spiritual and political- a moral quandary

4 10 2006

I have a moral quandary- I know these problems don’t get us anywhere but this one is being played out before our eyes. America and Britain invade Iraq, Christians oppose this action, not because we don’t believe that invading Iraq as part of war on terrorism could reduce the threat of terrorism (although it seems clear now that it hasn’t) but because we believe we are called to suffer (and even die) for divine purposes. I can see how the decision not to go to war was obvious but what happens when you have gone to war, do you pull out when your casualties start mounting leaving a vacuum that results in a bloody civil war or do you stay knowing you made the wrong decision in the first place and suffering and dying because of that decision?I am struck by something Hauerwas wrote in Resident Aliens, referring to the issue of abortion he pointed out that the good news of the gospel was not ‘you’re not allowed an abortion so deal with it’ the good news of the gospel is ‘you don’t have to live that way we can show you a different way to live’. Our nations have made a terrible mistake by going into Iraq (in a bid to avoid the suffering of another 11th September) they have unleashed terrible blood shed on that land, but if they pull out (in an attempt to avoid more soldiers dying) there will be a bloody civil war. Our countries made a decision and this choice has changed the lives of millions of Iraqi civilians (for better or for worse) now our countries must take responsibility for their actions.
I hear conservatives talking about closing and banning abortion clinics, but if we are going to force pregnant women to carry through with their child birth then we must take responsibility for caring for them (for bearing them up in the hard times). I think in Iraq if we take the decision to pull our troops out in an effort to reduce our national and personal suffering then we must have a plan for bearing with those who suffer the consequences of our actions. Once again I want to state my support for Christian Peace Teams who are surely leading the way in the effort to solve this quandary.

Perhaps, we may legitimately say that after the decision to go to war was made we have no more to say about this matter? (but is that right- we have be able to live in a fallen world).

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3 responses

5 10 2006
Mostly Harmless

“Well we are there now so we had better follow through!” I have heard this argument from politicians and others and it has a fatal flaw. The war in Iraq began because of a lie. It began without the santion of the UN and undermined its authority. It was the unilateral action of a world superpower to impose its will on another country/countries. Our armed forces should not be in the Middle East. They should not be withdrawing because of mounting casualties and because Bush/Blair are losing the war on terror. They should be withdrawn because this is an illegal and illegitimate war. Giving the enormouse amounts being used to sustain aggression ($2.1 billion a week by the U.S alone) would go a long way to giving healthcare, education and security to every Iraqi citizen. Investing in peace and not in war is the way of the kingdom. I heard former President Jimmy Carter on Newsnight a couple of weeks ago. He said “I worship the Prince of Peace no the Prince of pre-emptive war!” As Christians we have the responsibility to promote peaceful conclusions to conflict. We should not support the actions of people who terrorise whether they are militant groups or governements. Christian Peace Teams are courageous people who seek to make a difference on the ground. The problem is that the hawks are in the air and need to be brought down by the outspoken objections of the doves and the direct action on the part of peace makers in the political realm. Pax Christi.

5 10 2006
James Church

You cruel man, to characterise my argument as ‘we are here now so we better follow through’ is devastating. It is horrible to discover I could be so misunderstood. I simply arguing that although the US and UK governments must renounce violence in an effort to restore peace to Iraq it would be immoral to remove forces without the resources and financial aid required to bring about peace for the Iraqi people. Perhaps, we need to invest in a new type of force that does not rely on the myth of redemptive violence.

In other words- I am concerned that public support for ending the war in Iraq be not based on the selfish motive to avoid more loss of our lives but on a principled reasoning that the passive-resistance is the only way to bring about true and lasting peace. Hence, I hail the work of CPT in leading the way and doing what the church is meant to do in holding up the icon of Christ in a world of domination.

6 10 2006
Mostly Harmless

No, not you (doh!) Perhaps I should have quoteth the Lord “You have heard it said but I saith to you!” I agree, limited support that was voiced was based on the we’re not losing argument. To say now that we should leave because we are losing is equally immoral as the lies that took us there in the first place. The CPT are to be praised (I think I said so before) but the hawks are in the realms of global goverernment not on the ground. The place to combat them is by raising up peace makers and making a noise to support global peace.

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