Blessed are the peacemakers

An open letter to Alistair_Burt_(4606004237)British MP Alistair Burt, from one Christian to another.

Dear Brother Alistair

My name is Kristian Kahrs, and we have a lot of common friends in the National Prayer Breakfast network. In 2000 I was a NATO officer in Kosovo, but since 2011, I have been trying to raise awareness among Norwegian and Western politicians not to go too easily to war. In fact, I went public on Serbian national news and apologized for not being able to protect Kosovo’s minorities in 1999 and 2000 and for my own naivety. Most people who are interested in politics in Serbia would know who I am, but I hope to raise the awareness of the implications of going to war in NATO countries as well.

On Dec. 30, I read the article Alistair Burt reveals anger over Syria vote at Westminster in The Guardian, and since you are a highly profiled follower of Christ, I was very sad to see your war rhetoric. A Christian brother should be much more cautious than others in going to war, but in this article we see that you are complain that the elected representatives have too much power to prevent war. If you have not read the comments below the article, I would recommend that because there is a lot of democratic common sense in these comments.

   David Cameron addresses the Commons during the debate on intervention in Syria. Photograph: Pool/Reuters

David Cameron addresses the Commons during the debate on intervention in Syria. Photograph: Pool/Reuters

It breaks my heart when you are quoted as saying “We have put ourselves in a constitutional mess this way. I think government needs to take executive action in foreign affairs. It informs parliament. If parliament does not ultimately go for it, then the issue becomes a vote of confidence issue. I don’t think you can handle foreign affairs by having to try to convince 326 people [a majority of MPs] each time you need to take a difficult decision. You do it and if they don’t like it, they can vote you out and they can have a general election.”

A state cannot do anything more serious than to go to war, and I find it quite shocking that you do not want the elected representatives to be involved in the decisions.

Had you and your allies gotten your will, you would have involved your countries in a very dangerous war with an uncertain outcome. You claim that you would go to war to support the secular forces opposing Bashar al-Assad, but even if the Free Syrian Army does not like the Islamic armed groups, they acknowledge that they have the same enemy. Yes, I am aware that the British government has designated for instants the the al-Nusra Front as a terrorist organization, but I think you are underestimating the popular support for Islamist groups in Syria. We’ve seen thousands of people marching on the streets to protest against connecting Islamic resistance to terrorist labels.

Without soldiers on the ground, you would not at all be equipped to control the situation, and the conditions for Christians, other religious minorities, atheists and women would be hell on earth under Sunni Islamic Sharia rule. After our last war against Libya, we now see that the Libyan parliament has adopted Sharia laws.

We can read another interesting and worrying article in The New York Review of Books, How al-Qaeda Changed the Syrian War, a very informative piece written by Sarah Birke published on Dec. 27. It is not good to see how Islamists operate freely from the NATO country Turkey. As an influential British MP, you should be aware who becomes your allies. I would also recommend the excellent Guardian editorial Persecution of Christians: no room at the inn, published just before Christmas. Today, the Guardian also published The full impact of the UK’s vote against intervention in Syria has yet to be felt as a response to your statements.

You were not a member of parliament when NATO went to war against Yugoslavia in 1999, but what we are seeing from politicians, especially after the cold war, is that you use rhetoric about humanitarian intervention and responsibility to protect as excuses to go to war.    However, NATO and the so-called enlightened democracies does not have monopoly on being good, and it is good that politicians in your parliament are waking up to disclose your black and white rhetoric about bad and good people.

I would urge you to once more see if you have Biblical support for getting involved in these wars. Christians should not be warmongers.