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December 17, 1998

Peace on Earth

First let me state that I am a Veteran. I served in the United States Army for three years and was discharged honorably. One year of my service was spent in the Middle East on a base that contained nuclear weapons.

Secondly let me state that although at times I have considered myself a pacifist along the lines of "if your enemy strikes on the left cheek offer him the right", I thoroughly believe that force is necessary at times to defend or rescue others.

Having stated the above let me say that I am deeply troubled during this third week of Advent.

I wonder why we the United States are bombing Iraq again? Why are innocent people living under a tyrant being punished for the deeds of the tyrant? Don't they suffer enough? I don't understand why we act so swiftly (if you can call delaying this action until the eve of Impeachment debate and vote as swift) to bomb Iraq but standby and do nothing when people have been herded and butchered in places like Kosovo and Central Africa.

I am skeptical and cynical about the whole matter. I take no glory in any of it and wonder if the Babylonian King in the far away land might not be doing the will of God like Cyrus of old.

Are we the "Great Satan" like the nations of Iran and Iraq have termed us at various times in the recent past?

What good are we doing in these places?

The President mentioned in his address that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction and has used them in the past. My first thought in hearing this news is that isn't that what we have done too? Who will punish us?

It bothers me to think of mighty US and British bombers flying over primitive people who can't match this might are being slaughtered. We will measure this attack by how many American or British fatalities are suffered. If none perish it will be a great success.

Already Iraq has suffered fatalities. The tyrant is still alive and will continue to do whatever it is that he is doing over there. Somehow that does not strike me as success.

Saddam is looked at as someone who thumbs his nose at the world. The President of the United States seems to be a similar character thumbing his nose at the judicial process of this country and the people who are loyal and patriotic here.

Through all of this I am mindful that it is the season of expectation. The appearance of angels to shepherds announces peace to God's people.

I am ready to receive that peace and to extend it to whomever. There is too much hatred in the world and to often there is too much hatred in our hearts. I for one would like to let go of whatever hatred I have toward anyone and allow God's peace and love to replace it.

That is my prayer for you and for our nation.



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