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A Christian Defense of the War
in Iraq

Removing a dictator, introducing democracy, staying the course in difficult times--it's right, noble, and it's just.

As president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the 16 million-member Southern Baptist Convention, the Rev. Richard Land is one of the most influential moral voices on the conservative Christian scene. He spoke to Beliefnet's Holly Lebowitz Rossi about why, as a Christian, he supports the war in Iraq as much today as he did when it began 3 years ago.

 
Do you support President Bush and the war in Iraq as it stands now, 3 years after it began?

I do. I think that the progress in Iraq has been very encouraging. After all, we've had 3 elections in the past 15 months where the Iraqi people, braving threats of violence and intimidation and retribution, have come out and voted in larger numbers than we did in our presidential election, which isn't very flattering to us and our commitment to democracy, but does tend to underscore the Iraqis' commitment to democratic self-government and the understanding that their votes make a difference.

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Increasingly, the Iraqis are taking over the defense of their country. I'm told that about 60 percent of the country geographically has been turned over to the Iraqi army and police forces, and that by Labor Day, it'll be 80 percent. They are performing very well, and this is making a real difference. In the latest air assault [Operation Swarmer, in mid-March 2006], there were 1,500 troops—800 of them were Iraqis, and 700 of them were American paratroopers. The Iraqis give every indication of understanding what democratic self-government is, and understanding that they want it. I find it particularly intriguing, in light of public opinion in the United States, that the Iraqis, when they are polled, are more positive about their country's future than Americans are about their country, and certainly more than Americans are about Iraq.

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Richard Land
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