I keep thinking about Lazarus and the rich man today. You know the story...the rich man asked to have Lazarus sent back into the world of the living to give his brothers a message. President Gerald Ford's interview from 2004, embargoed until after his death, seems like a voice from the grave today. "Rumsfeld and Cheney and the president made a big mistake in justifying going into he war in Iraq." Not just criticism of the current president, a spanking of his former staff members. I understand why he didn't want to openly criticize the current president. Past presidents don't usually do such a thing.
Meanwhile, John Edwards announces his second bid for the american presidency and says openly again that he regrets his vote "for" the Iraqi invasion. There he stands, a rich man among those living in poverty and destruction, giving a boring, rambling speech that had real substance but was so boring that CNN cut away from the live broadcast. He's trying to use You Tube, podcasting, streaming video.... and he's about as exiting as a plastic bag. God help us if this is the best we've got. Can this good-looking man rise from the ashes of the Kerry campaign to lead a country out of war?
I wonder when we who call ourselves Christian are going to finally stand up and be counted on the subject of war.... all war. And yes, particularly, starting a war where none exists, invading a sovereign country. I ran across the video tape I made of then Secretary of State Colin Powell's presentation to the United Nations laying out the unequivocal PROOF that weapons of mass destruction not only exist but would be used shortly. I remember how I felt that day. I remember thinking "If this is true, we have no choice." And I also remember thinking, "I'm going to regret this because I KNOW war is wrong."
Now don't start on me. I would have fought Hitler. No question. And I don't think I would have been willing to stand idly by while he pulverized Britain for months either. Somehow, defensive response has been convoluted with blatant attacks on someone who might be a threat sometime in the future. How did we get to this point?
So now the idea is the US will send in more troops so that they can WIN in Iraq. But success is not identified. All we are told is that we must succeed. If we went to get Saddam, all news media indicates his execution may be carried out before the calendar turns over to 2007. My great fear is that the video of his hanging will replay over and over just as the last plane hitting the WTC played a hundred times a day. Meanwhile the architect of the attacks on the US remains free, eluding all efforts to capture him.
And James Brown lies in state at the Apollo. The "Hardest Working Man in Show Bidness" finally gets a rest. Those who loved him solomnly walk by his open coffin to pay their respects to a man who made them "feel good." I heard it said this morning that James Brown was the black Elvis Presley. Who are they kidding. Elvis was the white James Brown.
When the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was murdered in Memphis it was the voice of James Brown that pleaded with those writhing in pain not to unleash their grief in the form of violence and rioting. It makes me wonder what the world would be like if we had heard a message like this after 911. What if there had been a voice in the wilderness saying, "We're in pain, this is horrible. But we must feel our pain and try to understand how this could happen and figure out a way forward." Instead we heard, "... and the people who knocked down these buildings will hear from all of us soon." What might have happened if we and the world had mourned and felt our grief rather than avoiding it. What if we had worked as hard to make peace as we have to wage war? What if we had spent as much money on literacy and food and medicine as we have on weapons?
War, huh, yeah
What is it good for