In church on Sunday the Bishop asked the graduating seniors from the class of 2009 to stand and be recognized. The thought occurred to me that most of these kids had to have been born in 1991. Then the thought occurred to me "what if I had been born in Iraq in 1991?" Unless I had the world's most keen memory I would never have known life without American military occupation.
The results of this would be that life for me would have consisted of near daily bombings, rubble, barbed wire, checkpoints, war machines, random searches and ever dwindling friends and freedoms. Since the US military occupation of Iraq, it is estimated that over 1,300,000 non-military Iraqi's have died as a direct result of the fighting, a very significant percentage of which (some research even says a majority of which) were children under the age of 5. Going to school, work or even home is hit or miss on a daily basis, assuming that the building is still standing and/or those whom I depend on aren't dead. I would have been subjected to a lifetime of taking orders from American military, while they make fun of my religion, my culture and do so claiming their war against Iraq is just. Although I cannot for the life of me pinpoint a single crime the Iraqi government commited against the US government to bring on this war.
This is not to say that the United States has gotten off scott free. We have lost 4306 of our soldiers the vast majority of which I am convinced are very patriotic and have believed the propaganda that is continually jammed down our throats that we had to go to war against a country that when the war began did not have an air force, a navy or any weapons of mass destruction in order to preempt any attack that might come sometime in the future. An estimated 300,000+ soldiers currently suffer from mild to severe mental illness as a result of fighting in the middle east. And all this for what? Is Iraq any more stable? Are we any less scared that middle easterners will attack us?
We are all upset that our government's spending is out of control. Meanwhile we the people are on the hook for over 1,000,000,000,000 every year to finance our empire...meaning our military prowess around the world, while at the very same time our military was in better position to defend Tokyo, Paris and London than they were to protect New York on 9/11, and they continue to shut American bases down to build them overseas. How this helps to protect us I will never understand.
I believe that if we are being honest with one another, we are not protected. We are all a bunch of suckers, being looted (some call it taxed) at a growing rate to finance a government that does nothing right and many things illegally and unconstitutionally.
There are inevitably some, maybe even many who would call this type of discussion unpatriotic and disrespectful to those fighting. To them I would say nothing could be further from the truth. Our government does not want us to win this war. It is too good for business. Had we wanted to win we could have easily done so 15 years ago. So why send more of our people in to a region that has been unstable since the BC days to fight and potentially die in a war we don't have a clear objective in and apparently have no interest in winning? If you think that I do not respect the fine men and women in the service think of this first: I want them home, safe, in their own beds with their own families protecting American borders. Not in some war torn and forsaken desert protecting a pipeline or a business deal.
I am a Christian and I think that Jesus had an idea of what he was talking about in Matthew 18:21-22 where it says "Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven."
Not this idea that "well we think that it is possible that sometime in the future they will try to attack us using the weapons we supplied to them, so instead of waiting for that we are going to bomb them back to the stone age and slaughter their people, indefinitely"
And even at the very same time we sit in our living rooms watching American Idol with fleeting ideas of wondering how it is possible that anyone could hate America. They don't hate us because we are free or rich (although I'll grant that there are some of these people out there, but they are by no stretch of the imagination a majority) - they hate us because our government has bombed them for a few decades, or destroyed any political stability they had in their country, or installed a CIA backed puppet regime as their government, or made it so they had to flee the country they loved to save their lives and live in poverty somewhere else. This is no excuse for crimes committed against innocent people, but just try to put yourself in their shoes for a minute.
I believe that there will be a time (the way things are happening, it will be sooner rather than later) that we will have to decide what we are going to do about any of this. I mean decide as individuals and as a people, our government has revealed its incompetence in this area very clearly. Why not decide now?