Terrible Texts: The Attitude of the Bible Toward Women -- Part III

Column by Bishop John Shelby Spong on 14 January 2004 0 Comments
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How did you feel when your daughter joined the Marines and was deployed to Iraq during the war, while you were so outspokenly opposed to that war?


I respect each of our children and trust them to make the proper decisions for their lives. It would not occur to me to try to make my children abide by my convictions or attitudes, even if I could. So I trust them to live as they decide.

I opposed the war for lots of reasons that are now, even after the capture of Saddam, overwhelmingly being shown to be right.

The war hype was not related to reality. Iraq posed no imminent threat to the United States. Iraq had nothing to do with the September 11 terrorist attack. Attacking Iraq was a policy decision made before the Bush Administration took power on January 20, 2001.

There were no weapons of mass destruction.

There was no atomic capability.

There was no germ warfare that could be made ready in 45 minutes.

The American case was so weak that major allies would not join the war effort.

The propaganda that called these troops "Coalition forces" was stretched beyond reasonableness. It was an Anglo-British force with a sprinkling of others.

The cost of the war was grossly underestimated. The cost of reconstruction has only recently begun to be embraced.

The "pinpoint" new precision weapons that were supposed to minimize civilian casualties were a joke since we know that some 14,000 Iraqis died, about half of them innocent citizens.

There was no exit strategy.

Terrorism is not fought with bombs and missiles.

Terrorism is fought by addressing the causes of despair and hopelessness that give rise to a willingness to die in order to inflict pain on those the terrorists hold responsible for your pain.

The truth about this military adventure was never told.

The benefits do not offset the loss of more than 500 American lives.

Unilateral military action breaks trust in the family of nations.

I think the war was fought for three unspoken reasons:

1. The first President George Bush had made a mess of the first Iraqi war. Not only did he not complete his mission but he encouraged dissident Iraqis with promises of help to rebel against what he thought was a crippled Saddam Hussein. They rebelled, received no help and were murdered by Saddam, while that first President Bush stood by meekly, hoping to ride his "victory" to a second term in the White House. He failed. His son, the second President Bush, wanted to clean up his father's mistakes.

2. Iraq had oil reserves, which American oil interests wanted. North Korea, which posed a greater threat than Iraq to its neighbors and to the world with its known arsenal of destructive weapons was not an invasion target. Libya, which does produce relatively small quantities of oil but which has never been a source necessary to this country's survival, but which clearly was involved in terrorism was subjected only to economic sanction. In these places we sought a diplomatic or "negotiated settlement." The difference? Is our dependence on a steady oil supply not the key?

3. After 9/11, the leaders of Saudi Arabia told the Bush administration that they could not survive politically if American military personnel continued to operate from Saudi Arabia. The U.S. needed a Middle Eastern country to solidify its military presence in that region. Iraq was the choice. These facts mean to me that this present administration has not been honest with the American people. They, therefore, do not have my trust.

-- John Shelby Spong




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