My Brother Richard is in the sandbox, the affectionate term for the Middle East. We praise God we were able to spend time with him before he left. I cannot imagine the heartache of separation that my Sister in Law and my Nephew and Niece must be experiencing. Our church family prays for them every week; some, I hope, are praying for him every day.
I have always looked up to my Brother. He was always teaching me about sports and life. He taught me to be careful and defend myself when we lived in England where Dad was stationed. He taught me to hit a baseball and how to take a hit from a wild pitch. (He once convinced me that all I had to do when getting hit by a baseball was to think "tennis ball, tennis ball, tennis ball". I did not remain convinced for long!)
I have admired his military service. I am thankful for what he has done for our country. Before he left he described one of the problems of our country. He said, "We are a military at war, not a nation at war". I have to agree. Even though my Brother is there I go about most of my everyday life thinking about good things (discovering the will of the Father and pursuing it) and ordinary things (work, inspection stickers, getting prescriptions refilled). In the "big wars" our nation went to war. There were sacrifices made by all. When it was over the nation then returned to normalcy. As it stands now our nation is in a state of normalcy and our military is at war.
The war in Iraq and Afghanistan is just that, war. I support that war because I believe it to be in the interest of the people of these countries who for too long have been dominated by egotistic dictators who have supported terrorism, the cowards way of waging war against innocent bystanders, women and children. I support that war because I believe it to be in the best interests of the world to keep weapons, especially weapons of mass destruction, out of the hands of the same iron fisted conscience challenged dictators. Despite what latte the bloated unaccountable press says one can simply ask the Kurdish people if Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. I support the war because I believe it to be in the best interests of the United States of America and our close allies in the region. Have we forgotten that we have allies for the sake of standing together against oppression? If we do not stand with our allies we are relieved of our moral character and unfit for duty as the remaining superpower of our world.
When I hear misguided people say that we are not "the world's policeman I cringe at ignorance. First of all when did being a policeman become a negative designation? Second, along with great blessing comes great responsibility. Defending the poor and the helpless is something both the teachings of Jesus and the more liberal people of our day claim is a central goal of their agenda. It defies logic to say that the poor and defenseless should be defended and then protest when they actually are defended. Does our responsibility stop at the border? Does our responsibility stop when the people we help are of a different ethnicity than the majority of U.S. citizens? Somehow I cannot bring myself to make those kind of distinctions.
I am sure there is a substantial amount of criticism that is fairly leveled at those in charge of this war. On the other hand I know that war is not an exact science and that mistakes are how we learn to fight the next battle. If you do not believe that then think about this, it is my understanding that more soldiers were killed TRAINING for D-Day than have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is a great loss when one soldier is killed, but is a greater cost to refuse to do that which we must do.
Do I think my comments will make a difference in America? They will probably not. Yet for those of you reading this today perhaps they will make a difference in the way you think about our country right now. Perhaps on the way to the dry cleaners this morning you will think about the wrinkled uniform of an American soldier slowly making his way through a rough neighborhood in Iraq. On your way to work as you pull through a drive through window remember that the car you are riding in is a far cry from the Humvee that our warriors ride in today. I invite you to change your way of thinking. I invite you to remember those who serve this morning as those who stand between you and the destruction of our way of life. I invite you to remember that we are a nation at war. I invite you to be a nation at war.