Today I am greatly conflicted about the Quake peace testimony. Not giving it up, but struggling with the horrendous cost in lives entailed in staying true to it.
As of March 7, 2022, the Russian military is surrounding Kyiv, Ukraine, and it continues its deliberate targeting residential neighborhoods and blocking of escape by war refugees. The suffering, death, and destruction are escalating rapidly.
I long to see something done at once to save the people of Ukraine from Russia’s violence.
Contrary to the West’s mythical post-World War II “rules of war,” violence against civilians has always been and remains a core tactic of warfare—for the United States as much as for other nations.
Noteworthy modern examples include the massive bombing of German and Japanese cities (see image); Hiroshima and Nagasaki; our napalm bombing of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos; and the “shock and awe” bombing of Baghdad during the Iraq War.
The only action by the United States and its NATO allies that would significantly hinder this bombardment would be to impose a “no fly zone” over Ukraine—and even that would not stop missile fire from Belarus.
President Biden and our NATO allies are staying very scrupulously within the boundaries their mutual defense pact, and Ukraine is not a NATO member. One of Russia’s key ideological demands is that this NATO boundary not be extended.
I value the allies’ desire to use diplomacy and sanctions instead of military intervention, yet this is primarily a pragmatic and strategic choice, not one arising from the peace testimony. A no fly zone means engaging militarily with Russian aircraft, which means going to war with Russia.
The horror for those of us who lift up the peace testimony could not be clearer than it is in this war.
People are dying because we cannot intervene militarily.
I hear God grieving through the words of Jeremiah (8:21-9:1).
8 21 Since my people are crushed, I am crushed;
I mourn, and horror grips me.
22 Is there no balm in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why then is there no healing
for the wound of my people?
9 1 Oh, that my head were a spring of water
and my eyes a fountain of tears!
I would weep day and night
for the slain of my people.
Image: “Firebombing of Toyama.jpg,” USAAF Photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. “The city of Toyama, a large producer of aluminum in Japan during WWII, burns after 173 American B-29 bombers dropped incendiary bombs on the city, August 1, 1945.”