Call to conversion

Waging Peace: One Soldier’s Story of Putting Love First by Diana Oestreich

I’ve read so many good books this summer that i didn’t think it was possible to read one more. This invitation to read this book from a class I am taking at Houghton College. It resonated for me because like the author I was a military medic though in a different war. Like the author I too was conflicted about killing for my country. It was counter to all I had been taught and what I believed. This gripping story of conversion is a must read.

What is winning?

Michael Ware has a different definition of winning in Iraq. Watch this video.


Those damned Iranians

Turns out the Iranians may have duped us into attacking Iraq. It does seem to have strengthened their hand.

Defense Department counterintelligence investigators suspected that Iranian exiles who provided dubious intelligence on Iraq and Iran to a small group of Pentagon officials might have “been used as agents of a foreign intelligence service … to reach into and influence the highest levels of the U.S. government,” a Senate Intelligence Committee report said Thursday.–McClatchy News Service.

Our geniuses often cite intelligence failures as the reason for September 11, 2001 and the Iraq War. Turns out they are right, but it’s not lack of intelligence, it’s lack of intellect.

I was right

Five plus years ago I received a nice letter from the White House informing me that the President appreciated my letters asking him not to go to war, but that he (the president) knew better and that we had committed our forces to battle with Saddam and eventually kill innocent civilians and destroy the country of Iraq. I wish I’d have been wrong. I wish there weren’t 4100 dead American soldiers who died in vain. I wish there weren’t another thirty thousand or so gravely wounded and I really wish there were no Iraqis dead as a result of American aggression.

A long-awaited Senate Select Intelligence Committee report made public Thursday concludes that President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney made public statements to promote an invasion of Iraq that they knew at the time were not supported by available intelligence.–Read more here from the McClatchy News Service.


I listened to Scott McClellan discuss his new book, What Happened,  several times last week and just yesterday I listened to retired Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez discuss his new book, Wiser in Battle,  on NPR. I also just watched a couple of sources for Bill O’Reilly’s interview with Scott McClellan during which Bill O. goes bonkers trying to frame Scott as disingenuous. From all of it,  I’ve drawn what I thought all along that the Iraq War was trumped up. Americans were sent into harms way by a president and an administration who cared nothing about facts and only about narrow policy goals which were not even related to the deaths of American citizens and military on September 11, 2001.

It’s really interesting to listen to what General Sanchez has to say because he does so in such a matter of fact manner and without the hype of a Bill O’Reilly interview setting. NPR and C-Span are a lot classier venues than the cafeteria fight settings of most cable networks where the hosts shout down the guests.

There can be little doubt given Richard Clarke’s book, McClellan’s, General Sanchez’s work that we were systematically lied to and that this president and his minions cared little about the rule of law, the Constitution of the United States of America or the world court of public opinion.  Soon they will be leaving office and we can only hope that the next president whoever that is will be more truthful.

Winter Soldier

On Sunday I found myself inside a church on Jamestown Island in Virginia. The church is a replica of the original that stood on that ground in the early 17th century. Posted at the front of the church were the Ten Commandments. One of them stated, “you shall not kill.” How often we hear reference to the Ten Commandments and how posting them would restore value to our society and our country. More important than posting them is having them written in our hearts. This soldier’s testimony is more poignant than posting the commandments. Apparently certain values were written on his heart at one time and no amount of military training can permanently remove them. Watch the video here.

A Moment of Peace

As I read the news reports coming out of Iraq this morning I began to wonder what if we hadn’t invaded Iraq and we’d have saved all the good will we used to enjoy in the world. What if we’d spent the money we’ve squandered in Iraq on guns, bombs, and other weapons on education for Iraqis, Iranians, Saudis and others. What if we had those 4,000 men and women back who got killed? What if we had 30,000 others who got horribly maimed? What if we didn’t have 1,000,000 dead Iraqis and millions more displaced by the carnage? What if we really allowed the United Nations to work? What if we put all our weapons in boxes and buried them? What if we turned our seven-hundred-forty or so military bases world wide into care centers for the poor and sick? What if we turned our fleets into hospital ships and care centers for the world’s poor? Can you imagine a different outcome? Can you imagine an end to terrorism?

What if the neo-conservative militarists had been flower children? What if Bush, Cheney and the rest had been pacifists instead of militarists? What if they really believed Christ and really practiced what he lived and taught? Can you imagine a different outcome in Basra and Baghdad? It would be a different world.


Thank you

Thank you President Bush for having the foresight to invade Iraq five years ago. I thought it was wrong to do, but you’ve proven that war is the ultimate right weapon in the fight against terror. I salute your insight and forthrightness. Now, thanks to you the Iraqi people have a democracy and today mark their fifth year of freedom from Saddam and peace in their lovely country. Thanks to your leadership we’re all driving more and spending less because you were right the oil revenues have not only financed the reconstruction of the new Iraq, but also have driven the cost of gasoline down here in the United States. To those who thought more troops would be necessary you can just thumb your nose.


War made easy

While the media and the public have been focused on Eliot Spitzer’s disgrace at least eight more American soldiers have been killed in Iraq. That brings the total of American war dead to nearly 4,000. Iraq is not even front page news as we move into the sixth year of the illegal war that has cost this country as estimated 3 billion dollars. The fourth estate has fallen asleep at the switch. They’re more concerned with tabloid journalism stories than about what’s killing America and Americans. Lent is a time of new beginnings. May we have a new beginning that will see our nation rise up and demand an end to war. A new film, War Made Easy is available and here is the trailer.


Counting the cost

I’ve been on the couch most of today. I’ve had a 24 hour virus. Chills, fever and a bit achey. Today was one of those lovely midwinter days where there were only high cirrus clouds and almost unrestricted sun. That’s a real gift in our area. We are one of the grayest areas of the country this time of year. I got in a lot of reading today. I stopped by at PlainFoolish and wandered over to the Quakers Colonel where there is an excellent piece “If George Bush gave the equivalent of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.” From there I wandered to Pax-et-Lux and saw a very telling video that’s being circulated by the American Friends Service Committee. I hope you take time to watch it here.[youtube=]