I spoke with a soldier friend of mine today. He’s an active-duty soldier who has served several tours of duty in Iraq. He is also somebody who grew up in war-torn Sudan. He remembers when he was a child how his homeland was torn-apart by the internal conflict of extreme militants who used religion as a vehicle for evil. He lost many friends when the rebel forces moved into Southern Sudan and began systematically killing Christians.
We have spoken many times about war and its causes and its costs. Something we both know about intimately. My friend is getting ready to deploy again. He leaves behind a wife and four children.
After I spoke with him, I read a news story in which Retired General Barry McCaffrey criticized President Obama for his weak-knee approach to the very real and present danger that is ISIS.
Says McCaffrey: “There’s a huge tragedy unfolding: 1.5 million refugees, a couple of hundred thousand just in the last few weeks. 50,000 of this minority group stuck on – up in the mountains. We dropped three aircraft loads of water and food to 50,000 people in the mountains. Now we’re striking ISIS artillery units. It looks to me as if a lot of this is internal U.S. politics to show we’re doing something.”
Obama needs to take more decisive action, says McCaffrey.
Typically, I shy away from the talking heads ranting about what the presidents does or does not need to be doing. But I know General McCaffrey. I have served on advisory boards with him. I know him not to be some knee-jerk reactionary when it comes to war. He’s a four-star general who was badly wounded in Vietnam. He and I haven’ t always seen eye-to-eye on things. We’ve disagreed adamantly at times. But he has also picked up the phone and called to thank me personally when I’ve written something that spoke deeply to him. His patriotism isn’t up for sale. He’s a critical-thinker who knows the cost of war on families like mine, like many of yours. McCaffrey and others think that President Obama is failing to take decisive action with ISIS.
Perhaps you have heard by now that ISIS has been on a Twitter-frenzy, making all sorts of threats against the US because of the airstrikes that Obama ordered. Beware, ISIS warns US citizens. We are coming for you. To fuel their fires, they’ve released gruesome photos of executions, beheadings, etc.
Years ago, while visiting the Martin Luther King museum in Atlanta, I came across an art exhibit that featured lynchings. It was actual photos of blacks hanging from tree limbs. What shocked me about the photos was not just the lynchings themselves but the crowds of whites who had gathered around, some in their best Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes. Lynchings were, at one time, entertainment for entire communities of what would otherwise be considered respectable citizens.
This was us y’all.
This is who we were as a people, as a nation.
The line between good and evil can get so blurry at times.
I thought of those lynching photos as I saw the pictures out of Iraq of ISIS executing the innocent people in Iraq. Crowds of men, young and old, gathered around, mobile phones in hand, snapping photos of those people being marched to their own lynchings, their own executions, their own beheadings.
Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday morning the situation in Iraq shows “all the warning signs of genocide. For anyone who needs a wake up call, this is it.”
You and I could argue until the moon turns blue about all the things we did wrong in Iraq that led to the instability that is now that country. Meanwhile, women are being raped and killed, children are starving to death and being killed outright, and fathers and sons are being chained together and led to slaughter.
I don’t know how to fix the problem that is ISIS. I don’t.
But I do know that the very first thing we need to be doing is praying. Praying without ceasing. Making supplications to the Lord. I wish we had a physical wailing wall. If we did, I would ask each of you to meet me at that place everyday until ISIS’s reign of terror is stopped.
We don’t need a real wailing wall to do the kind of praying that needs to take place.
Will you join me?
All I’m asking is that you take 15 minutes of your day and commit to praying for peace. Praying for help. Praying for guidance. Praying for changed hearts. Praying protection. Praying for wisdom. Praying for an end to the lynchings. Praying for an end to the genocide that is happening right now, right this minute in Iraq.
Blood sacrifices have been made by many of our soldiers and their Gold-Star families.
We need to pray that God gives all our leaders the wisdom to know how to bring about an end to this reign of terror and this reign of evil that is ISIS.
Join with me in praying until peace is restored, won’t you?
Remember prayer isn’t the least we can do – it is the most we can do.