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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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What do we do now about the war in Iraq? 'This war will last many years'

On Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. was attacked. Civilian planes with civilian passengers were flown into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. A fourth crashed in a Pennsylvanian field. This is why we are at war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If I begin to lose this focus, I watch a DVD of the World Trade Center on fire. It’s easy to become discouraged as we watch and listen to daily TV and radio accounts of bombs going off and of the count of dead and wounded. We want it all to go away because we don’t see progress toward a viable solution.

One of many difficult realities is that this war isn’t linear. We aren’t fighting with defined battle lines. We’re fighting an enemy we can’t see. This type of war is asymmetrical, involving whole geographical areas with fluid battle lines, if any. The enemy tactics include suicide bombers and car bombers—they target civilians. This makesit difficult to notice progress.

Another reality is that we have to think about public relations as part of planning missions because statistics of war dead and images of destruction are important to proving Osama bin Laden’s contention that the U.S. lacks the will to fight a long war.


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