Left Justified: Holidays in Hell

That was pretty neat—the president serving Thanksgiving turkey to the troops in Baghdad. When I was in Vietnam, I saw Bob Hope play DaNang. We all loved it, but the war still stunk. I think the American soldiers in Iraq want to come home, but it was motivational to see the commander in chief in the war zone. As one of the soldiers said, “I’m good for another two months.” We’ll see how soon before he changes Iraq strategy again.

One suggestion: Give the whole mess to the United Nations, declare victory and leave. Of course, that would mean we’d lose the spoils of the war: the oil fields. But the world is looking askance at America’s war policies, and I think a good number of Americans feel queasy being like rapacious imperialists.

If it had been the United Nations that took out Saddam, the going may’ve been easier. Iraqis may have welcomed the U.N. invasion as liberation, and there might have been no looting. Saddam should’ve been captured, if not turned over by an appreciative people.

But our president couldn’t wait, and he invaded Mesopotamia with a half-assed plan that still might fall apart.

Meanwhile, in another part of the Middle East… 82-year-old Quaker and Rockford peace traveler Adah Manby just returned from Hebron, West Bank (occupied territories of Israel) as we write. She just got home. We’ll take her out to dinner this Friday, Dec. 12, 6 p.m. at Christ United Methodist Church ($15, vegan available; call 964-7111 to reserve your spot). At 7 p.m., we’ll host a free celebration, hear about the work of Christian Peacemaker Teams (with whom Adah traveled), sing a few songs with local peace troubadour David Stocker, and listen to Adah herself. She promises to bring slides and stories.

Finally, you can support the work of the only local peace group in Rockford and find some neat holiday gifts at Rockford Urban Ministries’ temporary gift shop and church bazaar, located at 623 7th St. in the heart of the red light district. Sorry, we’re only open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 to 3. Call to see if you can get a private showing (that number again: 964-7111).

Let’s try to make this holiday season one of peace and justice in Rockford and throughout the world.

Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.

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