Thursday, November 02, 2006

Iraq: Time to leave?

Metropolitan +Philip of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese has recently stated that it was a mistake for the United States to invade Iraq. He has also called for all US troops to be pulled out of the country by spring of 2007. I can not state that he is the only Orthodox primate to speak out on this subject so directly. But he is the only one I know of doing so.

To be honest, I am ambivalent about the war in Iraq (as opposed to Afghanistan where I am 100% in favor of it). During the period leading up to the war I bought the whole bill of goods and supported it. Today I have serious doubts about the wisdom and necessity of the action. Hindsight is always 20/20 they say. The problem is I still don’t know if it was the right thing to do or not. I do not buy into all of the silly conspiracy theories about going in for oil etc. The Oliver Stone School of Politics has never appealed to me. But whether one agrees with the basic justification for the war or not, one thing is painfully clear. It’s been botched.

The post war planning was so incompetent that it is astonishing that no one has been held to account for it. Donald Rumsfeld is still running the War Department. And the administration has never apparently spent much time asking how a war we were assured would be over in 6 weeks with all US troops out of Iraq in 6 months or less is now half way into its 3rd year with no end in sight and the situation going from bad to worse. I for one believe enough young people have died in this debacle that its time some tough questions were asked and some accountability demanded. I spent ten years in the military and I understand that mistakes happen in war and the enemy can be generally counted on to be uncooperative in whatever you’re trying to do. But I expect people to LEARN from their mistakes. That has not been in evidence here.

“Cuiusvis hominis est errare, nullius nisi insipientis in errore perseverare.”

Anyone can err, but only the fool persists in his fault. - Cicero.

1 comment:

Visibilium said...

The desire for instant gratification and totally riskless, but successful, outcomes is part of our current mediocre zeitgeist. Everyone loves liberating oppressed people, except when it takes too long and results in too many casualties.

We may have found the Sarin gas, but we didn't find the nukes. Boo hoo.

This is not to fault Met. Phillip, whom I admire, for voicing an opinion. I'd expect all Orthodox clergy to be against most, if not all, wars. Saint Basil recommended withholding the mystery for six months from soldiers returning from battle. Put simply, killing people for whatever reason is un-Christ-like.

By the same token, Orthodox clergy, like Met. Phillip, are not equipped to be secular rulers. The laity, not the clergy, bears responsibility for exercising judgement in wars and other violent matters that arise in a fallen world.