I appreciate the moral and intellectual courage of the piece on WMD (1/18/05). These days, it is considered political heresy of the first magnitude to dissent from the our bungling presence in Iraq and to call us to account for the refutation of our ostensible reason for invading that country.
Without dispute, Saddam Hussein is a murderous criminal from whom the Iraqis needed deliverance. But when we shamed ourselves in the eyes of the world with the Abu Grhaib debacle, the White House would have done well to issue a statement such as this: "We sincerely apologize to the entire Iraqi nation for our disgraceful and inexcusable behavior. The blatant cruelty and indecency of our conduct at this prison utterly disqualifies us from our declared attempt to exemplify what we claimed to be the superior level of our civilization and morality. We pledge to make full reparations to the families of the men and women whom we have brutalized and shamed. We further pledge to withdraw our presence promptly from your nation in deference to the occupation of a peaceful coalition of powers committed to making no material profit from their presence in Iraq, but devoted to preserving peace and order and distributing humanitarian aid. We pledge also to make reparations to all Iraqi civilians who have been injured or lost family members through our military actions in that country, even though we recognize that money cannot buy back the lives we have taken or heal the wounds we have inflicted."
But modesty, humility and repentance are as rare in the political arena as chastity is in a bordello.
I love America, not for its being a bully or a dominant force in international affairs, but for the beauty of its Constitution and the ideals of its founding Fathers, as well as of those many citizens today who genuinely prize liberty and the dignity of human life.
As a nation we are rapidly heading in a direction, under cloak of religious zeal, that makes us resemble a fire-breathing dragon or a wolf in sheep's clothing. We could peacefully "conquer" the world by the conscientious exemplification of decency, temperance and justice within our own national borders, and by benevolent deeds on an international level. "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people" (Prov. 14:34). For all our greatness as a nation, we are not exempt from the ineluctable law of sowing and reaping.
It is not treason to admit the facts when we as a nation have done grievously wrong, but it is perilous to our national existence when we deny it. It is a stultified and menacing patriotism that refuses to recognize and correct our own failures, while clinging to delusions of moral grandeur. And, it is of infinitely greater importance to be on God's side than to try to draft Him for endorsement of our party politics. He is not available for such exploitation. Never was, and never will be. But He is available for comment: see, for example, Psalm 50:16-23; Isaiah 2:10-22.