I’m ashamed to say it, but the last time this happened I was not marching in peace rallies or launching off letters of outrage to editors and Congressmen. I was glued like most Americans to the TV screen watching my country perpetrate “shock and awe” against a people who had done us little wrong, while the media cheered and waved the flag in the corner of the screen. Hurray for the U.S.A.!
Well, it’s happening again. Both the President and the American media are ratcheting up the rhetoric and locking and loading over Iran’s recent missile tests. A threat to peace, we’re told, these enemies of mankind. Actually, Iran was merely doing what any self-respecting nation would do when it is threatened with attack: making a show of force, demonstrating that it can protect itself if provoked. Some nerve.
Don’t get me wrong. I am no fan of the repressive Iranian regime. I believe the Holocaust really happened. And I believe Israel has a right to exist. But if I had to choose which country was the greatest threat to peace in the region and the world, it would not be Iran. They haven’t invaded and occupied two neighboring countries. (We did. Ooops.) They haven’t bombed their neighbors killing thousands of women and children. (We did. So did Israel.) They are a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, with which they are currently in compliance. (Israel is not.) They are also within their rights under international law to pursue peaceful nuclear energy.
Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric against Israel is crazy. But that’s all it is, rhetoric. So far there is no firm evidence that Iran is preparing a nuclear missile system, so say the experts who have spent their lives studying the Middle East. So what’s the big deal? Hmmm. Where have we seen this before?
Let’s play devil’s advocate and pretend they are planning such a system. Why would they launch nuclear weapons at Israel, which has such a stockpile they could easily wipe Iran off the face of the earth? Talk about suicide bombers. And what if Iran did become a nuclear power? Having a little balance of power in the region would be good for peace. It might make bullies like the U.S. and its ally Israel think twice before launching another war. Think of it. It might actually save American lives and save the taxpayers billions.
It’s easier to understand how quickly we could forget Vietnam after 40 years. That’s a whole generation after all. But forgetting all that happened leading up to Iraq, all the lies and propaganda, after only a couple of years? That’s not forgetfulness; that’s Alzheimers. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Okay, church, now is our chance to get it right this time. To speak out with one voice and to pray, pray, pray that cooler heads will prevail in this conflict. A chance to show ourselves to be worthy of the name, servants of the Prince of peace. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Mt.5:9).