I was struck last week by a large headline in one of the daily newspapers that I pass by on my way to the USA Today paper box. The big block letters on the front page almost screamed, “Can We Win In Afghanistan?”
I didn’t take time to read the article and what it related but the very question itself set me on a course of thought and reflection that is still in the process of coming to a boil in my ever active imagination.
My first thought was this: If we can’t win then lets get out which in turn led to—if we can’t win then why not?
Just for the record, I am not very active politically—I know a little bit about a lot but not very much about any one democratic process or structure.
However, I do know that our form of government is a Republic and not a Democracy—we are governed by representatives that we “elect” every so often and the hope is that these paid reps will do what is best for us and our country.
And I guess that is the point that I am getting to in a round-a-bout way. I feel that we, as a people group, have almost totally lost control of our government (for and by the people), our food production and our stewardship of mother earth.
From a simple and biblically logical standpoint, if we can’t win the war in the Afghanistan, then we need to immediately get out before any more or our nations’ men and women are put in harms way.
Luke 14:28-32 reads:
“For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?
“Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him,
saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
“Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand?
“Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.
I am no biblical scholar but the implication seems pretty clear—don’t start something you can’t finish.
Not only this, but recent reports of high suicide rates among soldiers, mental illness discharges, drug and alcohol addiction and just plain wearing out bodies because of multiple deployments says that the system is not working on so many different fronts not to mention whether or not we should even be in-country.
I guess the older I get, the less I think about the idea that the USA needs to come to the rescue of every nation that is in political turmoil.
Then again, this whole Iraq and Afghanistan thing is much more complex than we have been led to believe. Once we realized that we were never going to find Bin Laden or nuclear weapons, we should have said see you later—instead we have spent literally billions of dollars on a war, within a country, for a people group that we will probably never see eye to eye with.
Muslims and Christians are like oil and water—historically and realistically—two very separate groups of people, each thinking that the other group are infidel. Books have been written about the divide between these two religious groups. And because of time and energy on my part, we are not even going to delve into the fact that these eastern countries are governed by hundreds of thousand year old tribes rather than some form of united representative government.
Yes, this whole conflict is so wrong on so many different fronts. Just thinking about it has frustrated me and in turn made me aware of the acute sense of impotence many must feel. How can we the people change public policy—if that is even what this is. How can we meaningfully make our voices heard in the board rooms and congressional halls of our vast country.
And in closing, what response is appropriate for a man of faith—a man who believes in a living, active God and savior. How shall we then pray into this situation and our collective sense of betrayal and frustration?
Those and many others are questions I am pondering on this very long and twisted ride.