TBT: So . . . Was I Right about Iraq?

I’m often slow on the uptake. Facebook friends keep posting photographs with the comment “TBT.” What the hey? Since my policy is not to put much thought into cryptic messages, ignorance has enjoyed its long day. I finally broke the code, but can’t remember how. If ever a brain needed a laxative, it’s mine. A cheap Cabernet may have cleared enough obstructions for the obvious to snap into focus, the way the Eiffel Tower or Sebastian Cabot appear in 3D glory after you zone out looking at one of those dizzying posters that used to populate restaurant waiting areas. (Mr. French may be available only through special order.)

Throwback Thursday! Of course. UrbanDictionary.com updates my revelation by noting that TBT may also indicate Throwback To . . . . So every day of the week we can gorge ourselves with impunity on grainy images of our unfortunate 1980s hairstyles. I love it.

Since I got my hair cut roughly the same way today as I did thirty years ago, I don’t have much to add to TBT in the way of embarrassing photographs. In the process of junk sorting, however, I found an opinion piece I wrote for the Erie Times-News between 9/11/2001 and the U.S. attack on Iraq on 3/19/2003.

This particular TBT is short on humor, but it is interesting to revisit old convictions.

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Sad when your throwback photograph from a dozen years ago makes people say, “Geez, he’s let himself go.”

What would Jesus say about Iraq? (This title and the paragraphing are not mine.)

For the United States, September 11, 2001, was a series of unimaginable sucker punches. In a few hours, terrorists placed on our country’s hearthrug a new reality: the “gentleman’s agreement” as to the rules of war had been altered.

The “enemy” isn’t necessarily a specific country anymore, and rather than sticking their chins out for a retaliatory punch, attackers blow themselves up.

The question is, how should we respond to this new set of rules—or lack thereof? Or more to the point for me, what is a faithful way of responding to terrorism within our borders?

President Bush isn’t hiding his take on the matter. He thinks that the United States, either alone or in cooperation with other nations, should bomb Iraq with the goal of eliminating Saddam Hussein.

I haven’t heard any of television’s talking heads dispute the Bush administration’s claims that Iraq supports terrorism, so I guess if we’re going to wage war on terrorism, Iraq is as good a place to start as any.

My concern isn’t where the bombing should begin, but when it will (or won’t) end.

I don’t pretend to know what course of action will best protect our national interests or rid the world of the fanatical inclination to fly jets into skyscrapers.

Even as a pastor, I don’t know that I could win a theological argument for peace. Many intelligent, scripturally literate people believe that the time for seeking peace with terrorists has passed.

But I do feel increasingly sure about the voice of my own conscience, and the word I’ve been hearing lately is enough.

As I write this, my kids are close by. One is tying up the phone lines by gabbing on AOL, and the other is wearing a pair of goggles and pretending to swim across my study floor. My wife is at a class on home repair. I love these three.

Here’s the deal. If we start down the wrenching, potentially endless path of incinerating the world’s sucker punchers, people every bit as dear as my beloved three would also burn because they happen to be in the way.

Enough! Enough lives lost. Enough grieving. Enough violence.

Like I said, these are only the words of my own conscience. I’m probably wrong and simplistic, but I try to imagine Jesus standing beside me. What would he say? I can’t hear “bomb ‘em” or “acceptable collateral damage” coming from his lips.

What I hear is more like “figure out something else.”

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Grizzled and pudgy, I imagine my beloved grandson under the bomb. I guess I’m parked in the same spot I was years ago.

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5 thoughts on “TBT: So . . . Was I Right about Iraq?

  1. I’m in a hotel in Windsor, UK using the free wifi to check my email. Funny that your blog post popped up first thing because yesterday I was in Sherborne with a friend yesterday poking around Sherborne Abbey, where we met a lovely elderly man who sat at a table painting portraits of saints on wood panels. His name was John Coleman.

    • Hey, Mary. Good grief, to think there are other John Colemans out in the world without supervision! Thanks for pausing to write and share. Portraits of saints on wood panels, ay? I like the guy already. Peace and happy travels, John

  2. Well look at you TBT’ing and all, John Coleman! 😀
    Glad to see you’re posting again! (Although people in glass houses, and all… My blogging has been spotty at best, myself.)

    Hey, in case you didn’t get notification, I reviewed your book on Goodreads. Which reminds me, I need to do that on Amazon, too.

    • Hey, Nancy. Yeah, TBTs now, what the hell’s next? I’m trying not to swagger. “Spotty” is a good word. Kathy and I have been engaged in the mud-wrestling match that is moving from 2200 sq ft to 1000. Looking forward to catching up with reading and writing. I didn’t get any notification from Goodreads, but I just read the review. So generous. I really appreciate it. See you in blog-land, sister. Hope you’re feeling better–I’ve got to read to see what you’ve posted. Peace, John

      • I feel your pain, my friend. We didn’t downsize to quite the same extent, but with all the renovations we are trying to work through it feels like we’ve moved from 2,400 sq ft to 600. 😦

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