"Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon" ~ 2 Samuel 12:9
George Bush is worried about his legacy. At his last press conference, he acknowledged that he made mistakes and suffered disappointments. "I think it’s a good, strong record," he said of his eight years in office. The most disgusting thing about Bush’s last press conference was how he aggressively defended his baby, the war in Iraq. But because Bush’s war is aggressive, unnecessary, unconstitutional, senseless, immoral, unjust, and even worse, his legacy, at least for those of us who treasure liberty and peace, will be that of a war criminal in chief.
I have been harshly critical of U.S. troops killing for the state in Iraq (see "Who Is Responsible? and "The Blame Game"). The ones doing the actual bombing, shooting, maiming, and killing in this most criminal of wars are certainly culpable. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gates, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff never destroyed any property in Iraq or killed any Iraqis. And the same goes for the Congresses that have continued to fund this most expensive of wars.
But before Bush leaves office I want to make one thing perfectly clear: George Bush is just as responsible for turning Iraq into a killing field as the U.S. troops who invaded and occupied the country. He is the war criminal in chief and the chief war criminal.
I base my assessment on the aftermath of the account of David and Bathsheba found in the Bible – a book that President Bush professes to believe.
The account is well known. For those with a Bible handy, it can be found in 2 Samuel chapter 11.
King David, who was supposed to be leading his troops in battle, saw the beautiful Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, washing herself. Lust then gave way to sin as David had her brought to him for a sexual encounter. When Bathsheba came up pregnant, the king tried to get her husband to leave the battle and go home. Naturally, the returning soldier would then think that his wife’s pregnancy was his doing. Such was not to be the case, however, because Uriah refused to go home out of loyalty to his fellow soldiers. David then had Uriah sent to the front where he knew he would be killed by the enemy. After Uriah’s death and a period of mourning, David took Bathsheba to wife, and she bore the king a son.
"But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD" (2 Samuel 11:27).
God then sent Nathan the prophet to King David. Nathan told the king a story:
There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him (2 Samuel 12:1–4)
David was, of course, furious. The man that did this thing "shall surely die" (2 Samuel 12:5) and "shall restore the lamb fourfold" (2 Samuel 12:6), said the king. Nathan then said to David: "Thou art the man." The Lord explained to David through his prophet:
I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon (2 Samuel 12:7-9).
Like President Bush, King David didn’t actually kill anyone, but he was still guilty. But even worse than David unnecessarily sending one of his soldiers to his death is the fact that Bush unnecessarily sent thousands of his soldiers to their deaths. David was also told that what he did gave "great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme" (2 Samuel 12:14). How many enemies of Christianity were given great occasion to blaspheme because of Bush’s "crusade" and "great mission" in Iraq?
If anyone deserves a Nuremberg trial it is George Bush. Yet, the great majority of Christians have been silent about Bush’s war crime that is the war in Iraq. How many Christians believe that Bush has the blood of thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi soldiers and civilians on his hands? How many Christians believe that Bush has given great occasion to God’s enemies to blaspheme? How many Christians believe that Bush despised the commandment of the Lord? How many Christians believe that Bush did evil in the sight of the Lord? How many Christians even believe that what Bush did in Iraq displeased the Lord? Sadly, not enough.
George W. Bush: war criminal in chief – thou art the man.
January 19, 2009
Laurence M. Vance [lmvance (at) juno.com] writes from Pensacola, FL. His latest book is a new and greatly expanded edition of Christianity and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State. Visit his website.
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