For the past week, the news, on the web, TV, and newspaper, has been littered with reports of families being killed by Marines last November, and then of the cover up that followed. It's devasting news, but it's devasting for all sides. But we, the US armchair generals, don't have all the facts. We probably never will. This situation is not for us to judge. It's for us to pray about.
It is my best guess that the majority of the three people that read this blog, have not experienced a war much beyond having it stream live into our lives via CNN. A war that we can choose to tune into or not. We know there is a warm bed for us in the next room, we know we have foods of our choice, and we feel fairly confident that we will live to see our children grow into successful adults.
Being one of the many armchair generals, I suspect this is not so when you are engaged in a war. I've seen the pictures racing around the globe on the internet of men and women sleeping in holes in the ground, (or leaned up against truck tires), rags over their face to keep out the light and the dust. All their belongings in duffels at their feet or tucked under their head. This is not safe and sound. This is grulling and mentally and physically straining.
WMD be damned! These men and women are there because they believe they can make a positive difference, in the lives of the people in Iraq and in our lives safely tucked in here at home.
War is not clean. The enemy does not stand up, wave and say, "Here I am! Those people evacuated three miles to the north are not involved. You shot at me and I'll shot at you." And they are not all young healthy men dressed like the red coats of old and marching towards you on a deserted street.
Even though I was in elementary school I can still remember my folks sitting around the table talking about how a small Vietnamese child was crying in the middle of the road and when two soldiers went to his aid, the youngster shot and killed one and blew the leg off the other. Was it this child's fault? Of course not. That child had no idea if what he was doing was right or wrong. Or another time I heard on the news that soldiers heard a baby crying in what was suppose to be an abandoned home. When they went to investigate they discovered the child was wired with explosives. All died.
So now, in Iraq we have bombs that can be triggered remotely from a short distance. And everyday our soldiers are under fire, getting killed or wounded. Some times in clearly marked battle fields and some times on crowded market streets. Some times seeing the enemy some times not. Like in Vietnam, these people are not following the rules of engagement and don't care about who gets caught in the middle of fighting for their cause. Whether it be a grandfather, a baby, a pregnant mother, or our soldiers.
So before we all pass judgement and dam all involved to hell, let's remember, from the comfort of our warm homes, with stew simmering all this rainy day, that war is not black and white.