A Prayer for Iraq

I have had difficult time rationalizing the United States going to war with Iraq. As a Christian and a student of history I have low expectations for the benefits of this proposed war. It is difficult to get a clear picture of the threat that Saddam poses to people in the United States. I am not afraid of the weapons of mass destruction that Saddam possesses because I live far, far away. I am bothered with the brutality Saddam has used on his own people so that he can maintain control. I may not like it but the rest of the world thinks Saddam's brutality to his people is okay. I don't believe that Saddam is a credible terrorist threat. I do believe that Osama dislikes Saddam almost as much as Osama dislikes the United States.

I am bothered by Saddam's attitude. I work with children and young horses and I have found that it is important to set boundaries and to "capture teachable moments". Teachable moments are those short periods of time when corrections have the greatest positive effect. When you set up suitable boundaries and enforce them, everyone is happy. By quickly penalizing bad behavior at the time of the infraction, you get the greatest positive change in behavior. Boundaries have been set up by the UN in the past to control Iraq's behavior. Like a little kid, Iraq has ignored these boundaries. Like the derelict parent, the UN has failed to enforce them. The best "teachable moments" have come and gone. Like the derelict parent who now realizes their mistake, the UN is in denial. They are scrambling to show the world that they have some control of the wayward child. Iraq is emboldened by his past successes at circumventing the boundaries. Like a child well trained in manipulating their parents, Iraq replays the old scripts that worked in the past. Saddam and Iraq are confident that they do not have to change anything. Regime change is the only tool left that can change their behavior. Whether we like it or not, the United States is the world's policeman. This policeman no longer believes that the UN can continue to be the "good parent" without a major change in this wayward child, a regime change in Iraq. Without a regime change I believe Saddam will gradually dismantle all existing boundaries. Saddam will eventually export the terror he practices on his own people to the rest of the world as the UN continues to look the other way. The other children, North Korea and Iran, have been watching closely. I believe there is still hope for them.

So I will pray for a short war. I will pray for a war with minimal casualties. I pray that the whole world will join in efforts to rebuild Iraq. I pray that the Iraqis will form a government that will not repeat Saddam's mistakes against his people and his neighbors. I pray that Iraq will one day forgive us.