Astonishingly, despite mountains of commentary on the Iraqi imbroglio, no media pundit has raised the obvious question: Why hasn’t George W. Bush multilaterally deployed the ultimate weapon against the intransigent Iraqi strong man, Saddam Hussein?
Not nuclear bombs. While they can indeed humble an obstinate foe, they can have unpleasant side effects on the environment and complicate international diplomacy. Even when nuclear strikes are maximally surgical, some collateral damage is bound to occur. The world community might question the moral legitimacy of vaporizing thousands of women and children to bring one bully to his knees. A better course is available to a Christian president.
President Bush isn’t constitutionally obligated to emulate Constantine, Charlemagne, Richard the Lion-Hearted, Henry V, Louis XIV, Peter the Great, JFK, LBJ, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and other Christian heads of state who opted to meet force with force, violence with violence, swagger with swagger rather than to turn the other cheek and forgive enemies seventy-seven times (as the nominal founder of Christianity recommended).
Mr. Bush has considerable expertise in the ultimate weapon. He knows how it works. Last February, at the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, he told the assembled lawmakers, foreign leaders, and prominent clergy that “the true strength of America lies in the fact that we are a faithful people by and large.” The President understands the incomparable power of faith to soften the hardhearted. “Faith,” he told the dignitaries, “shows the way to self-giving, to love our neighbors as we would want to be loved.” Faith instructs us “never to target the innocent.”
Averring that the terrorist attacks of September 11 had put him “on bended knee,” Mr. Bush urged Americans to turn to prayer in “this time of testing.”
The Vice President, too, understands the ultimate force. Mr. Cheney has said for the record, “Every great and meaningful achievement in this life requires the active involvement of the One who placed us here.”
As an ideological disciple of Jesus Christ, whom the President has cited as the biggest influence on his life, Mr. Bush undoubtedly prefers to eschew military interventionism in Iraq. When he says the United States may invade Iraq if Saddam Hussein thwarts the U.N. weapons inspectors, the President is no doubt acceding to pressure from his Cabinet, the National Security Adviser and hawkish legislators rather than following his own heart.
In this case, Mr. Bush should disregard all secular strategy and counsel, no matter how well intended. Instead of bombs, he should deploy the true ultimate weapon against the Iraqi leader: humble supplication.
Christian doctrine recognizes the universal efficacy of prayer and the infinite power of divine love. The most egregious reprobate is redeemable. Verily, even Saddam Hussein.
President Bush should immediately begin to plump for multilateral prayer rallies, not preemptive (and peremptory) strikes. Prayer is safe, feasible, viable, tested, and cost-effective.
True, the Pentagon may be piqued and defense contractors may indeed grow antsy. Yes, the National Rifle Association may squawk. Certainly, secularists will ridicule him.
Against all opposition, Mr. Bush must be resolute. The benefits of relentless prayer are incalculable.
Touched by grace, Saddam will surely give us his oil at a bargain-basement price.
Who knows? He may even become the Billy Graham of Baghdad.