Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Praying for Peace and the Anti-War Movement

Sadly, today marks the 4th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, and Anti-War activists found time to ratchet up their activities over the weekend. Diverse groups participated in demonstrations worldwide, with the largest U.S. protest taking place in the D.C. area on March 17. Besides the usual suspects, one group, Christian Peace Witness for Iraq (CPWI), a grab bag of Christian organizations, held a prayer vigil, Friday night (3/16), and then marched towards the White House to protest American presence in Iraq, calling for the end to "U.S. Occupation", demanding that we bring home the troops, remove our military bases there, and "stop threatening Iran and other nations."

I find it truly naive to think that the removal of our troops is going to, somehow, improve the situation in Iraq. To believe that the violence will miraculously cease, once the last coalition soldier has gone home, is dangerous and, frankly, irresponsible. Withdrawal is merely going to blow apart a Pandora's Box full of problems in that region, not the least of which will be a bloody sectarian war between the various Islamist factions. The insurgents, in Iraq, are NOT fighting "U.S. occupation", as so many foolishy wish to believe; they are fighting, to the death, the nascent roots of democracy. Democracy is anathema to the fundamentalist Islamic belief system, with its strict adherence to Sharia Law. If democracy were to flourish in Iraq, then God forbid, it might spread to other Middle Eastern countries, and this, they will never allow to happen. Democracy and Sharia Law are like oil and water, so there is a vested interest in making sure democracy does not take root there.

So, in its misguided attempt to be 'peacemakers', the anti-war movement rather than helping to solve a problem, is only contributing to a far greater problem, down the line, for the people in that region,, and the rest of the world. And with the continuing trend towards Islamic conservatism, in Europe and elsewhere, the growing threat of radicalization is only going to increase, exponentially.

Since the beginning, people have called this war 'immoral'. That claim was bandied about, once again, when one of CPWI's event sponsors, the Rev. Jim Wallis, of Sojourners, stated that, "This war, from a Christian point of view, is morally wrong - and was from the beginning. This war is ... an offense against God." But what does that mean exactly? And whose sense of morality? Yes, war is a terrible thing, but sometimes a necessity. And do we have the right to judge which particular one happens to be morally justifiable and which not? And how dare they speak on behalf of God. How do they know what is or isn't an offense against God? Perhaps this is exactly what He wants: freedom and democracy for the Iraqi people. And do they not think that, perhaps, God was offended by all the heinous deeds that Saddam perpetrated on the Iraqis? I wonder if they truly realize how detrimental their actions are; that by demanding immediate withdrawal, they only serve to fortify and embolden the enemy. The extremists know the American people (like the Europeans) are wimps. We've demonstrated that part of our nature, time and time again. They know how to capitalize on our 'wimpitude' and are using it to their advantage. They're now engaging in a "media jihad" with the express purpose of encouraging Americans to continue on their Anti-War path. Apparently, they've been going to U.S. web forums, and posting jihad videos on sites like You-Tube, in order to sway U.S. and Western public opinion, and hence Western governments to pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan. And they seem to be succeeding, quite well, in their endeavour.

I read the following comment on someone's blog: "I always find it very interesting that many soldiers and officer who have been to war usually come back convinced about the ineffectiveness and inhumanity of military solutions no matter the good intentions of those who initiate the action. In the end such tactics usually results in more bullshit and suffering that the locals have to deal with.There is nothing humanitarian about war, innocents is the first and the majority of the victims. (I am no pacifist,I do believe people have a right to defend themselves if they are being invaded). Indeed I find it a very reasonable position for many to be opposed to war or military solutions." This man believes, as I'm sure many do, that the only justifiable military action should be in defense of one's own land, but what about those who are unable to defend themselves? Would it have been "humanitarian" to have left Europe alone to deal with the Nazi problem? And what about the situation in Bosnia? Should we have let the Serbs continue to massacre the Bosnians? And what about Rwanda and Darfur? Do we not have a moral and spiritual obligation to help those in need? Is it not morally offensive to think that as long as it's not in my back yard, it's not my problem? Where do we draw the line?

As for CPWI's demand that we stop "threatening Iran and other nations", diplomacy has proved to be totally ineffective with bully countries, so what do they propose we do? If threats can stop a bully from violating another, than isn't it worth making that threat, rather than having to eventually witness the destruction of that "other" and then being left to pick up the bloody pieces; or living with the guilt of having stood by and done nothing? That would be my option. Had we entered into World War II and the Bosnian War sooner, there would be thousands still alive.

I would venture to say that most people, in the civilized world, desire peace with every fiber of their being. It's a wonderful goal to aspire to, but (sadly) not always possible. There are far too many people who don't want peace; who thrive on chaos and violence and oppression. And, yes, praying for peace is noble and good, but there is praying for peace and praying for peace. One doesn't pray for the withdrawal of troops, like the anti-war activists do, because that doesn't solve the underlying problem. One prays for those whose hearts are filled with hatred and fear and ignorance. One prays that they somehow find their way from the darkness to the light. That is praying for peace.

"Let There Be Peace on Earth and let it begin with me."
from the song "Let There Be Peace on Earth" by Sy Miller and Jill Jackson, Circa 1955


Blazing Cat Fur said...

Many in the West have lost the will to defend the ideals of our civilization. They have been poisoned by the moral relativism of a too soft society. They are the spoiled children of privelege who have never had to fight, never experienced true hardship and consequently are simply too narcisistic to even be able to dream of the sacrifice necessary to preserve our heritage. Having been denied proper moral guideposts they have developed a perverse and tragically naive worldview.

PS. Jesus said love your enemies, he didn't say don't have any...

Anonymous said...

As a sideline in my life I watch the history channel (a lot) It never ceases to amaze me that time after time peace was the result of armed conflict and so far I have not found it the result of praying, talking or loving your enemy. Most soldiers (I was one) are not frustrated with the conduct of the war, they get disheartened by the lack of support they get from the people back home. I wittnessed people spitting on soldiers as they came through the airports coming home from Vietnam. I told people that they had the right to protest and burn their flag. They had better not forget who they are and burn my flag or spit on me. Your freedoms stop where mine begin. I wouldn't have minded an arrest record for stomping the crap out of someone so thoughtless as to spit on me. Pray for Peace but be prepared for war. MUD

Papa J said...

I don't think we would have gotten into WWII until the attrocities became personal. If Pearl Harbor hadn't happened it would have taken the invasion of England or another direct attack on the US to pull us in.

Bosnia, I believe, wasn't as hard for us to go into for two reasons: 1) Its in europe 2) The fighting was conventional for hard targets. We know how to fight those wars both on the ground and in the media.

Of particular interest to me is that we ended up defending Muslims in Bosnia. It doesn't make sense that the Mid East perception is that the USA is the great satan.

Blazing Cat Fur said...

Western civilization is the Great Satan. The US is just the most obvious target. As for the Muslims of Bosnia do not expect gratitude for that. Canadian troops were deployed there, our then Liberal government actually tried to hush up the fact that they were doing actual fighting (and dying) as opposed to "peace keeping", which is the the great Canadian Myth.

risen_soul said...

The decision to go to war is never an easy one. Right or wrong for going, and I still think more right than wrong, we certainly can't just abandon ship now. IF we pull out it will turn back into a dictatorship in about a week.

As far as speaking for God, the only way we can do that is through what is clearly present in God's word the Bible, and when it comes to issues of war, you might say that is a grey area. I am a Christian minister, and there are certain things I have no problem saying "This is what God says" but when it comes to Iraq, i don't think God said go or stay. We just had to make a moral choice, and on that kind of thing there is never 100% agreement.

Lambent said...

Are you all seriously talking about what God thinks about?

When are you going to leave God out of it? We did need a God anymore. His time has finished and what a 2000 year old book says really shouldn't have any consequences on how we lead our lives.

People need to stop believing in Gods. It would solve a million problems, including fundamentalist nutcases.

Incognito said...

Thank you for all your insightful comments, my friends.

BCF: Yes, we are too soft a society and that will be our downfall if we don't toughen up. It's easier to just think, let someone else do the fighting, or, perhaps it will all just go away. Aint gonna happen.

MUD: They say that we could have won the Vietnam War, had there been support on the homefront. Hard to say, but the way the soldiers were treated *was* despicable. I'm glad to say that I have always supported our military and the brave soldiers who have and had the courage to sign up. God Bless our troops and those of our allies!

Papa J: No, we wouldn't have and that's what's sad. And the Bosnian fight was short and sweet. I did a lot of research on that war for a play I did, and they were praying for the world to intercede. we eventually did, but they suffered much hardship and death. and yes, it was interesting, though the Muslims there (at least at the time) were mostly cultural rather than religious. They intermarried and lived in harmony, until the war and then all hell broke loose. Brothers killed brothers. Very sad. And it is interesting that Muslim world cares not that we fought for them. They consider us the great Satan because we are considered the main superpower and we represent the Western World at what they consider the worst. And we have our military based in the Middle East. And we wholeheartedly support Israel.. and the list goes on.

BCF: with the UN right?....We don't even want to go there.. that useless, wretched organization.

Risen Soul: Thank you for stopping by. Interesting to hear a Pastor's perspective. I think Iraq will turn into something worse than a dictatorship, sadly.
But don't you think that many things written in the various religious books can be open to interpretation and are often misinterpreted, by man? It's like reading a poem. 2 different people might gain something totally different from it. That's why there are so many Christian sects, and I think that's one of the fundamental problems with Islam today. Misinterpretation of the Koran. Though there's no misinterpreting their goals.

Lambent: what can I say, lad. God, Himself, isn't the problem, it's how man worships and interprets the various teachings. Do you really think man could survive,as a whole, without some belief in some Higher Power, or a set of moral standards to live by? It would be anarchy.

Lambent said...

I agree we need a set of moral standards. These were presented in the form of the bible. Now we have laws to govern us and systems that do the same job.

Why can't we take out of the equation? Peolle can still believe but I don;t see any reason for a God to be taken into account when we're dealing with politics.

Papa J said...

Communism proclaimed itself free of God and what did it get in return? A more moral caring society? No, we have already run that experiment and proven that man must obey his conscience. When men completely ignore that inner compass they are rightly labeled sociopaths. So, no matter what you call that inner light, it is necessary for man to obey. Incongnito is right, without it we would find only anarchy.

Incognito said...

Lambent, no-one is telling you to believe anything. We all have freedom to choose. All I know is that there have been too many things happen in my life to *not* believe.

And, as Papa J said, God-less societies don't look to the 10 Commandments for moral guidance. Some of the worst human rights violations have occured and still do in God-less societies.

Anonymous said...

We should NEVER have gone into Iraq without a UN resolution backing the invasion, End of Story!!

Incognito said...

I wish I had your simple world view, Anon, but the U.N. wasn't about to back the invasion because some of the member states (Germany, France and Russia) had far too much at stake, as was the UN itself, with the whole Food for Oil fiasco.

So then what?