I promised to take a break from blogging about Iraq. I should know better than to make promises I can’t keep. Those who have been blogging about Iraq are smart people. That being said, we’re talking past each other. I’d like to see more effort to find common ground. Here’s a humble attempt to summarize what I think most of us can agree on. Read over the list and let me know if I’m wrong. 1. War is bad. We disagree on how bad: some think all war is wrong; others see it as a necessary evil. We are united in believing that war is not the outcome that we prefer. As Brian McLaren has said, “War must always be seen as a defeat, before the first shot is fired or the last body is buried.” 2. There is a problem in Iraq. We agree that the situation in Iraq merits some sort of response from the world community. Our views on the appropriate response differ, but this should not be seen as a defense of Saddam Hussein or the status quo. 3. The United Nations is our preferred body for dealing with Iraq. The United Nations has a legitimacy that exceeds that of any individual country or coalition of countries in dealing with this situation. The United Nations will be diminished by any military action against Iraq that takes place outside of its approval. 4. We do not claim to be perfect. Many criticisms have been made of the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries. Even those of us who are patriotic citizens of our countries are ready to admit that we are not above criticism, and that our countries have not always acted appropriately on the world stage. We may not agree with all the criticisms, but our concern for the situation in Iraq is not predicated upon our perfection or lack of perfection as individuals and countries. 5. Our response to Iraq should bring the least possible damage to the country and its people. While some of us believe that any use of force is wrong, even the most militant among us want as little death and destruction as possible. Am I wrong? Do we not all agree on this much? Let me know if you don’t.