I finally read the president's speech last night commemorating 9/11.
You would have hoped that Bush would have used the speech to rally the country together but instead he used the speech to defend his indefensible policies in Iraq.
Edward Kennedy offered the best reaction:
"The President should be ashamed of using a national day of mourning to commandeer the airwaves to give a speech that was designed not to unite the country and commemorate the fallen but to seek support for a war in Iraq that he has admitted had "nothing" to do with 9/11. There will be time to debate this President's policies in Iraq. September 11th is not that time."
But unfortunately the president keeps trying to link Iraq with 9/11 - even when all the evidence shows otherwise.
I have nothing new to add to the debate over Iraq today but will repeat here what I said in my sermon this past Sunday:
Did you know that somewhere around 40,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the U.S. invasion? And that over 2,500 Americans have died there? We were told at the time that Iraq was involved with 9/11 and that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and if we did not invade we would be inviting another terrorist attack. We know all that now to be false. At the time the Vatican and the World Council of Churches implored the United States and Britain not to invade Iraq. Christian religious leaders have been nearly united in opposing the Iraq war. But even now when confronted with evidence that our government invaded based on lies and false information our leaders refuse to change course.
Before we spent too much time attacking our leaders for the path they took it is worth remembering that our response to 9/11 may have been the most human response possible: we sought vengeance and struck out wherever we could.
We thought of our enemies as people separated from God's love - much as Jesus seemed to do when he called that woman no better than a dog.
The result has been to create a world more dangerous.
We have to ask ourselves now how long we will continue to allow vengeance to rule our world. The terrorists wanted war and chaos. The terrorists wanted Christians and Jews and Muslims to be separated from one another. The terrorists wanted us to think of one another as no better than dogs - to be people separated from God. Unless we allow ourselves as Jesus did to repent and be transformed the terrorists will have won the day. If we truly believe that we are all God's children we cannot let this war go on. If we truly believe that we are called by God to be peacemakers we need to address the inequities that divide the rich world from the poor world and we must address the conditions that help allow terrorism and war to foster.
God is still calling us to seek peace.
Someone needs to tell the president.