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A Time for Peace and a Time for War

We should never have gone into Iraq unprepared and under false pretenses. If we had waited for the inspectors to do their thing, if we had waited for the support staff to be in place to bring back electricity and water right away and to actually secure the country, the resistance would never have found fertile soil in which to grow.

The Talmud teaches, if you save one life, it is as if you have saved the world. Flip this lesson over and we learn that if you are responsible for the deaths of others, it is as if you have destroyed many whole worlds. According to Jewish law, there are times to take another’s life, but only in the defense of oneself or others.

From my point of view, President Bush is guilty of a great sin for which he will some day be called to account: the sin of hubris that has resulted in the death and injury of hundreds of soldiers and thousands of civilians. I would add to hubris, incompetence, for I wonder how many of our soldiers–the sons and daughters, spouses, and parents of the now-bereft–would still be alive if they had just been given adequate armament and adequate planning.


That said, I also have to admit that I do not believe we can merely pull out of Iraq. This is more than an issue of “you break it you fix it.” As a result of the Bush administration’s failures, Iraq has actually become what Bush initially misled us about: it has become the newest battleground in the war on terror.

Israel has been fighting that war for a long time, not necessarily successfully if we measure success by the elimination of terror. (Though the security barrier, for all its faults, has significantly reduced terror in Israel and saved lives as a result.) But I would argue that Israel’s failure to win the war on terrorism is largely due to the continued failure of will of the world community, which continues to provide both passive and active support for terrorist networks and their public faces.


What we learn from Jewish history is that evil, if unchecked, will continue to spread until it reaches a critical mass that envelops the known world. The Talmud discusses a town that is threatened with destruction unless a certain person is handed over. The rabbis rule that the town is to stand fast rather than give in to such threats, even if it means the destruction of the town, so that tyranny (we can substitute here terrorism) would not spread through the world. At this point, pulling out of Iraq would just allow the cancer of terrorism to spread.

Among our most repeated prayers in Jewish liturgy are prayers for peace. Yet, the Book of Eccelesiates writes: “There is a …time for war and a time for peace.”

Sometimes war is a necessary prelude to peace. If we back away now, in the face of the terrorism in Iraq, we will merely be opening the gate for terrorism to continue to spread in ways we may not even be able to imagine. But we need to fight this war in wiser ways than this administration has shown itself capable of.

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posted March 24, 2006 at 8:20 pm

Dear Sirs: And there is defintiely a time to behave ethically,by admitting you made a huge mess,and getting out before more people,on both sides,are hurt or killed. The problem is,no one wants to admit that they screwed it all up,by making this war,and looking like a fool.This continuance is going on,because of Pride. We are too afraid of looking liking fools,(which we are,)so we keep making a bigger and bigger mess.Well,you know what they say about Pride.And our administration has got way too much of that. They are very unethically going to kill us all with it.

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posted March 25, 2006 at 1:05 pm

the terror is Bush and should be treated as such..

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Francis D Martel

posted March 25, 2006 at 10:14 pm

I think that the war in Iraq is a waste of american resources. I hear the speaches from the so called presidient and listen to all of the stories that there were weapons of mass distruction and there were none. It makes me laugh that there was more concern in fighting the war over there while catrina killed so many and devistated thousands of others and where was the swift hand of the government to there own the americans. I think that there are too many old politicians in government with there own agendas and not enough concern about the people that they are there to look out for. America needs a new white house from the chief of staff to the presidient. My brother was there for a year along with some others that perished there , how many moore lives will be lossed because the presidient realises that enough is enough. He keeps saying that there will be losses.

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Lee Longchamp

posted March 26, 2006 at 12:42 am

Jews have the most to gain from our victory in Iraq and they should unconditionally support the US mission. the reason is simple, if we had not intervened the Jews in Israel would be pushed into the sea by now and the land would be awash in blood. Thank God that the US has the courage and the capacity to remove the scourge of radical Islam from the face of the earth. God Bless America

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Alan Levine

posted April 6, 2006 at 1:54 am

I do believe that an important step to discovering the solution would be a return to a military draft as opposed to the all volunteer military we have now. The current administration and the Congress who abdicated their responsibility to this President are currently utilizing an all volunteer military to suit their political agendas with little or no accountability to the American people because the people are disengaged and disaffected for the most part from the actions in Iraq. A draft would make the government accountable to All the American people in matters of war.

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