The One Thing a President Can Do

A significant moment of truth is headed our way. Will Bush go for war in Iran, which now seems very likely? Or will he not? It is his choice; it will be the defining moment of his presidency. Some pundits are saying that such a war is certain to involve nuclear weapons because we do not have enough boots to put on the ground in Iran even if we wanted to, and ordinary air war has shown itself inadequate to stop things in Iraq.

For Bush to say yes would be an act of insanity. But manic zealotry, which seems to define Bush, is by definition not sane. Insanity is often defined as doing the same crazy thing over and over again, expecting different results. First Iraq, then Iran.

His decision on Iran will also be a test of Bush's bravery. Bravery in this case would be going against the iniquity your "friends" want you to perform so as to be "one of the boys." In this case, one of the "Great Presidents."

The one thing a U.S. President can unquestionably do, as Commander in Chief, is refuse to send our troops to start a foreign war. Relying on his Constitutional power base and using his Bully Pulpit to unmercifully rag any opponents, he can absolutely make it stick. His position as top dog is unassailable. God knows, we opponents of Middle Eastern war in general and attacking Iran in particular find that dismayingly the case as we read and hear every day of preparations for war in Iran, and of the small "window" that exists before our mid-term elections.

Nukes in August, anyone? An inconceivable thing? No. We've done it once before to our everlasting shame.

It's clear that if we were invaded, the President could not prevent the people from taking up arms to defeat them. But he certainly can stop our planes and ships from heading overseas, since American interest in "overseas" is always fleeting at best; he'd have the people with him for sure. Home is where the heart is, and the attention most of the time. Even with horrors mounting hourly in Iraq (and elsewhere, for example, in such unimaginable places as Afghanistan), Americans are most interested in work, school, sports, cars, travel, TV, movies, retirement, vacations, even at times religion. The local trumps the remote.

So my challenge to Mr. Bush is: show some real strength, do the unexpected. Be brave. Be sane. Follow the way of the Lord Jesus Christ, take to heart the lesson of the Story of Stories we heard again just last week. Or was that, for all our church attendance, just foolishness?

The real sanity, the real bravery, is to oppose the warmongers, the Mammonites who worship money and violence and are nourished by the blood baths both always produce.

Bush could become the greatest of all our Presidents if he would turn about and risk all for Christ, the Prince of Peace.

April 17, 2006