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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

 

Righteous warfare

First of all, I didn't connect yesterday's post to the title. Although there are pacifists who argue that there is no such thing, and others who claim that war has its own unique set of ethics and normal rules don't apply, I disagree with both.
The Book of Mormon devotes 20 chapters (Alma 43-63) to the military career of a commander named Moroni, who is presented as the premier example of the righteous warrior. (This ought to be required reading in Just War Theory ) It is recounted that Moroni became angry when faced a major act of treason, tore his coat, and the from it fashioned a flag which he called "Title of Liberty". It had the words:

In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our
wives, and our children.

(Alma 46:12)

written on it as his slogan. He made it the symbol of his cause, which became the defense of his people in a major war.

When the Iranian Revolution took place in 1979, the US Embassy was stormed and ,most of the occupants held hostage for some 10 months. Americans were shocked to hear their country described as "The Great Satan". This sparked a violent movement many Islamic nations, and numerous revolutionary groups, emboldened by the success of this movement, took to the streets of many nations. Some of these adopted terrorist methods, notably al-Qaeda.
At the time the US invaded Afghanistan shortly after 9-11-01 to hunt down al-Qaeda, I didn't have a strong opinion, but favored it rather than not. When the US invaded Iraq, I was dubious about it, but again more favored it than not.

After a couple of years of seeing revisionist propaganda which portrays President Bush instead of al-Qaeda as the enemy, after learning our forces have become a magnet for al-Qaeda, that it is focusing on our army there more than plots here, that al-Qaeda has been fomenting the sectarian violence in Iraq, and most recently that it practices such sadistic, brutal rule in areas where it had control, that the Iraqis are beginning to see al-Qaeda and not the American troops as their major enemy, it appears that we are actually winning!

To pull out and abandon now, would convincing all our enemies, especially al-Qaeda, that Americans are indeed spineless with no stomach for a long, difficult war. It would break the promise that we were going to help rebuild the country after freeing Iraqis from a brutal dictator. It would convince our allies that America is not to be trusted. It would give Iran, Syria, and Turkey the opportunity to divide Iraq among themselves. Finally, it would be an an example of treacherous politicians snatching defeat from the jaws of victory that their soldiers had won. If the military cannot trust Congress and the people to support them, why should anyone risk his life in the belief that America is worth defending?

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