Michael Brown protests in Ferguson met with rubber bullets and teargas
News commentators and pundits are all abuzz about growing sectarian violence and the rise of ISIS in Iraq and what we ‘should do’. For most it seems to be a foregone conclusion that we must do something military—even though more than ten years of our military solutions there have brought nothing but destruction and suffering. Still, we are so arrogant, so sure that we are right, that we have all the answers.
We might consider Martin Luther King Jr’s urging that we raise certain questions about our national character. One of them was this: “Why has our nation placed itself in the position of being God’s military agent on earth, and intervened recklessly in Vietnam and the Dominican Republic?”
Are we going now to expand upon our reckless intervention in Iraq? What can we expect this to accomplish? We seem not to have learned, in spite of an abundance of experience, that military solutions don’t solve anything, and that they certainly have not worked in Iraq. What, in the final analysis, have we accomplished aside from filling the pockets of the military and defense industries? Saddam Hussein may have been a brutal ruler, but one would be hard pressed to conclude that the people of Iraq are better off now than under his rule.
What we ‘should do’ is to step back and do some serious reflecting on the consequences of our interventions in Iraq and what responsibility we bear for what Iraq has become. Clearly, we do not have the qualifications to be God’s agent on earth—military or otherwise.
Born in Boston, Jennifer Yanco grew up in the Pacific Northwest and served four years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Central and West Africa. In 1999, she developed and taught an adult education course, “White People Challenging Racism: Moving from Talk to Action.”