The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


War in Iraq still controversial

Readers weigh in

I read with interest Chaplain John Hugus’ report on military chaplain ministry in Afghanistan and Iraq (September, "What do we do now about the war in Iraq? 'This war will last many years'"). However, the chaplain is incorrect in connecting Iraq with the Islamic radicals’ attack on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the crash in the Pennsylvania countryside. Although despicable as a leader, Saddam Hussein wasn’t involved in preparing or executing the Sept. 11 attack, according to our own intelligence and congressional investigations. Chaplains gladly minister to military personnel wherever they are deployed, but at the same time we are not obligated to accept propaganda as truth even if it comes from our own administration.

Michael G. Viise
Retired chaplain, Air Force colonel
Charlottesville, Va.

What about ‘just war’?

Chaplain John Hugus, apparently a thoughtful man, said Sept. 11 is why we are at war in Iraq and Afghanistan. That may be true of Afghanistan; it’s certainly not why we are in Iraq. Sen. Hiram Johnson (Indiana) said in 1917, “The first casualty when war comes is the truth.” I assume that those who approve and we who oppose the invasion of Iraq are patriots—we simply see things differently. The war in Iraq is immoral if we subscribe to Augustine’s “just war” theory. Equally important, it is illegal. One nation has no right to attack another sovereign nation unless it’s in defense. According to the U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8, the invasion of Iraq was illegal. It’s also illegal according to the U.N. Charter, Chapter 7, Article 1. As Christians we would do well to keep church and state separate. The kingdom of God and the U.S. are not the same.

Bud Dixen
Circle Pines, Minn.

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Embracing diversity