11 January 2007

On Saddam Huessein’s Execution (& the war in general)

Even though Don Sweet doesn’t do it, I do. Last night, after church, I went home to watch President Bush address the nation about the war in Iraq. Call it my Political Science background coming to the fore, or my news-junkie habit getting the best of me. According to the statistics, I’m in the minority of the viewing public.

As you’ve undoubtedly heard by now whether you watched it or not, the general plan is more troops (5 brigades, or about 20,000), closer coordination through embedding in Iraqi divisions, an emphasis on holding territory (especially Baghdad and its environs) rather than just temporarily clearing it of insurgents, tweaked rules of engagement, and concomitant diplomatic and rebuilding efforts.

All of this comes with the backdrop of the increasing sectarian violence in Iraq, U.S. fatalities crossing the 3,000 person threshold, and word that all of this has set-off the largest refugee crisis (1 of every 8 Iraqi’s is now a refugee somewhere else) since 1948’s formation of Israel and the Palestinian refugee movement to surrounding countries that it created. Whether you’re for it or against it, war is dirty. It brings necessary abbreviations of principle, distasteful consequences, unavoidable damage and undesired outcomes. On these, everyone from pacifist to hawks agree.

That word, “dirty,” is fitting, but not my own. I came across it in an online column by someone that I respect because they always cause me to think in a manner that leads me closer to God. They were writing about how they felt about Saddam’s hanging. Again, whether you’re for capital punishment or not, I think they captured my own mixed emotions about what happened. When all is said and done, good man or bad, handled rightly or wrongly, agree or disagree with the decision, it leaves me feeling dirty. There just seems to be more dirt, more darkness, more sin—or at least more consciousness of the presence of these things—than there was before witnessing it. I think that’s something that all Christians can and should agree on as we come into close contact with evil, sin, and death. You can read the column here.

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