Today marks the 4th anniversary of President George W. Bush’s declaration that major combat operations had ended in Iraq under a banner that read “Mission Accomplished.” A more realistic slogan for the president’s banner would have been “Wishful Thinking.”
Today The Washington Post reported:
The deaths of more than 100 American troops in April made it the deadliest month so far this year for U.S. forces in Iraq, underscoring the growing exposure of Americans as thousands of reinforcements arrive for an 11-week-old offensive to tame sectarian violence.
Over 3,300 Americans have now been killed in Iraq and as many as 600,000 civilians have lost their lives.
National Public Radio reports today that the armed forces have to accept higher numbers of high school drop outs and ex-cons to meet recruiting goals.
The United States Congress will present legislation today to the president that requires the U.S. to start a withdrawal from Iraq by October 1. The president (whose popularity has fallen to as low as 28% in recent polls) has promised to veto the legislation.
Religious leaders across the globe have been calling on the U.S. to leave Iraq.
The Rev. Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches USA, said this spring:
Leaders from Christian churches and other faith traditions sought peaceful solutions before the March 19, 2003 invasion. A delegation went to Iraq in December 2002. They met with government officials and prayed with Iraqi Christians.
At the same time 46 religious leaders, many from the member communions of the National Council of Churches USA (NCC), representing millions of faithful Americans, sought a meeting with President Bush to discuss the threat of war. Exactly two weeks before the invasion a letter from the White House stated the president's schedule would not permit such a meeting.
The leaders of nearly every major religious body in the U.S. had spoken out against the Iraq war. The NCC delegation called such a preemptive war, immoral, illegal and theologically illegitimate.
It is the life and ministry of Jesus Christ that prompted our stand then and compels us now to reiterate the continued prosecution of this war is immoral. It should be ended as quickly as possible. Our troops should be brought home and cared for in decent military hospitals to repair their broken bodies and damaged minds.
Our churches will offer our returned soldiers safe places to soothe their souls. Our churches will offer millions of dollars to relief agencies to help rebuild Iraq and comfort the innocent victims of a war they did not ask for. Our churches will continue to pray for peace. And we will pray for forgiveness and seek repentance for our nation for the unnecessary deaths and destruction caused to God’s family.
Pray for our country to have the wisdom to end the occupation of Iraq and pray for the world to have the wisdom to seek peace in the wake of so much destruction and death that has been caused by terrorists and nation-states alike. Lord have mercy.