330 and counting

330.  That’s the number of Canadian bombs that have been dropped by the CF-18 fighter jets on Libya.  (as of June 20th, according to this Globe and Mail article)  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/canadas-role-in-libya-its-biggest-military-gambit-in-decades/article2068533/ Imagine if one bomb was dropped on Canada…how would we feel?    They are laser-guided bombs, so maybe that should make us feel better, they are on target for the “bad guys”.  The problem for Christians is that the bad guys are our brothers and sisters too.

Canadian participation in the NATO-led intervention in Libya is not called a war.  We are there to protect civilians.  It is hard to know whether dropping 330 bombs has protected more civilians than it has killed (of course other countries are also dropping bombs).   I haven’t seen any statistics for how many people we have actually killed.  Of course that is hard to count when you are so far away, dropping bombs from the sky at a great height you don’t see the screams or blood, compared to doing the same job with bayonets.

I wonder how much one laser-guided bomb costs?   How much could have been spent on a diplomatic mission?  How much foreign aid could have been used as a bargaining chip to help that diplomacy along, aid that would have built things instead of blowing things (and people) to smithereens.

There’s a saying that if you carry a hammer, everything looks like a nail.  Canada in the past has had a reputation for peacekeeping and diplomacy, or at least that is what the legend says.   But now we have a lot more weapons at hand than we used to.  John Siebert, from the ecumenical organization Project Ploughshares, estimates that each laser-guided bomb costs $100,000.  Hmmm…that’s 330,000,000 just on the bombs, not counting the human cost, the battleships, the planes and fuel.  How much effort have we spent on diplomacy?   This Sunday John Siebert will be sharing some reflections, and he’ll be joining us for a potluck where we can talk about peace in places like Libya.  You can read a fascinating and fairly short paper by John about Libya here:

http://www.ploughshares.ca/sites/default/files/Briefing%2011-02.pdf

This week’s prayer:  Lord, in a world where violence kills your children, help us to hold our government accountable for the violent weapons we possess, the violent weapons we use.    

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