Hi there newly-minted war opponents! I welcome your newfound scepticism about the ability of Western military force to bring freedom and democracy to the Middle East. It was lonely out there in 2003 when I was being told to join with the “sensible” liberals/left-wingers (you know, like Christopher Hitchens) and support the invasion of Iraq to find
oil err, the man who tried to kill the President’s dad err, weapons of mass destruction. We were told that this would be a cheap, easy war that would just about pay for itself in oil contracts and other sorts of peace dividends as American troops would be greeted as liberators. Why would anyone be so dumb as to stand with dirty old 1960s leftovers and various Noam Chomsky-type figures (including Noam Chomsky) when someone could do a quick installation of democracy with six easy weeks in Iraq. Why do lefties hate the Iraqi people? And of course most of my conservative-evangelical friends sided with what John MacArthur said here about the war fitting into the Christian just war tradition:
The logic in 2003 seems to have been that war is permissible and even noble under certain circumstances (because it’s used as a metaphor) and therefore that particular war was permissible and perhaps even noble. I want to see how John MacArthur would argue that this is not the case with Tomahawks and JDAMs landing on a few airfields if it was the case for house-to-house fighting in Fallujah or Samara or Tikrit.
I’m also a little surprised at all the concern over the Christian minority in Syria, when it came to the Christian minority in Iraq we were told that the US would protect the ability of missionaries to come in and proselytize and that the ancient Christian communities of Iraq didn’t really count since they were small and in decline and well, ahem, do Eastern Christians really *count* anyway? It would be nice if this represented some kind of growing awareness of a common, ancient, global Christian community that shared an identity across lines of East and West, but I’ll wait and see what happens the next time a Republican ignores the plight of a Christian minority somewhere like that of the Iraqi Christians ten years ago.
Of course I’m sure that this would be the EXACT SAME sentiment that all conservative Christians would express if Mitt Romney/Sarah Palin/John McCain were in the White House and proposing to strike the patrons of Hezbollah who were using chemical weapons on their own people against the wishes of the international community (save Russia). I hope Ian is correct that this represents a lesson learned and perhaps the waning of dispensationalism as a dominant view in American evangelical protestant circles, but I would like to check in the next time that a Republican president proposes military action to see if it is still the case that we need to carefully consider what it means to be a Christian facing the prospect of war or whether we are told to shut up and not criticize a sitting Commander-in-Chief in wartime because our God is bigger than the other guy’s.