“I don’t think we should go to war in Iraq.”
“They never did anything to us, Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11; and we’ve been arming the guy for years. If he’s so bad, why was he our ally when we wanted him to take out Iran? We need to leave it alone already.”
“Are you just afraid that you’ll have to go?”
This was the last conversation I ever had with a Christian friend of mine about 11 years ago.
I was a small and frail looking kid, and I dealt with my share of bullying. When I told my father about it, he did not counsel me to run away and tell a teacher. He taught me to stand up for myself. I was in a number of fist fights from the time I was 7 to 15 years of age. The last fight I was in was so bad, I became enraged to a point where I decided afterward to simply avoid people who can’t get along with me. It wasn’t worth it anymore.
When my dad taught me how to defend myself, he didn’t just teach me to put my weight behind a blow or to punch with the heel of my hand instead of my knuckles. He taught me about the philosophy of self-defense. Since I am a sovereign individual, I have the absolute right to interdict any aggression against my person at any time. It was the kind of life lesson that’s politically incorrect today. It’s the kind of lesson that’s American.
Despite the teaching of religious leaders in this country, the Christian position on war is not positive. Just war theory goes back to Augustine and Aquinas, and the idea of total war is tacitly rejected by the nature of Christian theology because of the doctrine of Christian brotherhood. There is also a consequantialist argument: in all the history of mankind, wars have rarely been fought for a just cause. They have been fought for the evil pursuit of money, power, territory or religious domination. War usually leads to crimes of theft and rape. Even wars that we usually think of as “good.” Christian teachers and pastors who have fallen for war propaganda and encouraged their congregations to support everything the military does have done a great injustice to this country over the last 60 years. Christians are by no means the only guilty ones here, but I hold Christians to a higher standard than everyone else. To put it another way: you do not need to teach rational human beings how to be brave enough to defend themselves and their family. Any man will do this instinctively. If people are having a hard time swallowing a foreign adventure, it’s probably because it’s not really a defensive operation.
Today brought the news of a 30 year old man named Daniel Somers. Mr. Somers tragically ended his own life because he could no longer live with what he described as constant torment due to his deployment in Iraq. In his suicide note, he mentioned the incredibly disturbing fact that 22 veterans commit suicide every day. If you have ever looked down on a person with an anti-war stance, you owe it to the troops you supposedly support to read Mr. Somers’s note. You may find that it has been people like me who have been supporting our troops all along.
Support our troops by asking your representatives to bring them home so they can be safe. Support our troops by letting them live in the comfort of America with their families. Support our troops by ending foreign wars and alliances that endanger their lives and sanity for no reason whatsoever. Support our armed forces by making them a defensive force instead of the enforcer of the global aspirations of a bunch of American corporations.