War: And so it begins…

This cool, gray and damp morning – unusual for west Texas this time of the year – seemed fitting weather in which to contemplate the event that continues to unfold. War. It’s an ugly word, and Edwin Starr asked the right question in his Viet Nam-era song (no, kiddies, it wasn’t written at Jackie Chan’s request for Rush Hour). I don’t think he had the right answer, or at least not a complete one, but the question was and is legitimate.

God help us if we ever stop asking the question.

[As I went outside to hang my flag as a show of support for our troops and my country, I was conflicted in the strangest way. “Should I be putting the flag out in the drizzle? Is that proper?” I don’t know. I should know. I’m creating a website for the local Boy Scout Council; they all know the proper flag protocol, but I don’t. I decided that I would err on the side of patriotism, and hope that any unintended disrespect would be overlooked in light of our circumstances. But I will do some study.]

Doing the right thing is easy when everybody else tells you it’s the right thing to do. Doing the right thing when almost everyone else tells you just the opposite is quite difficult; it’s not for the faint of heart.

That’s the situation our country finds itself in today. We’re taking an assertive and proactive approach to solving a problem that hasn’t fully revealed itself. We’re addressing a situation enveloped by complexity and uncertainty, and doing so in a manner that we would applaud if we were to see it in a James Bond movie or read it in a Tom Clancy novel. In those instances, the protagonist always recognizes the evil and moves against it, even when no one else has a clue.

But how often do we have the courage and perception to do that in real life?

Inevitably, at the end of the movie or book, the real stakes are revealed and the agency/nation/world/society breathes a grateful sigh of relief that someone wasn’t duped. I’m not holding my breath for that outcome here, because in real life, people (and countries) continue to be incredibly shortsighted (or intentionally self-deluding). And, in real life, the outcomes are not always black and white.

This is not the war to end wars; there’s no such thing, and never will be as long as God allows our planet to continue to be inhabited by His creature, man. In theological terms, we live in a “fallen world” and conflict – man against man, man against God – is inevitable. But, perhaps – I pray – this is a war to prevent the one (or two or…?) that might have otherwise been on the calendar of the Cosmic PDA.

May God protect our troops; may our cause be just; may our demeanor be humble; and may God bless America.