Charles De Gaulle once said that politics is far too serious to be left in the hands of politicians. I agree!
The politicians in Washington are painfully divided over what should be done about the war in Iraq. The Republicans talk about “staying the course,” which our nation can ill afford. The Democrats, on the other hand, propose a “cut and run” policy, and everyone knows that this would leave a vacuum to be filled with the chaos of all-out civil war. But some of us in the religious community propose a third option, which we believe could get America out of Iraq without leaving a total mess behind. Our plan has three parts.
First, we propose that American and British troops be replaced by an international police force composed of those who better understand the Iraqi culture. Leaders in Saudi Arabia proposed such a solution almost three years ago. Americans and Brits are not only devoid of any grasp of the language and the religion of the Iraqi people, but are defined by many Muslims as a Christian army that has invaded a sacred Islamic land. Our army’s presence is perceived by many in the Muslim world as a rebirth of the medieval crusades.
Second, we propose that the United States appropriate $50 billion to rebuild the towns and cities that the invasion of Iraq has left in shambles. This would be a small price to pay, considering the $2 billion we are presently spending every week in order to keep this war going.
Third, we propose that our president go before the United Nations and ask the world to forgive America for what we have done to Iraq, and how we have set back efforts for world peace. He should point out that he is asking forgiveness on behalf of almost all Americans – because we overwhelmingly lent support to the invasion of Iraq some four years ago. He should further point out that our original intentions were good! We Americans were told that we were invading in order to remove the threat of what we thought were Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
Repentance of this kind is necessary because we need to re-establish our moral standing in the world, and confessing wrongdoing is a start for doing that. It is not weakness to admit that we did wrong, especially when the whole world knows that we did. Now is the time for us to live out that verse from 2 Chronicles 7:14, which reads:
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
If you are willing to support this proposal, go to www.tikkun.org/iraqpeace. You will find an expanded version of this proposal there, along with an opportunity to sign on with us. Do it now, because time is short and the days are filled with evil (Ephesians 5:16).
Tony Campolo is founder of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education (EAPE) and Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Eastern University.