Why It Was ‘Worth It’ to Some Soldiers

Here an Iraq war veteran (James Strong, Army, Sergeant) explains why the war was “worth it” for him:

It was worth it for me. I was a full blown neo con. Born in Britain, I got my US Citizenship specifically after the close ‘election’ between Kerry and Bush. After 911, I was one of those born again Christians who is all for destroying anyone who dares look at Israel wrong. I joined the military as a 30 year old, walking away from a good job and putting my wife and kids through the hellish experience that is the modern ‘oft deployed’ US military. I was hailed as a great patriot by everyone at my church. I joined as ‘counterintelligence agent’; the definition of which is producing mis-information for the enemy; only to find out that only enemy I would be mis-informing was the US public and the regular “Joe’s.” I was blown up, shot at, ambushed, lost my good friend, saw many many innocent Iraqi’s killed. I saw time and time again that when an innocent Iraqi is killed, he or she (no matter what age) is immediately identified as (likely al qaida). I saw how easy it is to get caught up in a mob, and how difficult and costly it is to do what is right in the US military. Something, I am ashamed to say, I usually did not have the courage to do. I did things I cannot even mention. I firmly believe there is only one force in the universe powerful enough to deal with terrible things I did, the blood of Christ. In the months and years after, instead of reciting the Warrior’s Creed, Psalm 51 became my creed (attached below). “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God…”

I was in one the most violent parts of Iraq during the most violent periods of the war, with access to a tremendous amount of intelligence, and I can tell you unequivocally we were fighting a local homegrown resistance and there was no al qaida. I can tell you unequivocally we were an occupying force that did far more damage than good. I saw money being spent and wasted in a way that I did not think possible. I saw corruption and incompetence at every level of the US military, with a clear scale; the lowest ranks were the least corrupt and the highest were the most. Many times, I saw God’s hand clearly protecting the Iraqi people from us.

I am sure a better, more courageous, more intelligent and independent thinker could have come to the same conclusions as me without having to go through the experience I did, but being the big, stupid, arrogant, Rush Limbaugh-listening, brainwashed Republican that I was, I believe God providently and mercifully used the war to bring me to a place of deep repentance. I have two of your books, and have been working through Christianity and War. Just read the excerpts from Spurgeon, and was deeply moved. If not for my time in the military I never would worked closely with sunni Arabs and sunni Kurds. They are a remarkable and beautiful people and their bravery, intelligence, and toughness puts Americans to shame. If not for my time in the military I never would have heard of Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell, or yourself. I am certain, if I had never joined the US military I would still be spending more time listening to right wing talk radio than praying, reading my bible, and simply being kind to people. If not for my time in the military, I never would have gotten on my knees and cried out the attached prayer in deep anguish and tears. Thank you Lord, for using the US Military to break through my thick skull and my hard heart. In that sense, it was worth it.

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.

O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.

Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

 James Strong


3:25 pm on December 17, 2012