Many of those who were skeptical about the U.S. invasion of Iraq, including the editors of this magazine, worried that sweeping away the devil of Saddam Hussein would—as in the parable in Luke 11—make way for several other kinds of devils. The devils appear alive and well in Iraq.
It’s easy to define a lie: it is a statement the speaker knows is not true. Being truthful is more complex. As Bonhoeffer argued, character matters. A truth told by an untruthful person could be worse than a lie told by a truthful person. And context matters too. What, for example, is the truthful response to a murderer who shows up at your door in search of your friend whom he intends to murder?
The air is thick with politics. Reportedly some 60 different political groups have emerged here since the end of the war. Driving around Baghdad, one suddenly comes upon a building surrounded by men with guns. Groups are staking their postwar claims to the real estate. In one case, the soldiers turned out to be members of a Kurdish party.
The truck next to me at the stoplight had these words pasted across the back window: “I Have a Son in the Army.” There was no flag decal, no “I’m proud to have” in front of the words, just the fact. I imagined that this son was in Iraq, and that this father was thinking about him as he waited for the light to change.
The intellectuals and policymakers who want America to maintain its “unipolar” dominance in the world agreed that the U.S. needed to overthrow the Baathist regime in Iraq. For the most part, they emphasized the threat of Saddam’s (alleged) weapons of mass destruction and their own hope of transforming Middle East.
The claim that Saddam Hussein was linked to 9/11 was always fraudulent, but at least half of the American public believe that there is a connection. While the White House never made such a claim overtly, rhetoric leading to the invasion of Iraq always implied the connection, and was bolstered by the war cheerleading of conservative cable TV and print commentators.
A strange king is likely to have a strange kingdom, and the kingdom of Jesus is no exception. The kingdom of Christ is a multilateral community, marked by a deep mutual love and an ongoing push to ever greater love. Our difficulty is not in envisioning the image of community. Our trouble comes with the necessity of confronting those situations in which community is broken, or worse, in which human beings are attacking other human beings. What are the international implications of these readings?
The 24/7 news coverage of the Iraq war is often riveting television, but it is not necessarily good journalism. The journalists embedded with coalition forces can’t do what journalists usually do: make sure they get the story correct before they go with it, and set the facts in a larger context.
If good reporting can be judged by the enemies it makes, then al-Jazeera must be doing something right. The Arabic-language TV channel provoked rebukes from the U.S. government and military officials in the early days of “The War on Iraq” (al-Jazeera’s phrase) when it rebroadcast Iraqi footage of dead and captive U.S. soldiers.
Viewers watching the fourth day of the war on al-Jazeera television would have seen these items:
• When coalition sources were announcing the surrender of Iraq’s 51st Division and its commander, General Khalid al-Hashimi, al-Jazeera’s Basra correspondent was interviewing al-Hashimi, who said his troops were in Basra, defending the city.