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! :)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Dichotomy

How does it affect me if Americans don’t support the war?

I asked myself that last night. You see, as I write this blog, I think that sometimes my comments come across as more “political” than they are intended. You see, at some level, it’s hard not to believe in what we’re doing over here- it would make things much more stressful if I didn’t. And yet we’re in a time when very few Americans believe in what we’re doing over here. Thus, it creates a bit of a mental hurdle to overcome.

As an example, think about your job or schooling: let’s say you enjoy your job. It’s stressful, but you believe it’s making a difference. You’re proud to be a part of the company. But you see that polling conducted by a consumer firm shows that most people think your product is useless, or even possibly unethical. You would begin to have a bit of a mental split inside your own head, trying to reconcile something you know, with the opinions of others about the same thing, though those opinions might be at a variance. You see your business from the inside, and you see it in ways that others do not.

I think this is the dilemma for many Soldiers. It is for me, to be frank. Don’t misunderstand: my job, as a chaplain, can be effective even if I personally don’t support the war. I am called to nourish the living, care for the wounded, and honor the dead. I can do that regardless of what I think about the politics behind the war. Yet, I also happen to think the war is the right thing to be doing. That doesn’t make my job worthwhile, but it certainly makes it more worthwhile. I hope that makes sense. It would be much more difficult to do my job if I thought what we were doing was wrong, or evil.

Yet, this is what the public projects on us. If you say the war in immoral, and that we came for the wrong reasons, and that we’re doing the wrong thing, you have to understand that it will affect those actually conducting the war! (and I don’t say that to change the opinions of those against the war; I say it to explain some of the stress some of the forms the debate causes Soldiers)

I don’t offer any of this as a solution or even to suggest a solution. I just know that I’m a former news junkie who has by and large stopped watching the news. There is too much of a disconnect between what I see/hear here, and what I see reported on the news. And what is being reported has captured the hearts and minds of the nation, and we can’t contend with that.


Blogger nhisgrip said...

I too, find myself at odds with many Americans and even some of my own family. While I have never had personal contact with our President; I have felt deep down in my soul for a long time that he truly seeks God's guidance in all his decisions. I believe the move against the war in Iraq has little to do with whether it is moral or justified. I have found that most of the people who I have talked to that are against it are uninformed and get their information from sound bites from people that are more concerned with their personal power than what is right or wrong.

I fully support all of you and your mission. May God be with you and protect you in all you do.

7:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your point about the job and the polling by the consumer firm was dead on. That's how I see it about people who don't support the war but claim to support the troops. That's like me telling my dad, "Hey, I like the fact that you have a job but I don't like it when you do your job." It doesn't work both ways. If people are against the war, that's fine with me. Just come out and say it and note that you aren't supporting the troops. What is going on now over there, btw? All I'm getting is body counts from the AP. I've gone to CentCom occasionally to see how Operation: Upholding the Law (forget the Arabic name, you know, the security crackdwon) is progressing. Are we still constructing hospitals, building schools, passing out candy, etc?

11:38 PM  
Anonymous Damien said...

I think many in the US are subject to the same Utopian fallacy that occured during WWII and the Cold War. First, many deny that evil exists. Many think the the Islamofacist threat will just disappear if we lay down our arms or throw our money out across the globe. People want to live in their lollipop and gumdrop world and not have to think about the harsh reality of war and that people hate us for no rational reason. While in the end, prayer may be the best defense, the warriors/Pelayos of the 21st century continue to fight to protect our great nation (including my daughter -who is sleeping-why i have time for this) and our civilization.

Here's to continued success and this family will continue to think about, support, and pray for it heroes fighting overseas.

6:16 AM  
Blogger Barb said...

Damian - you are so right. In fact, I think that many who are against the war actually believe you can legislate 'goodness'. "If you don't like something," they think, "you just pass a law and nobody will do that anymore."
Sadly, there is evil in the world, both great and small. And the fight against it, and the fight to bring democracy and reason to the Middle East is a good one that needs to be won.

Christian - excellent post, and I also have quit watching the main stream news, because I was tired of hearing about the latest troops lost, while never hearing of their good works and the amazing things accomplished in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I'm glad you believe that you're doing the right thing, and I also believe in the rightness of it. And it makes me very glad to know that our troops have a Chaplain like you to nourish them, care for them, and honor the ones who fall in battle. Thank you.

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The nonsense in DC sure doesn't represent the folks i know. It seems to more accurately represent political ambitions.

We continue to pray for, respect, and support the soldiers and their mission.
Kate Person

4:45 AM  
Blogger MoSup said...

CHRIS!!! One of our mutual friends came across your blog and sent me the link! So great to read about what you're up to! God bless and keep you!!


3:16 AM  

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