Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Haditha Massacre

On November 19, 2005, when the Marines from Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, killed unarmed civilians in Haditha, Iraq, we lost the lives of 24 precious images of God. What is more, we suffered the wounds of the numerous souls of the ones who deliberately killed them. We mourn both of these losses.

The men who actually pulled the triggers that ended the lives of these innocent civilians must ask for forgiveness from God for their heinous crimes. We pray that they do.

At the same time, we must not exonerate others of this massacre - those who have trained these men to kill on command, those who have sent these men for their third tour in Iraq to kill on command, and those who have celebrated U.S. victories won by the soldiers who have killed on command.

Lt Col. Dave Grossman, in his book On Killing, quoted a Vietnam veteran on the My Lai massacre, which he said was carried out by "ordinary, basically decent American soldiers": "You put those same kids in he jungle for a while, get them real scared, deprive them of sleep, and let a few incidents change some of their fears to hate....Kill, rape, and steal is the name of the game."

We all share some of the responsibilty for this murder, and must ask forgiveness for not stopping it. As Paul wrote, "When one member suffers, all the members suffer with it" (1 Cor 12:26). We are suffering.

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