Published by Political Grind - August 20, 2007
"Who would Jesus bomb?" My neighbor's bumper sticker poses this loaded question or, more precisely, issues this provocative challenge. It is, of course, meant as an admonishment, an indictment aimed at those of us who supported the war in Iraq, those of us who, after decades of not responding to the escalating Islamic terrorists attacks against us, finally, after the horrors of 9/11, said, enough is enough and decided to fight back. Its obvious purpose is to shame us, to demonstrate how, once again, we are on the wrong side of the moral equation. Not only are we immoral, they tell us, but we are also sacrilegious.
There are, however, a few problems with this equation. In the first place, we're not bombing anyone. The vision that this conjures up is of squadrons of American B-52s carpet-bombing the poor people of Iraq into submission. The truth of the matter is that the vast majority of bombs that are being used in this conflict are those ubiquitous, cheap but effective IEDs, the jihadists' favored weapon of choice. And these deadly homemade (or increasingly Iranian-made) bombs are being used daily against us and our allies and innocent Iraqi civilians.
Of course, they say, if we had not gone into Iraq in the first place, none of this would be happening. Let's consider this argument for a moment. If we had not invaded Iraq, if we had succeeded in confining the war to Afghanistan, can anyone seriously doubt that the mujahideen would be coming in droves to Afghanistan to wage jihad against us there, just as they came there to fight the U.S.S.R. in the 1980s? We would be the same infidels fighting the same jihadists, for the same reasons, only we'd be fighting them on different soil. And, incidentally, Saddam Hussein would still be adding to his arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, ruthlessly murdering his own people and threatening his neighbors.
However, this still leaves us with that disarming bumper sticker question. And although of course its highly speculative, the answer must surely be that Jesus wouldn't bomb anybody. Indeed, if he followed precedent, he would allow himself to be captured by the enemy, imprisoned, tortured and finally executed. He would do this because that is his role; his divinely ordained role was, after all, to become a martyr, history's preeminent martyr. But should this be our role? Are we all preordained to be martyrs? I don't think so. There are many lessons to be learned from the example of the life of Christ; however, lessons on how to conduct a successful war may not be among them.
Perhaps the question should be reframed. How about, "Who would Muhammad bomb?" Muhammad was, after all, a consummate warrior who was in the business of making martyrs, not becoming one himself. Here, the answer seems pretty obvious; all you have to do is read the Koran. Muhammad would bomb the infidel which, of course, is you and me. He would do this because that is his divinely ordained role.
Whether we like the idea or not, we must face up to the fact that we are presently at war and we cannot allow ourselves to be made to feel guilty for defending ourselves against a murderous enemy obsessed with our destruction.