August 17, 2004
Message from Chaplain Slater
Chaplain David L. Slater writes from the Al Anbar Province of Iraq:
Whether a Marine or Sailor deployed or a family member at home, no one understands better than we do the high cost of freedom. As we worry about each other and take stock of our sacrifices and grief it’s hard not to ask the question, “Is it worth it?” Will all the blood, sweat and tears America has poured into helping Iraq make any lasting difference? The truth is that many of us are skeptical about whether or not the Iraqi people will take advantage of the opportunity for freedom we have given them. This has been a personal struggle of mine. I have thought long and hard about it and this is what I’ve come to realize. The question, “Is it worth it?” is certainly a question worth asking. But to answer it on the basis of whether it will change Iraq is to miss the whole point of what America has done. The measure of our success is not in whether Iraqis ultimately make Iraq a freer and more prosperous country. The measure of our success is simply that liberating and stabilizing Iraq was the right thing to do and doing the right thing is always worth it.
Think of it this way. If someone was drowning and you swam out to save them but in fear, panic or ignorance they fought off your attempt and drowned anyway, does that diminish one bit that trying to save them was absolutely the right thing to do? In fact, couldn’t you be rightly criticized if you said, “Oh, they probably wouldn’t let me save them anyway,” and just let them drown without even trying to help? Even if you died trying to save the thrashing victim wouldn’t your attempt to save them be judged as noble, selfless, heroic and good? Even if Iraq chooses to jump right back into the waters of tyranny it still doesn’t change the fact that trying to save them was the right thing to do. Actually, America has succeeded in saving Iraq from drowning in ruthless tyranny. Saddam’s regime is gone and Saddam has been captured to face judgment for his crimes. Yet, we are still criticized, unfortunately, even by fellow Americans who just don’t get it..
The truth is, the same people who criticize America for being in Iraq and question our success are the very same people who would criticize America for doing nothing if Saddam was still in power and perpetrating human rights violations on the world and his own citizens. This is my point. We will be questioned, criticized and ridiculed no matter what we do. So I’d rather suffer for doing what is right than for doing nothing about what is wrong. This is actually a Biblical principle. I Peter 3:17 says, “For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong” (NASB).
It is a shame so many people have missed the point that we all know so well and hold so dear. This is not about whether Iraq is worth it. It is about the character of America, and individual Americans and their families who have always been willing to sacrifice and suffer, even for the unworthy, just because it is the right thing to do. As the men and women of Task Force 3/7, we owe our deepest respect, thanks and love to all of you at home for so courageously and faithfully standing with us in doing what is right.
Posted by Deb at August 17, 2004 11:17 AM
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"It is a shame so many people have missed the point that we all know so well and hold so dear," writes Chaplain David L. Slater from the Al Anbar Province of Iraq, in a message posted by Deb at [Read More]
Tracked on August 17, 2004 12:12 PM
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