Posted by: Mark Nielsen | March 4, 2013

Iraq and Peacemaking: Then & Now

Evanston, IL candlelight vigil on the eve of U.S./Iraq war, March 2003.

Evanston, IL candlelight vigil on the eve of U.S./Iraq war, March 2003.

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Ric Hudgens and I –and a couple hundred other Evanstonians– protesting the Iraq war at a RELIGIOUS anti-war demonstration/ candlelight vigil (yes, conservatives… we peacenik Christians DO exist…).

This month marks the tenth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq.

In the photo, I’m on the left, Ric at center, with the kids in tow being my son Graham, Sam Hudgens, and our friends Greg & Heather Clark’s son Micah on far right. I think Greg may have taken the photo for me. The photo seen above was kept on my smartphone for years, as sort of a personal postmodern prayer icon to keep praying for both the Iraqi people and the U.S. troops

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Just because it was such a great rant (and because Facebook activity is inherently more temporary than a blog post), I’m re-posting my friend Ric Hudgens’ recent Facebook response to Madison McClendon (formerly? currently?) of Greenville, NC.

In discussing the ten year anniversary of Bush initiating a war in Iraq, Madison asked Ric the straw man question, “What is your alternative/response/solution, if not going to war?

Ric Hudgens Solution to what? Responding to 9/11? Responding to Saddam Hussein in Iraq? Responding to the Iraqi control of oil in the Middle East? Responding to the stolen presidential election of 2000? Responding to the current state of American Foreign Policy? Responding to status of American Empire in the 20th century? Responding to a national history of manifest destiny, slave-based economies, and indigenous genocidal warfare? Responding to centuries of European capitalist exploitation? Responding to a human drive for domination over the more-than-human world? Where was MY solution to what? Where would you like ME to start? Where would you like ME to stop? Nonviolence is not the presumptive rosy-colored gaze of the naive, but the sobered, penitent, resolute commitment of the unflinching gaze through the illusions, lies, and manipulated rhetoric of the “princes” who the Psalmist long ago warned us not to trust. (Psalm 146:3-4)

Saturday at 11:21am · Unlike · 4

Dickelle Fonda
If there had been a draft at the time- i believe more people from all social strata would have been in the streets with us ten years ago- and if the children and grandchildren of congress people were expected to serve without the deferments of their priviledge- Iraq and other countries might not have been destroyed ——-that may be the only way unfortunately to avoid endless war……-

Me: I mentioned the photo on his FB post commentary, and then soon found it and uploaded to FB.

I’m not naive, either. So I’m under no delusion that the quite vocal majority of pro-military (and generally under-informed about world politics) U.S. citizens will agree with these positions– if they even weigh in on Iraq, or are aware that the anniversary is occurring. But I’ve made a vow not to keep silent, even if my voice in the wilderness is heard by just a random few who need the encouragement.

We Americans are not all “like that”, Muslim & Arab World. Really. That photo up there is your proof…

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Meanwhile, there are other spots in the world heating up right now (Syria, Mali), and the U.S. is still faced with tough choices about whether or how to get involved. As we probably always will be, as long as we maintain the wealth and influence we still yield here in the U.S.

… for much is to be expected from those to whom much has been given –at least according to the Nazarene:

47 “The servant who knows what his master wants but is not ready, or who does not do what the master wants, will be beaten with many blows! 48 But the servant who does not know what his master wants and does things that should be punished will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded. And from the one trusted with much, much more will be expected.   (Luke 12:47-48, New Century Version)

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For my take on the Mali/African anti-terror war status, see my post from last week:

Mark’s Mali/Africa Report, Feb 2013.



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