Sunday, January 16, 2022

The search for the truth and meaning of U.S. wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq

The violent collapse of our two-decade mission in Afghanistan has made it clear to me that the Church needs to recover a theology of sin and penitential practice capable of accounting for the trauma of war. P. 17, War and Penance by Philip G. Porter, Commonweal, Jan. 2022

In many parts of the world, President George W. Bush, and -President Richard Cheney are considered war criminals for the prosecution of the wars by the U.S. in Afghanistan and Iraq.

There were no weapons of mass destruction which was the pretext supposedly justifying U.S, promulgation of war in Iraq. The war in Afghanistan was to root out Al Qaeda terrorist training camps and does not meet the criteria of just war action: last resort, probability of success, and proportionality.

The U.S. has now withdrawn from Afghanistan as it did from Vietnam with the legacy of sin on its conscience. How has society and the Church dealt with these sins? Denial, minimization, rationalization, and repression.

Is it time for an examination of consciences both individually and collectively?

Unitarian Universalists join together to affirm and promote justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. Further, we affirm and promote supposedly the goal of world community with  peace, liberty, and justice for all.

And what has happened with our Unitarian Universalist covenant in acting on our principles when it comes to these wars? Nothing. The silence is deafening. Perhaps it is time to create a truth commission to examine what we, as Americans, have done in other countries, and generate ideas for changes in our society so that these kinds of wars never happen again.

How can we be forgiven if we cannot even name the sin?

Unitarian Universalists covenant together to affirm and promote the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. Let us intentionally search for the truth and meaning of our collective war making.

This is the first article in a series on the sin of war.

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