Pro Deo Et Patria- An Army Chaplain

I am a chaplain in the US Army, serving in Iraq. I'm keeping a blog to share my thoughts and experiences while deployed. They are my thoughts and they don't necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Army! :)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Sadness of Warfare

One the of greatest challenges of being in a combat zone is the ever-present reality of death. Whether it's someone in your unit, or someone 75 miles away, there is a corrosive nature to the constant reality of what humans can do to each other. The knowledge that not only is it possible for people to kill each other- but to know you are in a place where this is being sought every day- is a major thing for most Soldiers to work through, whether they are conscious of it or not.

That's why war can never be taken lightly by a Soldier. It is something that is entered into only when necessary, and with great hesitation. But once it has been embarked upon, once the road to war is traveled, it must be continued and war must be seen as the path to peace.

In other words, you can't sort of fight a war. Half way measures create more danger, more pain, and more suffering than anything else. That's my biggest concern about the current Iraq war. The reality is that this has been a very easy war for the United States. If you are not in the military, your life has not changed one single bit since the Iraq war has begun. There have been no rations, no air raids, no fears of the war coming home.

Hence, we fail to realize the necessity to actually win this thing. War is an abstraction for most... a good reason to vote (either for or against it), a reason to protest (either for or against) and a subject of conversation, but not much more than that. It isn't real to most.

And that is a good thing. We are blessed that this isn't World War 2, where people truly suffered on the home front. There is one negative aspect, though, and it is that we haven't been required to make the hard decisions. We have stood on the sidelines, critiquing our leaders (some of it deserved), but we've never really made the hard decisions.

What concerns me are three things:
1) That our Soldiers will have died in vain. Kind of like going halfway through birthing labor and then quiting.
2) That we will crush the futures of the people of Iraq by failing to see this through. Have the Iraqis failed to take responsibility for their nation? Yes, no doubt they have failed to some extent. But we didn't invade Great Britain. We invaded an oppressed and backward nation. Can we expect them to pick democracy up quicker than we did in the United States?
3) That we will pave the way for the destruction of Israel. If you watch the news, you know that the President of Iran has issued almost daily calls for the destruction of Israel, by nuclear means. He has Nuclear power plants going up, and the media are now reporting that North Korea is helping them along. We're ignoring him and whistling pass the cemetery.

My prayer is that peace will take root in Iraq. It's not too late. I have said, and believe, that only the peace of Christ will be permanent. Iraq needs that. But it also needs some old fashioned, not-shooting-but-living-together kind of peace as well. I ask that God would give this land rest from war, and that the people who hate each other could find a way to live in peace.


Anonymous Your Sis Margit Anne said...


Thanks for the good post. I have a funny story you will appreciate. I volunteer at a school DT and this kindergarten boy, Lawrence, I read to everyday, asked me a question today. I sat down and said how are you, I am good. And he asks, how come your fingers are so big, especially your thumbs? HA HA HA!! I said, that is how I am and they are nicknamed spatulas :) He kept trying to talk about them, but I tried changing the subject and then he got into the book. Funny thing is, I have been reading to him the whole school year and he just said something-funny!

Miss you and love you,


3:52 AM  
Blogger paul said...

Amen, Brother.

CH (Capt) Paul Lynn

5:58 AM  
Blogger paul said...

Great post.

CH (Capt) Paul Lynn

6:00 AM  
Anonymous Recon Miller said...

Good stuff. Here's something to cheer you up. The same God who stands by us Christians, His adopted children, watches over Israel. If Iran had all the nucs in the world, the heart of the king is still in His hands.

6:25 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

What a great post. Thank you.

God bless,

8:21 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

What a great post. Thank you.

God bless,

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Chris:

Your comments are so accurate. their is no sacrifice by the American public and as a consequence there is a lack of commitment by many individuals and pundits. It is especially distressing to see this conflict being used by many politicians to further their own self-interest. Most people forget it took the United States almost 8 years to go from a Declaration of Independence to a Continental Congress. You are correct that it is difficult to expect the Iraqis who have been repressed by different governments for more than 4000 years to adapt to our form of democracy overnight. Your blog comment is so accurate.

Love, Dad

1:29 AM  

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