Won’t Get Fooled Again?
In March 2003 Tony Blair made a liar out of me.
I was leading a church in Surrey and we had great links with the local comprehensive school. They would call me in for pastoral care for some pupils, and I regularly did assemblies, too. They called me in after 9/11 – one of the children lost a family member when the twin towers went down.
So the head called me in as it was announced that we were going to invade Iraq and air strikes were beginning, because a lot of the kids were understandably scared, could I talk to them?
My problem was – what would I say?
I am not a political animal, but I had taken the time in one or two midweek prayer meetings around that time to indicate that I was very wary of Britain being part of the hastily dubbed coalition. I could not see how invading Iraq would have any connection to ‘The war on terror,’ or in fact how you could go to war against terror at all. Iraq was subject to heavy sanctions from the international community which independent sources confirmed were having the desire effect.
Then the government told us that the reason we were going to invade Iraq was that we had irrefutable evidence that Saddam had WMDs, pointing our way. If we didn’t disarm them, there was an immediate threat.
I am a person who trusts his leaders. It was inconceivable to me at the time that this would anything would be being ‘sexed up’ (remember that phrase?). Surely we would not attack a sovereign nation unless the action was a proportionate, legal and the last resort?
So that was what I told the kids in the school that afternoon;
We had to trust the government and pray for our leaders.
They were acting as peacemakers not warmongers.
They would only take action if every other resort had failed.
It was not about oil, money or western interests in the Middle East, but international justice and liberty.
I still get angry that I believed Mr. Blair, and told those kids that they should, too.
Now as I write, the news reports that the UK and US are once more readying to unleash some our own weapons that will cause mass destruction (I think that’s the point of weapons isn’t it?) on Syria as early as Thursday.
I support our troops 100% but I am personally praying that military action won’t happen.
I am praying a lot, and worrying quite a bit.
I’m praying because God can do something, and He answers prayer. And He never lies.
I am praying for my fellow believers who are undergoing terrible suffering in the Middle East.
I am praying for the people of Syria (and Egypt – hey, why don’t we throw some missiles over there too??)
I’m worried that there’s no end game (again), just the motivation to ‘do something.’
I’m worried that I don’t want Assad OR the rebels to ‘win’ and nobody even knows what a win looks like.
I’m worried by my own lack of trust in the government(s) to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and I’m praying that Mr Cameron will do so as further actions are considered.