The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


What do we do now about the war in Iraq? 'Continuing is immoral'

In April 2003 most Americans thought the war in Iraq would be short-lived and the outcome would be total victory for President George W. Bush and the American forces.

My family and friends must have thought I was the ultimate pessimist when I wrote to them: “I’ve been to the Middle East too many times and have read too much about that part of the world to feel good about the ultimate outcome of what’s happening. I fear we’re in for a long, long time of increasing terrorism. No one wants to be proven wrong. But in this case, I hope I will be.”

Now, instead of being part of a small minority who opposed the invasion of Iraq, I find myself linked with a growing majority who question the wisdom in undertaking a war that appears to have no end in sight.

It would be tempting to gloat over my prediction. But that would be pointless.

The political and religious dynamics of the Middle East are too complex and the consequences of the outcome of this war are too serious for anyone to take pride in one’s opinion.

Where can we turn for help in looking at the larger picture? I find no better resource than the wisdom of Reinhold Niebuhr, one of America’s premier theologians of the last century.

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