Two major political events will be operating in parallel over the next few months, the longest election campaign in history will take prominence but the latest Iraq war inquiry is also highly significant. We’re all broadly familiar with the issues of greatest contention (Was there a legitimate international mandate for conflict? Was parliament misled?) but there are other interesting questions being asked. Step forward Major-General Tim Cross who Paul Waugh identifies as a devout Christian. The military man is clearly concerned that insufficient thinking and funds were directed at the post-conflict reconstruction, in spite of his intense lobbying on this. I’m sure much of this will come out through Chilcot but as Waugh points out, perhaps it’s more significant to reflect on Major-General Cross’s convictions. After all, arguments about strategic planning are remarkably hollow if there is no moral dimension driving the response in the first place.
What we discover is that justice and righteousness are precious to him and that a conflict without them is worse than meaningless. Which is a reminder about those much maligned (in their day) figures the minor prophets- especially Amos (See 5:24). They were derided for their views and castigated for their refusal to acquiesce to the crowd-pleasing mentality of the nation’s rulers. What kept them going was not the latest MORI poll but a theologically driven attachment to these eternal values. What a New Year resolution it would be to keep these as our guiding values in informing the policies that we cheer, cherish and champion in the coming campaign. Then the battle of ideas becomes a conflict well worth winning.