War vs. reconciliation | AspenTimes.com

War vs. reconciliation

Dear Editor:End this war. Never mind Spin and Surge, our strategy in Iraq is now where, in order to save Iraq, we would have to destroy it! Hello, Dr. Strangelove, are you there? Uncounted thousands of Iraqis, U.S. and coalition soldiers dead or maimed, over 2,000,000 Iraqis displaced or in exile! U.S. credibility and moral standing are at an all-time low. President Bush’s pleas to end the genocide in Darfur are met with skepticism and derision. Our collective “can-do” American spirit has sunk into deep depression. To wit: our tawdry obsession with Paris Hilton, the massacre at Virginia Tech.Save for the unthinkable, there is no military solution to this Iraq disaster. Instead, to end this war and to begin the healing we must draw on the timeless wisdom found in all the great religious traditions of the world! Scriptures teach that there can be no reconciliation without forgiveness, no forgiveness without repentance!For Iraq’s and our own sakes we must: Declare an immediate end to the occupation of Iraq with U.S. and coalition troops presently in Iraq to stay temporarily as peacekeepers only. Urge the immediate formation of a U.N.-mandated multinational peacekeeping force, composed primarily of Muslim troops drawn from countries with major Muslim populations, e.g. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia. Issue an official and public apology to the Iraqi people and ask for their forgiveness for the grief and suffering inflicted as a result of our invasion and occupation. Commit to a thorough and long-term reconstruction and reparation program for Iraq to be paid for with funds freed up by the cessation of the war.Hard to do but what else? Let’s draw inspiration from the great reconcilers in history: Gandhi, Lincoln, Mandela and MLK.Gerry VanderBeekGlenwood Springs

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