Monday, May 31, 2010

Not Just a Holiday

I’ve bled for my country, I’ve sweated for my country, I’ve cried myself to sleep for my country – which is a lot more than some people who are passing judgment on me have done. I would rather go sit in prison than go to Iraq.
Patrick Hart, U.S. Army sergeant with almost 10 years on active duty, who went to Canada rather than face a second deployment to Iraq.

In honor of Memorial Day, the LA Times published a commentary by Andrew Bacevich, a professor of history and international relations at Boston University. Bacevich, a US military veteran whose son died in combat in Iraq 3 years ago, just finished a book for release this summer: Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War. Who's fault is the permanent obsession with fighting? Bacevich calls us all to reflect intentionally and honestly:

How exactly did we get ourselves in such a fix, engaged in never-ending wars that we cannot win and cannot afford? Is the ineptitude of our generals the problem? Or is it the folly of our elected rulers? Or could it perhaps be our own lazy inattention? Rather than contemplating the reality of what American wars, past or present, have wrought, we choose to look away, preferring the beach, the ballgame and the prospect of another summer.

We highly recommend reading his piece along with the study summary called the Casualty Gap that unveils the hard-to-prove-but-common-sense finding that American wars are fought on the backs of the poor.

On this Memorial Day, let us take time to meditate on the sober reality of lost lives in the name of Homeland Security, whether American, Iraqi, Afghani, Pakistani, Yemeni or any other nationality. As we listen to the prophetic words of Bacevich and grapple with the injustice of placing the burdens of our violently misguided "needs" on our most economically vulnerable citizens, let us pray for peace in our world NOW.
CNN has an incredible (yet horrific) site up that analyzes every US death in Iraq and Afghanistan here. This really humanizes the "war on terror."

--Theological Autopilot

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