Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

War in Iraq

Written by Rev. H.A. Bergsma
As the missiles are targeting military installations in and around Baghdad by way of a ÒShock and AweÓ campaign at the moment of this writing, my heart goes out to the common Iraqi people who are innocent of the regime atrocities of Saddam Hussein. May AmericaÕs missile precision be flawless and keep the innocent from harm. To all appearances SaddamÕs reign will soon be finished, and not a day too soon. As the war is in progress, a few things touch me as I see the drama unfold. As the Seventh Cavalry Armoured Division raced through the desert of southern Iraq to spearhead the attack on Baghdad, the whole Division, including the four Apache helicopters, stopped to tank fuel. They happened to stop nearby a single Bedouin settlement. A flock of goats could be detected nearby the tent, a shepherd walking about, and at least one donkey decided to take a curious close look at one of the tanks. Two thoughts struck me. First, these Bedouins live much like Abraham lived some four thousand years ago. What would Abraham have thought of such an armoured division racing past his tents? My second thought was: history has it on record that there have been ruthless and cruel armies in the past that would have decimated this little settlement, slaughtered the goats, killed the shepherd and finished off the donkey. The Seventh Cavalry Armoured Division may go on record to be happily different; they kept a respectful distance of the Bedouins and even allowed a curious donkey to do its thing. May all the men and women of the Seventh Cavalry be able to do their task and return home safely!

There was another instance that drew my respect for the U.S forces. My heart was moved for the Iraqi man on his knees in the middle of a road, holding a white flag of surrender and being approached by a U.S marine. The marine, obviously with a cameraman close behind him, stepped carefully towards the man on his knees, handed him a card and received a humble and respectful nod from the one on his knees. This man and his companion next to him saved their lives by surrendering. They surrendered to someone whom they could trust to respect the code of conduct for armed conflict. To all appearances they were treated well, no doubt will be treated well, and we hope and pray that a new life may have begun for them out of the clutches of SaddamÕs regime. Again, I have the profoundest respect for the men and women who heeded the call to liberate Iraq.

At the same time, having expressed my respect for those liberators of Iraq, I pray that the United States will not forget a small segment of the Iraqi population: the Christians. We have reason to believe that the suffering of the Christians in Iraq may increase, as the following report from ÒCrosswalkÓ will show. ÒAs a U.S.-led war to topple Iraqi President Saddam Hussein begins, Iraq's small Christian minority fears more than American bombs. They expect to be targeted by a growing tide of Islamic militancy now being encouraged in the secularized Arab state. Numbering less than 400,000, IraqÕs Christian community has in recent months become the object of overt discrimination by Muslim elements. The attacks have ranged from verbal abuse and graffiti campaigns to stone-throwing and even brutal assassinations. Over the past few weeks, anti-Christian rhetoric has dominated Friday-prayer sermons in BaghdadÕs mosques. Although Saddam Hussein initially kept religion out of Iraq's political life, he began to encourage devotion to Islam after the 1991 Gulf War. Four years ago he launched a Ôfaith campaignÕ to promote a revival of Islam, building scores of new mosques and religious schools across the country.Ó

Let me make a few concluding remarks: please pray for the Iraqi Christians; please pray for a quick end and collapse of SaddamÕs regime and an end to the war; please pray for the safe return of the men and women in action, and thank God for the civility shown by the men and women of the United States of America while at war. May God bless America!

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