Much of the year I spent on "hiatus" was in fact spent dealing with the "demons" that haunt me so fiercely. My various deployments to Iraq have indeed scarred me in deeper and more profound ways that that I can possible understand or explain. I cannot put out of my mind that I have killed, with my own hands and by my own actions in an unjust war.
I remember the Vietnam war only vaguely. When the last plane with American Soldiers left that country I was but seven years old. When I grew older I came to view those that protested the war as something worse than the scum that grows on the bottom of a tarp one might use to cover a swimming pool during winter.
I remember when the American Embassy in Tehran was taken and the "Desert One" mission failed. I wanted to go even though I was still a boy.
In 1979 I asked my mother to let me stay out of school so that I could go and hear a speech by Ronald Reagan. I actually got close enough to shake his hand. I was completely sold on the idea of standing against the "Evil Empire" In 1985, while still a junior in High School, I joined the Army National Guard and went that summer before my senior year to basic training. The Marines would not let me join at that young age so I took what I could get. I graduated and headed off the The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina. After that it was into the Marine Corps, a visit to Iraq, then Haiti.
In order for any of these excuses to soothe the conscience of the Christian
soldier, he must subscribe to what I have expressed elsewhere as state-sanctified
murder. This is the ghastly belief that the commandment "Thou shalt not
kill" (Exodus 20:13) does not apply to killing anyone in any war as long as the
U.S. government says that he should be killed. With his conscience thus
assuaged, the Christian soldier thinks that he will not have to answer to God at
the judgment as to why he killed some nameless raghead who did not want him
occupying his country.
Interesting point, I do not believe that God will judge a man too harshly for making the mistake of going to an unjust war and doing what must be done to survive, at least not if the mistake is only made once. I do wonder what sort of answer is required of someone that makes the mistake more than once.
I cannot say what I want to say better than Vance:
I appeal now to all Christians in the military: Just say "no" when it comes to
killing for the state. To all parents: Just say "no" when it comes to
encouraging your children to join the military. To all pastors: Just say "no" to
glorifying the military in your sermon illustrations. To all church youth
directors: Just say "no" when your young people seek guidance regarding joining
the military. To all school counselors: Just say "no" when it comes to the
military option. To all young people: Just say "no" to the recruiters who entice
you with cash bonuses. To all veterans: Just say "no" when it comes to
recommending a career in the military. And to all voters: Just say "no" to
politicians who start wars.
Wars fought in defence of one's home or in the justifiable defence of an innocent are one thing. Wars of aggression based upon lies and deception; there is no justice, honor or morality in that.
Christian; war; Iraq