From All Saints until Veterans Day, I’m posting a blog series on soldier saints at Centurions Guild. “Ten Saints, Ten Days” explores ten lives, their context, and their relevance to soldiers today. In the Bible, the number ten signifies completion and wholeness—something many soldiers today do not feel. The moral complexity of their service is too often brushed away with a quick “thank you” or an upgrade to first class. But soldiers’ experiences, their testimonies, are part and parcel to the integrity of the church—especially in this time of war.
A theologically credible account of war requires the voice of soldiers, the actual bodies that participate in it.
I lived my childhood
against the stained wallpaper of the Vietnam War. My children have lived theirs
against the gnawing realities of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it's
hard to believe that one of those wars is finally over.
So was the Iraq war worth it? Sixty percent of Americans say no. The claims that originally bolstered the resort to war—that Saddam Hussein's regime threatened the U.S. with weapons of mass destruction and was aligned with al-Qaeda terrorists—were discredited early in the war.
Part of the fabric of public life in America during the post–World War II years, perhaps the cross-stitch that held the symbolic boundaries in place, was anticommunism. Most mainline church editors were part of it.
Unmanned drones have become the weapon of choice in the Obama administration, which launched more drone attacks in nine months than the Bush administration did in three years. When it comes to attacking al-Qaeda, said CIA director Leon Panetta, drones are “the only game in town.”