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, February 14, 2007

Our Moral Obligation

As our troops move forward with the new Baghdad security plan, the politicians back home- of BOTH parties- are trying to find new and creative ways to oppose the plan. I can’t really comment on their motives or their purposes, but there IS something we have a moral obligation to talk about:

What will we do with the Iraqis working on American bases when we leave?

After my Bible study today, I was speaking with an Iraqi woman who comes to our service and attends the Bible study (she became a Christian 7 years ago when Jesus came to her in a vision). She works here on the base and was talking about the persecution she faces. I asked her “What will happen when the Americans leave? Will you go back to your home town?”

She said “No. They will kill me. I will have to try to get to Jordan, maybe.” She went on to recount for me that other friends of hers who went home after working for the Americans were murdered, one man in front of his four year old daughter and wife. There are worse stories.

Friends, you may not agree with the war, and I serve in the Army to make sure you get that right, and get to voice it out loud. But we’ve got a moral obligation to figure out what we’re going to do with those working directly for us when we leave. We didn’t do that well enough in Vietnam and when we left, and there were thousands of people who suffered torture, imprisonment and death.

I believe we should offer them the chance to come to America, as did many Vietnamese after the Vietnam War. I have come to love and respect the Iraqis I have met here. They are good people. The vast majority of them want peace, but a small element, mixed with foreign fighters, is determined to ruin it. I don’t believe America has the patience or guts to see this out, but we do owe it to those working with us to take care of them, if nothing else. I’m not talking about the politicians or the wealthy folks, but the average every day people- working as translators, working in the shops on base, cleaning up the base, and so on.

As an active member of the military, I cannot advocate political causes directly while in uniform. But I believe everyone reading this should begin to talk to their political representatives. Feel free to cut and paste what I have written and pass it around via email. Or send people a link to this blog. If we’re going to cut and run, as it appears, I think we ought to at least make plans for those who stand to get hurt. Our country can handle bringing in more immigrants. We don't need to be afraid because they're different or have a different religion. Instead we should recognize we have an obligation to help them.

This blog has gotten over 35,000 hits since I started writing- which isn’t all that many when you compare it to other web sites. But what if we start emailing our leaders and making some noise about this? Can we at least do that?


Anonymous Mom said...

Chris, I couldn't agree with you more!!! I can't imagine the trepidation tho\ese particular people must be feeling. I know that living as an American in freedom and without fear,there is no way to fathom the concern they must have for their lives! I hope and pray something can be done for them!!

Love you and miss you very much!!!

1:29 AM  
Blogger Steffen said...

Dear Chris:

Your insight is so correct! Regardless of one's view of the war, we have a moral and ethical obligation to the Iraqis who have helped us these past few years. Most Americans live isolated from the war other than the snippets on the news and have no idea of the suffering these people are enduring.

I have forwarded your blog to a number of friends and hope they will have a chance to view your site and express their thoughts. We all miss you, love you and we're very proud of your dedication to God and country.

On a lighter note, there is an excellent article in the Minneapolis Star and Tribune today regarding your University of Wisconsin athletic endeavors and contrasting them with the Minnesota programs both amateur and professional. While I'm not a big sports fan, I understand your pride in the University of Wisconsin's outstanding season in football, basketball and hockey.

Take care!

Love, Dad

3:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Chris:

Your insight regarding our moral and ethical obligations to the Iraqi people is so correct. Regardless of one's view of the war, we have an obligation to assist the people who have helped us and help them avoid any type of retribution. Hopefully, the sectarian violence can be controlled and peaceful solutions found for the Sunnis and Shi'ites to live together. Millions of innocent people died in Vietnam and Cambodia after the end of the Vietnam conflict. We have to avoid this happening again.

Most Americans are relatively unaffected by the war and their exposure limited to the snippets on the evening news, which certainly has a political bias. It's unfortunate when a conflict becomes a political football rather than a serious problem solving undertaking.

We are all so proud of you and your dedication to God and country. I look forward to your coming home.

On a lighter note, there was an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune regarding the Herculean efforts of the University of Wisconsin athletic programs. They also contrasts of the efforts of the professional teams in Minnesota and Wisconsin. While I'm not a big sports fan, I know how proud you are of your alma mater's outstanding program. Their record this year in football, basketball and hockey are enviable.

Love, Dad

3:52 PM  

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