exerting both internal and external pressure in a focused campaign, but not by bombing the children of Baghdad. Church leaders even put forward a "Six-Point Plan" aimed to accomplish those two goals that got a lot of traction just before the war started. The inspections were working! Saddam could have been isolated and perhaps even deposed in time. Instead, we went to war, found no WMD's, showed massive incompetence combined with amazing arrogance (always a great mix), and threw the nation into chaos. Good job neocons!


I have been saying, over and over again, that this war was WRONG—from the very start. And I will continue to say that, because until we admit the war was just wrong, we will never find a way out. We are not winning, nor are we going to win in Iraq. We have already lost. We just made a very bad situation much worse, and have to just stop doing it some more. When a war is so wrong and so bad, there are not often any good solutions to be found. Let's just say it—there are no longer any good solutions to the war in Iraq. There is only responsible withdrawal. Of course, it is a civil war, with factions that are far less committed to a unified nation than to their own tribe (read Tom Friedman), and no number of American troops can solve a political disaster with mostly military means. I did say "responsible withdrawal" so don't give me any "cut and run" stuff—nobody is saying that. Unless the Iraqis change their behavior and unless far more international involvement is achieved, everything will just get worse and worse.


I completely agree.



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posted by Mike Clawson at 3:00 PM | Permalink |


5 Comments:


At 12/22/2006 04:11:00 PM, Blogger John

"we've really only succeeded in making things far worse over there, and created a new breeding ground for terrorists and anti-American sentiment in that region."

Better to be fighting them over there in a "breeding ground" then having them over here flying planes into buildings.

I agree with you that it was wrong to take a "preemptive strike" against Iraq no matter how bad Saddam was, but we're in there now, and to pull out now would only make the terrorists plan more attacks on our soil. I think we have them focused on attacking our troops in Iraq instead of attacking civilians here in the states.

Appreciate your blog,

John

 

At 12/22/2006 06:41:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

My guess is that if we pulled out they'd be more focused on killing each other (Sunnis & Shiites) that they wouldn't have time or resources to plan any attacks over here.

But I'm not saying we should just "pull out". Personally I'd like to see the US invite a more international force led by the UN to take our place as peacekeepers. I don't think we have any hope left of accomplishing anything more on our own. We've already botched the whole situation beyond our ability to fix.

But who knows... I agree with Wallis - I think we're at a point now where there really are no good solutions.

 

At 12/22/2006 11:25:00 PM, Blogger jazztheo

thanks for the heads up on Wallis' latest.

jt
www.jazztheologian.typepad.com

 

At 1/02/2007 10:14:00 PM, Blogger paul

"unnecessary"?-Saddam was responsible for 1.5 million deaths. He was a WMD.

The U.S. military is an all volunteer force--if they die in battle, they chose that route. Don't denigrate their honor.

During WWII the U.S. allied itself with the Russians to fight Nazi Germany. So back off since we previously employed that old tactic. The U.S. didn't bring him to power. He was a megalomaniac, and would be until he died.

You truly have no idea whether this war is a loss. My father fought in WWII in the Navy, the South Pacific. In one day we lost 2,800 men. Look at D-Day, Pear Harbor, and 9/11. Life is NOT cheap, but you are allowing evil to breed without fighting it. The West has lost it's sense of sacrifice.

You can not expect Muslims to act like Christians in a war zone. Iraq has had systemic problems for decades, and it would continue to fester if Saddam had not been removed. The U.N. was a joke. They were no match for him.

God's justice was hardly served in his death. There can be no justice for the mass atrocities he was responsible for. But, the Iraqis have done the best they could to provide justice on this side of Heaven.

Paul Chaplain
www.worthmysalt.blogspot.com

, and stupid conflict that an evangelical mega-church pastor (and a friend of mine), calls "a senseless slaughter." Our kids are being killed and maimed unnecessarily, Iraqis are dying in untold numbers, and the region and the world are much less safe because of this war.

And don't start in about Saddam. I was against him when Washington treated him like a pal—guess who was the liason to the Butcher of Baghdad: Donald Rumsfeld. We helped Saddam in his war with Iran and even helped him target his use of WMD's against Iranians (boy, do they not want that to get out). You remember the old American foreign policy adage, "He's an S.O.B., but he's our S.OB."

I would have supported the disarming of Saddam of whatever weapons of mass destruction he had and removing him from power by exerting both internal and external pressure in a focused campaign, but not by bombing the children of Baghdad. Church leaders even put forward a "Six-Point Plan" aimed to accomplish those two goals that got a lot of traction just before the war started. The inspections were working! Saddam could have been isolated and perhaps even deposed in time. Instead, we went to war, found no WMD's, showed massive incompetence combined with amazing arrogance (always a great mix), and threw the nation into chaos. Good job neocons!



I have been saying, over and over again, that this war was WRONG—from the very start. And I will continue to say that, because until we admit the war was just wrong, we will never find a way out. We are not winning, nor are we going to win in Iraq. We have already lost. We just made a very bad situation much worse, and have to just stop doing it some more. When a war is so wrong and so bad, there are not often any good solutions to be found. Let's just say it—there are no longer any good solutions to the war in Iraq. There is only responsible withdrawal. Of course, it is a civil war, with factions that are far less committed to a unified nation than to their own tribe (read Tom Friedman), and no number of American troops can solve a political disaster with mostly military means. I did say "responsible withdrawal" so don't give me any "cut and run" stuff—nobody is saying that. Unless the Iraqis change their behavior and unless far more international involvement is achieved, everything will just get worse and worse

 

At 1/03/2007 01:51:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

Thank you for sharing your perspectives Paul. I could respond to each of your points, but I think the underlying source of our disagreement is that I simply do not see violence and destruction as a means to ultimate justice and reconciliation. As has been often said, "There is no way to peace. Peace is the way."

In my mind there could never have been any justification for a preemptive war against Iraq. I believe in fighting evil, but I don't think it is possible to overcome evil with more evil. This, to me, runs contrary to the principles of Christ's Kingdom message, when he told us to love our enemies, and to take up our crosses (i.e. be willing to suffer violent oppression) and follow him.

I've written on this previously at this blog. In this post I wrote:

"Abusive power, violence and oppression will never be overcome with more of the same. If the example of Christ and the lessons of history teach us anything, it's that power can only be overcome through weakness, violence through peace, and oppression through a willingness to suffer for the sake of a higher cause. The kingdom of God will never be won by using the weapons of the Enemy. If we desire to see the kingdom become a reality we can't overcome evil with more evil, we have to overcome evil with good. We have to start living according to kingdom values of peace and reconciliation now; they can't be put off. The ends do not justify the means."

I know this sounds idealistic and perhaps naive, but when I look at the example of Christ I can reach no other conclusion. This is how the kingdom comes - like yeast, like a mustard seed. Small and weak, but slowly spreading until more and more people begin to live according to it's values rather than the values of this world with it's struggles of power and violent domination.

 

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