For God will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken. (Micah 4:3-4)
It’s been a decade since the sad and dramatic events of the 11th of September, 2001 – now known simply as 9/11. A total of 2996 innocent people lost their lives that day, including 343 fireman and 60 policeman who were trying to save their fellow citizens.
They are heroes all.
For every person lost, there are wives and husbands, parents and children, who still grieve for their loved ones.
No word can heal, no gesture can replace what was taken. We can only offer our heart-felt respect for those who mourn, and our prayers for them as they live and remember.
For us to remember is one thing. For us to learn from the events of that tragic day is quite another.
In the ten years since 9/11, the United States has waged war in both Iraq and Afghanistan in direct response to those deemed culpable for the terror attacks that took place on that day.
4,477 American soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq.
1,534 American soldiers have lost their lives in Afghanistan.
There have been 107,369 documented civilian deaths in Iraq, with a further 30,000 estimated in Afghanistan.
That’s a a total of 143,380 deaths as a direct result of the United States’ response to 9/11, or just under 48 people killed for every life originally lost.
And these are conservative estimates that don’t count enemy military casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the losses suffered by coalition and allied forces, or the undocumented civilian losses that have occurred.
Members of my own family have served in Afghanistan. I love and respect them for their bravery and courage.
I would never want to lose them.
Some might say that it’s a necessary cost if we are to rid the world of terrorism and live in a safer place. I don’t know if the world is any safer now than it was on 9/11, and killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians can only make things worse. Greater men than I have spoken of the foolishness of violence. We cannot achieve peace by waging war.
If there is a lesson to be learned from 9/11, it is this: No matter what others have done to us, we should choose a higher path. We should should seek redemption, forge forgiveness, and strive for peace.
And we should learn war no more.