Strive was established as a group for men in the Warminster area. The guys who set it up always agreed that it was for men to meet in fellowship, to have fun and, for those who want, to discuss God.
Today the key word in our “manifesto” is Warminster. This week five men who, until recently, lived in our town, shopped in our shops, worshipped in our churches and drank in our bars were murdered in Afghanistan. I think it is appropriate that Strive marks their passing.
Before I talk about this weeks events I want to go back to 1918; world war 1 famously ended on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month. That was obviously pre agreed between the warring parties but I don’t know when and frankly I don’t care.
“The respected American author Joseph E Persico has calculated a shocking figure that the final day of WWI would produce nearly 11,000 casualties, more than those killed, wounded or missing on D-Day, when Allied forces landed en masse on the shores of occupied France almost 27 years later.
What is worse is that hundreds of these soldiers would lose their lives thrown into action by generals who knew that the Armistice had already been signed. “ (Source http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7696021.stm ).
Eleven thousand, there’s that number eleven again, people maimed or killed before the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Brings clarity to the phrase “Lions led by Donkeys” that has been used to describe the fate of our forces in the ’14-’18 war.
In 1971 John Kerry, the American politician, famously asked,
“How Do You Ask a Man to be the Last Man to Die for a Mistake?”
The mistake in question was the Vietnam war.
Why do I revisit history? Because I fear that our soldiers are being killed for a mistake.
What is the goal of our involvement in Afghanistan? This is a country where if a moslem converts to Christianity she / he is condemned to death, This is a country where the president has, this week, accepted that women are inferior. Have look at this site http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17272935
We originally sent troops to the region to defeat the Taliban and capture Bin Laden. Bin Laden was found last year being nurtured by our ally, Pakistan, and we are preparing to hand the country back to a group that will include the Taliban! Our only stated goal now is to leave in 2014; I don’t know exactly when but will it be at the fourteenth minute, of the fourteenth hour on the fourteenth day of the fourteenth year? Are our lions still being led by donkeys?
Here’s another link I think you should see:
The guys who died are heroes; they willingly put their lives on the line because we asked them to. I’m guessing that they didn’t question why, that they selflessly did what we, through our government, asked them to do.
I write as a Christian and so need to bring Jesus into the mix.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
If I were to seek folk who met this goal I would not go to the House of Commons’ register of interests, I would not trawl through the annual reports of the FTSE 250.
I would go to our village war memorial; I would go to the gates of Battlesbury Barracks and salute the young men who will soon be travelling to Afghanistan.
We must honour, celebrate and always remember our brothers’ love for us in their sacrifice. Don’t we also need to honour their memory by calling on our government to bring an end to this war?