It’s all about the numbers:
- 4,100 Americans killed.
- 30,000 Americans wounded.
- $600 billion invested
- $130 per barrel
- $4 per gallon
I’m the last to assume the Iraq War has an easy fix. For some, staying costs more than leaving. For others, leaving costs more than staying. I have no idea. I’m thankful God has made me a citizen of another kingdom; therefore, my interests lie there. I want to draw attention to one of this war’s unwritten casualties.
We minister in the Ft. Hood region of Central Texas. Ft. Hood is the largest Army base in the world, occupying 340 square miles of Texas soil. It garrisons 45,000 active duty soldiers, about half of which are deployed at any given time. Most soldiers here are either on or preparing for their third and fourth deployments. Typically, a soldier is deployed (now) 15 months and home for a year. That means over the last six years, the typical soldier has spent upwards of four of them in Iraq/Afghanistan.
What is the unwritten casualty? The family. Politicians care about the numbers, but the church must care about the families.
I sat this week with yet another married soldier who, while deployed, succumbed to sexual temptation. While Washington debates dollars and cents, there is a far greater cost to this war. Army wives contemplate divorce from half-way across the world. Army “brats” suffer miserably broken homes. Soldiers feed pornography addictions and return home angry, confused men. Our local pregnancy center has even seen its fair share of lonely Army wives.
Fifteen months is a long time and Iraq is a long way from home. But fifteen months can (and does) ruin the next generation. It had better be worth what we’re selling them out for.
Stay. Leave. I have no idea. What I do know is that while we’re away (rightly) fending off terrorists, the Amalekites have made a raid (1 Sam 30.1-2). They’ve carried off women and children and chained them to lives to brokenness and betrayal. Thanks to our sterling military we may never see another explosion over our shores, but I fear we will see implosion from within them.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Armies can rebuild bridges and restore order, but they can’t redeem the families who benefit from them. The Church, armed with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, is the only army fit to do that. Let us stand up, dear church, and fight the unseen war so there will be fewer unseen casualties.