At What Cost?

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 11:02 PM

This isn't especially profound, but I wonder… at what cost do we attack Iraq? For the most part, it makes sense to attack that country — I mean they violate UN resolutions and are a menace to the world, but it seems to me Christians should seriously consider the large impact of this war.

What do I mean? Many people around the world (not just Muslims) are looking at this as a “Christian Fundamentalist” war. While that isn't really the case, the fact that President Bush is a Christian does make it seem at least somewhat plausible. The problem, as I see it, is that people may be less prone to the Gospel if they think it is that thing that those “war mongers” talk about. The fact that many (most?) evangelical Christians (including myself) are conservative in politics means that we are indeed closely aligned with the “war mongers.”

Further more, the doctrine of the Preemptive Strike, no matter how right it is in nature, seems to go against everything that we stand for, if we take the Bible at its word. Again, it could be argued that the attack is in order because Iraq is violating UN resolutions, but in that case, the administration should stick to the UN framework, at least for now, and drop the preemptive strike concept.

I should mention that I was a big supporter of the war. I think in many ways it would be a good thing in the long run. But, I'm not sure I can justify support for it if it will end up creating more and more enemies of the church that are less prone to accept the good news of Jesus Christ.

In essence, I worry that we are trading spiritual things (bringing people to the Gospel) for wordly things (safety from a rogue regime). Is it worth it?

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2 comments posted so far.

RE: At What Cost?

Hi. I would like to return your courtesy in my comment/blog by doing the same, commenting on something important to me, that is the possible extended War On Iraq. I wrote about it at great lenght here:

But you mention that we should do something about Saddam? I think it’s undeniable that he is a horrible and bad leader. I think many of the protesters understand this. They are anti-war or anti-pre-emptive strike or anti-unilateralism, but this doesn’t mean they are not anti-Saddam. Anti-Saddam and anti-war-on-Iraq is not mutually exclusive. The war on Iraq is a domestic issue worldwide because of what it entails; the ramifications are huge for the U.S. and for military history.

You mentioned that Saddam has broken many U.N.resolutions. Keep in mind that Israel has broken more U.N. resolutions. They also have more weapons of mass destruction.

You mention that it is our duty? Perhaps for democracy, or perhaps it’s a moral duty. I can accept that argument. I’m not brave enough to be a pacifist. But offensive war should not be the answer. However, if it is about doing a good for the world, then why do we support other nations that commit human rights violation or commit similar undemocratic horrors? The U.S. itself has commited many horrible acts towards other nations. In fact the U.S. is the only country that has used weapons of mass destruction (nucluer) towards civilians.

Read about more about it in that link above, in a pretty interesting site called Citizen of the State. :)

Posted by keegan - Feb 19, 2003 | 11:31 PM- Location: u.s.a.

RE: At What Cost?

Hi keegan, thanks for stopping by. :-) I probably shouldn’t be writing this late, so forgive me if I’m a bit scattered (need… sleep…).

I think as far as an offensive war, IMO, it is President Bush’s fault for making look like such. I’d err on the side of suggesting this is (if it happens) more of a continuation of the Gulf War with a 12 year “intermission.”

Since we agreed to end the conflict if Iraq agreed to certain terms, I think the fact that they never really followed through ought to indicate that we are only the aggressor to a point. That’s somewhat an argument of symantics I suppose, but… I do think it provides an interesting view. One historian I read thinks we should rename WWI and WWII to the “30 Years War”… that is, since WWII was directly related to the conflict of WWI and the lack of solving it, it was really only one war.

In some ways — keeping in mind this analogy only goes so far — the Gulf War is very similar. We did most of the job, but left Iraq to simmer in worse conditions than prior to the conflict. Now they seem to be building up to retailiate (perhaps by supplying terrorists).

Anyway, though, I think for all of my argument to hold water, we should follow the Mr. Blair’s sage plan to work with the UN. We should help our allies, especially France and Germany, to fully understand our concerns. We should show them that this is not a pre-emptive strike, and just to prove it, the speech writer who came up with that term will be publically fired at the next press briefing (okay, maybe that’s a bit far…).

On the other hand, maybe this “ol’ cowboy” approach is good. If we can carry it just to the point of war, but not quite there, and Saddam decides not to attempt to call a bluff, perhaps we can use it to get the concessions without war. That’d be even better.

I’ll definately go read the thread at Citizen of the State tomorrow.


Posted by Tim - Feb 21, 2003 | 12:29 AM- Location: Here.

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