The Political Page

April 2003

 

 

He makes wars cease to the ends of the Earth

Psalm 46: 10

 

1. Information (Stand 23.03.2003)

 

The war has begun in Iraq.  Grounds for the war are:

·       Disarming Iraq of all weapons of mass destruction and carrier weapons.

·       Removal of Saddam Hussein from office (per exile or coup)

·       Liberation of the Iraqi people from dictatorship followed by the introduction of a democracy

·       There are varying opinions on control of the Iraqi oil fields as a reason for war since the Americans have not  said anything against internationalisation after the war.

 

(1) Disarmament

Up to the last minute, the hope was that Iraq would really cooperate with the UN inspectors. As the Soviet republics began to trash their rocket arsenal, there was real disclosure and cooperation.  What happened was, however, deliberate deception through supposed success of the inspectors while the actual weapons arsenal was never shown.   Whether the UN inspectors should have been given more time is and remains an open question.  Whether they were stalled by Saddam Hussein is not, however, an open question.

 

(2) Removal of Saddam Hussein

Early on, several countries smoothed the way for his exile, which he refused to the last.  A coup is hard to imagine since Saddam has surrounded himself only with family and clan members in all leading staff positions.  Saddam Hussein’s death could be easily covered up by his doubles.  Indeed, it is not only about simply removing Saddam, but absolutely about removing the whole political clique around him.

 

(3) Liberation of the people: internal political view

Here lies the main thrust of the argument for the American.  To be fair, one must state that Saddam consciously supported secular Islam in Iraq.  His deputy, T. Assis, is Christian.  Thus, the Iraq serves as a kind of bulwark against Islamic Fundamentalism.

 

Still, Saddam is a dictator and he and his security apparatus have to answer for the lives of around 1 million people.  Six million Iraqis who live in exile have relatives in Iraq, but want war so that their country can be freed from the terrible regime.

 

Experts estimate that not more than 10-15% of the population really stand behind their leader. The others hate him but also fear him and are silent.  President Bush has told the Iraqi people, “We will help you get rid of the regime.”.

 

Because no one - including anti-war groups - doubt that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction and, based on experience, is a real threat to  the world community in the future, this war can be seen as preventive and thus, according to international law, legitimate.

 

Because the world community only knows the use of Blue Helmet soldiers to secure peace but not to impose UN demands, in such cases as now in Iraq in confronting a dictator, it is virtually dependent on the intervention of military powers.

 

The problem is then not the so-called robust use of the military, but rather the fact that this action occurred against the stated will of the UN.  Then comes the legal question as to whether or not this was in violation of human rights.

 

The USA points to the first resolution 1441 which in case of non-cooperation from Iraq, threatens “serious consequences”.  Their standpoint is that the cooperation shown was in fact more a delaying tactic than working together and that “serious consequences” includes war.  The opposition sees the cooperation as successful and does not consider the situation serious enough for such consequences.

 

One can only hope for a quick end to the war through a quick end of the regime.  This is also what the neighboring Arab states are hoping for since they must fear revolt of their people in case of a long war.

 

It is not possible to predict results of the war:

·       an extensive fire in the Islamic world, that is, an Islamic Jihad against the West is not likely, based on the present lack of unity among the Arab countries.

·       It is not clear, however, what will happen in Iraq after the war and if it is possible to establish democracy in such a greatly differentiated society.

·       It is also hard to estimate how the outrage in the UN as well as the poisoned atmosphere by NATO and the EU can be put right and healed.

·       It also remains to be seen whether the USA will continue to act on a new international law, the law of the strongest, much to the detriment of the UN, or if it will return to play by rules of the UN.

·       Thus the future image of the USA in the world is at stake - it needs allies.

·       What will happen after the war: will the USA turn its attention to other “”rogue states”  such as North Korea, Syria or Iran?

·       The outcome of the war will decide Bush’s next period of office.

 

In Berlin, the Germans have for months been the core of the resistance against the war on Iraq. ”No, even if the UNO agrees” stated Schröder, positioning himself like Bush outside the UN but at the opposite pole.   Chirac and Putin later changed to a well thought-through “No”.

 

Schröder, knowing he had the backing of 70% of all Germans, called the decision to go to war a “wrong decision”.  By deepening the gulf between Germany and the USA, he placed doubt on the most important  pillar of German foreign politics since the end of the war.

 

2. Background

 

2.1. The idea of a war of cultures in connection with the war crops up repeatedly.

 

2.2. The tension between the New World and Old Europe has also been pointed out:

there, a conscious outing of Christianity that combines faith and politics; here, a consciously secular continent that keeps faith and politics separate.

 

2.3. This war is different.  The Afghanistan-Campaign happened under the shock of  9.11.

In the Balkans, the NATO carried the responsibility.  In the case of Irag, however, the USA bears the burden of initiating military action - admittedly quite “Rambo”-like and hegemonial - and the immediate result is anti-Americanism of the level during the Vietnam war but a generation later.

 

2.4. We cannot beg God for a solution to the Iraqi conflict and then stipulate that He must do it without war if He wants to be considered “Christian”.

 

2.5. The Kuwait ambassador said it is possible that this war must be fought to avoid an even bigger one in the region (Israel!) by an unpredictable dictator.

 

 

 

2.6.  War is terrible, especially close-up.  There is no “clean war”.  War is always destruction, suffering, fear and pain.  War is not a TV-Special or a computer game; it is rather fear for your life, for the children, the fathers, the sons.  War is always about hate, killing and “brother Abel” loses his human dignity.  The world is different after every war - the personal and the world in general.  This must be kept in mind.

 

3. Prayer

 

3.1. Worship with Psalm 46: 8-10

            “Come and see the works of the Lord,

            the desolation he has brought on the earth.

            He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;

            he breaks the bow and shatters the spear,

            he burns the shields with fire.

            Be still, and know that I am God;”

 

3.2. Proclamation

Christians do not stand left or right, they stand above.   We proclaim the name of the

Lord over the war and recognize that

·       He is also Lord  over all those who secretly pull strings in the background and over everyone who is openly in power.

·       He has everything in His hands, down to the last detail.

 

3.3. Intercession

We pray

·       that the war will somehow be shortened;

·       that  Saddam Hussein will soon be eliminated and the military activity can end;

·       that few soldiers and civilians will die or be crippled for life;

·       that there will be no uprising in the surrounding countries and no wildfire;

·       that there will not be too many refugees or displaced people;

·       that Christians in Moslem countries will not be persecuted even more because of the war;

·       for protection for all Americans and Jews in Germany, especially Ambassador Daniel Coats in Berlin;

·       for everyone who now has to make far-reaching decisions.

 

3.4. Lament

Lord, have mercy on

·       the wounded, those who mourn, the dead

·       the hungry, the desperate, the oppressed

·       the refugees and those who cannot flee

·       the suffering soldiers on both sides and the civilians

 

 

                                                                        Ortwin Schweitzer

      (translation: Evelyn Souan)