Praying for our Marines and Soldiers, their Iraqi Allies, and the Innocents of Fallujah
I have been reading various articles discussing the imminent U.S./Iraqi assault on the terrorist haven of Fallujah. The first article that caught my eye was this email from a marine preparing to go in:
For eight months, we have been on our chain. The enemy has fooled itself misinterpreting our humanity and restraint for lack of will and courage. For eight months, we have watched Marines, Soldiers and Sailors maimed and killed by invisible cowards hiding behind some wall or in a canal as he detonates another IED. For eight months, we have been witness to suicidal sociopaths driving vehicles laden with explosives into crowds of Iraqis and into our own convoys.
Now, their own ignorance and arrogance will be their undoing. They believe that they can hold Fallujah. In fact, they have come from all over to be part of its glorious defense. I cannot describe the atmosphere that exists in the Regiment right now. Of course the men are nervous but I think they are more nervous that we will not be allowed to clean the rats nest out and instead will be forced to continue operating as is.
Its as if a window of opportunity has opened and everyone just wants to get on with it before it closes. The Marines know the enemy has massed and has temporarily decided to stay and fight. For the first time, the men feel as though we may be allowed to do what needs to be done. If the enemy wants to sit in his citadel and try to defend it against the Marine Corps and some very hard Soldiers... then the men want to execute before the enemy sobers up and flees.
I was inclined to blog here about praying for these men about to go into battle. I know there is disagreement even in the Christian community about the War in Iraq. So I held off.
Then I read this account about Christian marines preparing for battle. They worshiped, read scripture, and prayed for protection. One, at least, was baptized in a rubber dingy filled with water. One particular comment caught my eye:
The marines drew parallels from the verse with their present situation, where they perceive themselves as warriors fighting barbaric men opposed to all that is good in the world.
"Victory belongs to the Lord," another young marine read.
Their chaplain, named Horne, told the worshippers they were stationed outside Fallujah to bring the Iraqis "freedom from oppression, rape, torture and murder ... We ask you God to bless us in that effort."
I figured if these men are praying for protection and assistance in freeing Fallujah from terrorists, then the least I could do is the same. And ask others to do so too. Whether we should have gone into Iraq or not, we did. And by removing their government -- however awful -- we assumed responsibility for the safety and security of the Iraqi people.
So may God protect our marines, soldiers, and the Iraqi soldiers going into Fallujah soon. May God protect the innocents in Fallujah.
As for the terrorists who dominate the city, I agree with the marine Chaplain. They are oppressors, rapists, torturers, and murders. Paul had words for them and the government's role in dealing with them:
For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.