News out of Iraq hasn't been good for some time now. Some would say this is completely due to the liberal bias of the media, but I think we've passed the point where we might pretend that this is true.
When President Bush first started talking about Iraq several years ago, I was uneasy about it. Unlike our decision to go into Afghanistan and disrupt a group of people who seemed quite clearly linked to the events of September 11, 2001, our expansion into Iraq didn't have the same clear justifications, the same sane and reasonable objectives.
As a conservative, my default setting is to trust fellow conservatives. Most of them seemed to agree with the president: Iraq had weapons of mass destruction which they fully intended to supply to terrorists. We had to stop them, before some large city in the United States was turned into a smoking crater.
But Pat Buchanan and other paleoconservatives were saying far different things. I probably lean more toward the paleo side of conservatism, and so I was confused. Was Iraq a danger to us, or wasn't it? Were terrorists the friends of Saddam, or weren't they? Did we need to attack Baghdad, or didn't we?
In all this confusion the Vatican spoke with some clarity: we shouldn't go to war with Iraq; a preemptive strike wasn't justified. But I still didn't know what to think about things--it was at least conceivable that the Vatican wasn't privy to U.S. intelligence information that would suggest a clear danger from Saddam Hussein.
So I did what any good Catholic conservative would do. I prayed.
Specifically, I took up my on again, off again habit of the daily rosary. I like it when the daily rosary is part of my life, but there have been times when I fell away from it: college exams, work schedules, then babies and nightly nursings. This last had caused the longest lapse from the rosary in my adult life, as fifteen minutes of quiet was a) extremely rare and b) more likely to result in me falling asleep than in me pulling out the beads. But my children hadn't needed nursing for some time by the time these events took place, and there was really no reason for me to stay away from the rosary any longer. If any prayer could be helpful in guiding our nation, protecting our troops, and fostering true peace, the rosary would be.
Now, several years after 'shock and awe,' I'm still praying. It's all that I can do. It's the best thing I can do; pray for peace, for safety for our troops, and for God's will to be done, in Baghdad, in Washington, and in my home.
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!