Ruminating on the Evils of War and Fighting an Invisible Enemy
On the Eve of Battle
God of power and mercy,
maker and love of peace,
to know you is to live,
and to serve you is to reign.
Through the intercession of St. Michael, the archangel,
be our protection in battle against all evil.
Help me [us] to overcome war and violence
and to establish your law of love and justice.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
Under Donald Trump our nation may be killing more civilians than our Russian adversaries.[i] This is important, aside from the tragedy of killing innocent people, it undermines our moral high ground. I cannot see Archangel St. Michael interceding in such actions. It also arms the enemy with propaganda.
It minimizes the sacrifices our sons and daughters are making every day. Their sweat, courage, valor, and in too many cases, long-lasting physical and psychological harm cannot be taken for granted. And that is if they are lucky.
Three troops passed away on foreign soil serving our country last month in Syria, Iraq, and Iraq (Al Anbar Province): Sgt. 1st class Robert Boniface, Staff Sgt. Austin Bieren, and PFC Brian Odiorne.
All three are listed as non-combat related by the military times.[ii] All three have died young in a foreign land. I felt it important to note the location. It should not be anonymous. They should not be anonymous. For them, their families, and loved ones it does not matter the designation. We owe them gratitude and support for the ultimate sacrifice. We owe them more than that as well. We have to understand and know what war is and why we are at war. And how we are fighting the war.
Our nation is ramping up war rhetoric on many fronts as we also limit our diplomacy, distance our allies, and create economic tensions that will only elevate the potential for war. I am not hearing a commander-in-chief stand before the American people and inform us of where we stand. I am not confident that he is attuned to or has the knowledge of military interventions and strategy necessary to do right by our country and by our troops. We must demand accountability in a bipartisan manner – not to divide – but to unite a country that is absent a leader.
What do we owe our soldiers? Their families? How do we honor them?
Where is the news and accountability for stewardship of our Armed Forces?
I do not want a country divided when it comes to supporting our troops. I do not want a single soldier sacrificed unnecessarily. When they do go to battle I hope people are actively praying for them and for the innocents in harm’s way. I cannot quite brig myself to pray for the terrorist propagating evil – but I can pray for would be terrorist to not be recruited and curret terrorist to seek a true spirituality not of their own making.
Vietnam was not all that long ago. A hallmark of Vietnam was not telling the American people the truth of what was happening on the ground. This non-transparent presidency, shrouded in mystery, hidden away behind a golf club wall and twitter account is not honoring our soldiers.
Sometimes we are left with only prayers:
For Hope in the Midst of Destruction
God of mercy,
you know the secrets of all human hearts,
for you know who is just and you forgive the repentant sinner.
Hear my prayer in the midst of destruction;
give me patience and hope,
so that under your protection and with you as my guide,
I may one day be reunited with my family and friends
in peace, tranquility, and love.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.[iii]
However, faith also demands action.
How can we maintain our humanity and spirituality in the midst of political chaos, world-wide proliferation of violence and war, and a nation succumbing to hatred and division? How do we be defenders of freedom without becoming villains of capitalism and self-interest? How do we not arm our enemies with yielding the moral high ground and losing our moral authority as a nation that stands for freedom and truth?
Our nation has been at war before our soldiers headed for the battlefield. We are at war within our own borders for justice, truth, and equality. We are at war to maintain democracy. And we are at war with international players all too willing to exploit our lack of leadership, antagonize and foster our divisions, and drain our resolve to be engaged in the world. America cannot afford to be disengaged from the world.
Demand the truth. Do not be misled by blind nationalism or rhetoric. Be patriotic by making sure our leaders are exercising prudence and due diligence when sending our sons and daughters to battle.
President Trump is battling to many demons, both real and imagined. We need leadership in the house, in the senate, in the press, in the military, in the pews, in our living rooms and neighborhoods to demand honesty and transparency from our government. Without it we will succumb.