We posed this question to eight theologians: Suppose someone told you they haven’t been keeping up with theology for the past 25 years. Now they want to read the most important books in theology that were written during that time. What five titles would you suggest?
In May 2007 I was at a conference with Darius Rejali, the distinguished torture researcher and analyst. During a break, he turned to me and said, in reference to our own country, “You know, of course, that there are five steps which would bring torture to an end.” First, he said, the rules of interrogation must be clear. Where conflicting directives exist, as at Abu Ghraib, the situation is rife for abuse. Double standards cannot be tolerated. It is imperative that intelligence operatives of the CIA, for example, or the Navy SEALs be held to the high standards—without loopholes—that are required by the Army Field Manual.
Contrary to what most Americans believe, the United States is in deep trouble in Iraq, and its policies are adrift. Especially ominous are problems surrounding the plan for June 30 elections. If direct elections are held, the Shi‘ites, with 60 percent of the population, will prevail. If their representation is watered down by resort to closed caucuses, as the U.S.
The unfinished war in Iraq is the war that keeps on killing. Not least, it keeps on killing American troops. The death toll for American soldiers is steadily mounting. Last summer the Associated Press reported that attacks on U.S. forces were occurring “almost hourly—too frequent for military press officers to keep up with,” and the situation has not improved.
As I have listened to the discussions about Saddam Hussein and Iraq, some disturbing questions have arisen. As an ordinary citizen with no special expertise in foreign policy, I am unable to get to the bottom of them.
"Wars are not won on the defensive,” asserts Vice President Dick Cheney. “We must take the battle to the enemy and, where necessary, preempt grave threats to our country before they materialize.” For the Bush administration, this policy appears to include a preemptive strike against Iraq, which is viewed as another installment in its war against terrorism.
Support the Christian Century
The Century's work relies primarily on subscriptions and donations. Thank you for supporting nonprofit journalism.