We gathered again in Lafayette Park on Sunday to witness once more for peace. About 50 of us stood in a chill wind in the fading light and prayed and sang and recited the names of those Americans who have died in the weeks since our most recent witness in February.
It was Palm Sunday, and we recalled Jesus' response to the powers when they told him to shut up and keep his followers quiet, too. He said, "fine, but if we're quiet, the rocks will cry out loud." So we placed rocks at the gates of the White House to bear witness there in our absence and in the silence of so much of the broader church in the face of a war which condemns us all.
Five years in, and we remain up to our necks in the big sandbox, and the damn fool says push on.
Five years ago it was clear that the risks of attacking and occupying a country at the heart of the Arab world outweighed the risks of isolating and containing that country. Today that instability threatens to spill over in Iran and Turkey, oil prices top $100 per barrel and Osama remains out there somewhere releasing hate-filled videos and encouraging the desperate and fanatical. The war to bring peace, as President Bush called it five years ago, has turned into an occupation without end.
Five years ago it was clear that the war would divide this nation, and now we are more deeply divided than at any time since the end of Vietnam. On top of that, we are more isolated now from the rest of the world than at any point in my lifetime, and probably that of my parents as well going back 80 years.
Five years ago it was clear that the world’s desire for peace ought to balance the American empire’s desire for domination.
Five years ago it was clear that the greatness of a nation is not measured solely by its accomplishments. The moral greatness of a nation is measured by the means it employs to accomplish its purposes. History will judge us according to the death and destruction that we have rained down on Iraq.
The saddest part of it all is that none of this comes as any surprise. Indeed, I wrote most of this in the future tense five years ago. Sigh.