A nuclear strike against Iran: Should we fight fire with fire?
One area Christians can, and should, speak prophetically to our political leaders is to warn them against the use of nuclear arms in military conflict, and this includes nuclear arms that are strategically deployed--in other words, something less than the full scale bombing of cities. Not being old enough to remember if there was such a prophetic voice against the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I can't say whether we fulfilled our calling then. But if Seymour Hersh's piece in the latest (April 17, 2006) New Yorker, exposing the Bush administration's plans to wage war against Iran, is reliable (and Hersh is about as reliable as any journalist at work today), our duty is clear and the time to speak is now.
Hersh begins his piece:
The Bush administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a major air attack. ..."The planning is enormous," (a) former senior intelligence official said. The plans include "significant air attacks on (the Iranians) countermeasures and anti-aircraft missiles--a huge takedown." He depicted the planning as hectic, and far beyond the contingency work that is routinely done. "These are operational plans," the former official said...
One of the military's initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapons...
The lack of reliable intelligence leaves military planners, given the goal of totally destroying the sites, little choice but to consider the use of tactical nuclear weapons. "Every other option, in the view of the nuclear weaponeers, would leave a gap," the former senior intelligence officer said. " 'Decisive' is the key word of the Air Force's planning. It's a tough decision. But we made it in Japan."
He went on, "...we're talking about mushroom clouds, radiation, mass casualties, and contamination over years. ...whenever anybody tries to get it out" -remove the nuclear option--"they're shouted down."
Historically, Christians have opposed methods of waging war that fail to maintain the distinction between military personnel and civilians. The Allied forces' bombing of German cities was one historic departure from this moral distinction, and the use of nuclear weapons in Japan was only an incremental escalation of what we had already done in Germany.
Neither of these uses were morally justifiable. Now our Commander in Chief, along with his military advisors, is reported to be considering the use of this cruel tactic once more. We must raise our voices against it.
Whether we're speaking of the bombings of German and Japanese cities in the past, or the present consideration of the use of tactical nuclear warheads in Iran, the end does not justify these means. For my part, I have been convinced for many years that our nation can expect God's judgment for the shedding of innocent blood, not only in the killing of our unborn, feeble, and elderly, but also innocent civilians whose lives were extinguished by the fire raining from the skies dumped on them by Allied forces in the Second World War.
Yes, even in war justice and mercy must be guarded. Consider God's judgment against Damascus, Edom, and Ammon, announced by the prophet Amos:
Thus says the LORD, "For three transgressions of Damascus and for four I will not revoke its punishment, Because they threshed Gilead with implements of sharp iron. So I will send fire upon the house of Hazael And it will consume the citadels of Ben-hadad."
Thus says the LORD, "For three transgressions of Edom and for four I will not revoke its punishment, Because he pursued his brother with the sword, While he stifled his compassion; His anger also tore continually, And he maintained his fury forever. So I will send fire upon Teman And it will consume the citadels of Bozrah."
Thus says the LORD, "For three transgressions of the sons of Ammon and for four I will not revoke its punishment, Because they ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead In order to enlarge their borders. So I will kindle a fire on the wall of Rabbah And it will consume her citadels Amid war cries on the day of battle, And a storm on the day of tempest. Their king will go into exile, He and his princes together," says the LORD. (Amos 1:3-5; 11-15)
During the pursuit of war, threshing the enemy with implements of sharp iron, stifling compassion, and ripping open pregnant women are such cruel acts that God announced His judgment against the nations that carried them out. Will He not judge the United States of America similarly?
Christians must speak out vociferously against such cruel tactics, and pray for God's mercy towards our nation for the sins of the past now already accrued to our account.