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Coming to grips with the Iraq War

Terry Fitzgimmons | Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ten years ago this week, the United States invaded Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died. Even though combat operations have officially ended, violence and a de facto occupation continue. Meanwhile, thousands of United States service members have died. Many more have been wounded – physically and psychologically. Suicide is an epidemic among veteran ranks. Working class and lower-income families in the United States bear a disproportionate weight of this suffering because their sons and daughters disproportionately fight our wars for us.
The rest of us, for the most part, have been so removed from the war that we have been asleep. Distance is nice, admittedly, but it is a luxury that allows us to go on with our lives without second – or first – thought. Furthermore, distance can anesthetize us to the next war.
What better time to wake up than in this 2013 Lenten season? What better time to come to grips with the legacy of the Iraq War than now, 10 years on? Or at least to give it mention in our daily discourse and in our houses of worship. Next week, when we recall the passion and death of Jesus – himself occupied by a foreign power – let us not forget the crucified peoples of today who have borne the brunt of this war: Both Iraqi and American, but the majority of them poor. Let us not miss an opportunity to repent for our abdication to the war 10 years ago and our distraction from it since. Peace and resurrection are more than possible, but they are not cheap.