Five years after bombs first exploded over Baghdad with a "shock and awe" display of staggering military might, the Iraq war continues with tragic costs and still-unseen consequences.
First, we mourn and honor the American and Iraqi dead whose lost lives are the ultimate reminder of war's cruelty. These many thousands gone are not statistics. Fathers, mothers, husbands, and sisters will never come home again. Children will grow up without parents. Grief etched on the human heart does not fade like today's headlines.
The late Pope John Paul II warned before the invasion of Iraq that "war is always a defeat for humanity." It's impossible to calculate the damage done by war to the human spirit. As faithful citizens, we continue to seek justice that is the foundation of all peace. Speaking in a triumphal tone that divided the world into good and evil, President Bush described the "war on terror" as a "crusade." We have learned again during this dark era of fear and militarism that religion used in the service of power