Why do so many Christians support the Iraq War?
What I'm about to write is going to be a somewhat touchy subject, at least to some people. But it is also something that has confused me for a quite a while.
It all comes down to this question: Why are many Christians so supportive of the war in Iraq? We can break this question into four parts. Why do so many Christians: 1) believe the precepts for the war are justified, 2) simplify the issue into a good vs. evil dichotomy, 3) support a policy that encourages death and destruction rather than life and peace, and 4) support a policy that makes Iraq a life-threatening place for a Christian to live?
Many Christians are adamant in their support of the war, in spite of the long established facts that the American people were simply lied to in going over there. But I feel like Christian support on this first point has more to do with ignorance than ideology — willful or not.
Many people are not aware of the fact that Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda had no link whatsoever. The evidence that supported the Bush administration's run-up to war has long since been proven faulty — and in fact was proven faulty before we ever went to war. The Bush administration failed to listen to evidence contrary to their aims, instead favoring evidence already tilted toward going to war. The Bush administration lied by presenting one side of the picture, misleading America into a war which will scar us for decades to come. Even in 2008, many are ignorant of these facts, and Christians who support the war are not excluded.
The evidence contrary to the Bush administration’s goals clearly showed Iraq was not a threat to our national security. I'm not going to go into the details of this evidence; whole books have been written about that. However, it is our duty as American citizens to take up the mantle of responsibility. It is our duty to be knowledgeable about what is going on, and to hold our government accountable. As a Christian, I inwardly cringe whenever I hear my pastor give a diatribe about supporting the war and its precepts. Support our troops, yes. Support the war, no.
If one supports the war, one is also inadvertently supporting the lies that made it possible. It's ironic that Christians, among the strongest supporters of the war, have supported an administration of liars.
My second point had to do with the danger of making everything a dichotomy between good and evil. Iraq is an extremely complicated issue — the search for truth goes deeper than what we're told from the pulpit. It's not like we're bringing light to the barbarous Middle East, an all too simple dichotomy that is simply dangerous. In fact, we've done the opposite. What few Christians and Jews were living in Iraq at the time fled for their lives because of the American invasion. Iraq is not a safe place for a Christian to live. It's an obvious irony of the war — by hoping to bring peace and democracy, we have brought sectarian violence.
Many people are also not aware of the fact that over a million have died in Iraq as a result of the American occupation, which is surprising. Once, questioning one of my Christian friends' support of the war, my friend asserted that Saddam had killed over a million. But Saddam killed maybe a thousand. I'm not even sure it was that many, but I don't really feel like searching for the exact number. In any case, it was a lot less than what we've done (both directly and indirectly) in a little over five years.
These numbers are staggering, and it seems to me that a Christian supporter of the war would find it difficult to justify them. Christians, in theory at least, should be the first to bring happiness and help to a world that needs it. Why would Christians support a war that has done just the opposite? War also just seems like a bad thing to attach the Christian name to. As Ron Paul said, "Going to war in Iraq seems to be against everything I was ever taught as a Christian."
The Iraq war will be an issue conservative Christians look back on a generation from now and say, "What were we thinking? Why didn't we stand against it?" Civil rights and slavery have a similar story. Although many Christians individually helped with the Underground Railroad and were actually the majority in doing so, at the institutional level, many Christian churches stood against these things.
Christian support for Iraq makes no sense to me. In fact, it stands against everything Christians are supposed to stand for. Many people are dead, and more are dying. With each passing month, I become more convinced that we can make very little positive impact there.
Yes, I understand Saddam was an evil man. But so are many other world leaders. Ultimately, Iraq was a decision made without much forethought or evidence. And that goes against pretty much all of the Book of Proverbs. No matter how far a man has gone down the wrong road, he must turn back.
I know that not all Christians support the Iraq war. I am one of them. It is time we made plans to withdraw, which both candidates most likely will do, at least in the next four years, despite all the rhetoric. It is hard to imagine the next president getting reelected if he has not gotten us out of there.
Christians have a moral responsibility not to encourage wanton death and destruction. The Iraq war is unjustified, has cost too many lives, was poorly planned and executed, and ultimately, we will lose.
It is okay to be against that, regardless of religion.Powered by Sidelines