Is it good that Saddam Hussein is out of power? Yes. Was war the best way to accomplish this goal? No.
I recently received an email from FOR-USA* with an analysis of the Iraq War. Here’s most of what it said (it was also a fundraising email, so I’ve deleted some of it’s content).
In a nutshell, this is where we are:
The U.S. presence in Iraq is still overbearing even with the troop reduction from 165,000 to 50,000. As one news correspondent reported, a service person indicated there really is no difference between an advisor and a combatant.
The U.S. military’s overthrow of the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein did not lead to a better life for Iraqis — just the opposite.
Life expectancy for Iraqis fell from 71 years in 1996 to 67 years in 2007 due to the war and destruction of the healthcare system.
The majority of the refugees and internally displaced persons created by the US intervention have been abandoned.
Iraq still does not have a functioning government.
The Iraq War has left a terrible toll on the U.S. troops with more than one million American service members deployed, over 4,400 have been killed and tens of thousands severely injured. More than one in four U.S. troops have come home from the Iraq war with health problems that require medical or mental health treatment. PTSD rates in the military have skyrocketed. In 2009, a record number of 245 soldiers committed suicide.
The war has drained our treasury with over spent $750 billion on the Iraq War effort. This misappropriation of funds has contributed to the economic crises and left us without the funds needed for our schools, healthcare, infrastructure and a jobs program that are clean, green.
The U.S. officials who got us into this disastrous war on the basis of lies have not been held accountable.
The U.S. Department of Defense has been unable to account for $8.7 billion of Iraqi oil and gas money meant for humanitarian needs and reconstruction.
The war has not made us more secure — just the opposite.
The email goes on to call for action:
Given this, please join me in calling on the President Obama and his Administration and on the Congress to take the following actions:
- Withdrawal of all U.S. troops and military contractors from Iraq and the closing of all U.S. bases;
- Reparations to help the Iraqis repair their basic infrastructure and increased funds for the millions of internally and externally displaced Iraqis;
- Full support for the U.S. troops who suffer from the internal and external wounds of war;
- Prosecution of those officials responsible for dragging our country into this disaster;
- Transfer the funds used for war into resources to rebuild America, with a focus on green jobs.
- The lessons of this disastrous intervention should also act as an impetus for Congress and the administration to end the war in Afghanistan. It’s time to focus on defending ourselves here at home and rebuilding America.
I invite you to also consider this personal conclusion. Violence will not save us. War will not save us. The deep, abiding love of God (that I believe has been revealed in Jesus) lived out in our relationships is what will save us.
We, as a nation, as the most powerful nation on the planet, need to find another way to bring peace and justice to more and more people. War is never then answer.
*The Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) is an organization has a long history of working for peace and justice. Started by a promise shared by English Quaker and a German Lutheran at the outbreak of World War I, FOR was born in December 1914 in Cambridge, England. The FOR-USA was founded one year later, in 1915.
The mission of FOR is, “to replace violence, war, racism and economic injustice with nonviolence, peace, and justice. We are an interfaith organization committed to active nonviolence as a transforming way of life and as a means of radical change. We educate, train, build coalitions, and engage in nonviolent and compassionate actions locally, nationally, and globally.”