Latin American opinion on US’s decision to go to war

If most of the world was against the United States going to war in Iraq, and Colin Powell was unable to get nine out of 15 members of the United Nations National Security Council to vote in favor of the U.S. going to war on Iraq, why did we go to war? Lindy Scott, director of the Costa Rica Center, explored that idea, and others on Thursday, March 29.

Scott spoke about Latin Americans and the war in Iraq as part of the Great Decisions lecture series. He presented that opinions across the world about the war differ from those held by Christians in the U.S.

The lecture was based on an essay Scott wrote, which has now been published in a book titled “Terrorism and the War in Iraq: A Christian Word from Latin America,” with a section by Dr. René Padilla. Padilla’s section addressed the issue of U.S. support and rejection of dictators. If the U.S. supported Saddam and then decided he was a threat, did the U.S. do the same thing in Latin America with other dictators?

Sophomore engineering physics major Jacob Hunter attended Scott’s lecture and a different lecture Scott gave in Duvall on Tuesday night, and said he learned a lot from both.

“I found it very interesting to hear what the Latin American response [to the war] was,” Hunter said.

The ideas presented by Scott grew out of his concern that the Church in North America could not hear what the Church in Latin America was saying.

“If the Church is to be God on earth, the body of Christ, then in an area so important as war, how can we disagree so widely?” Scott said.

Scott analyzed the Just War Theory and how it was not carried out in the planning of the war on Iraq. He found 150 statements from Latin American Christians regarding their opinion of the war. There were 149 against the war — the other one said the war could be a part of God’s apocalyptic plan.

It’s not just Latin Americans who were against the war. There were Christians in Asia and Australia who spoke out, as well. The decision to go to war with Iraq may have been former President George W. Bush’s “greatest” decision in its magnitude and cost, but its greatness in regard to moral goodness was not so great, as Scott presented through his lecture.

Hunter said the U.S. doesn’t take criticism well.

“The U.S. gets so full of itself that if someone says they’re wrong, they say, ‘OK, we’re going to ignore you now,’” Hunter said. “It’s really unfortunate.”

Making an impact at the Costa Rica Center

Scott has been the director of the Costa Rica Center for two years. Previously, he taught Spanish at the north Whitworth campus for three years. Before that, he worked at Wheaton College, wrote several books and spent a lot of time in Latin America.

Scott has spent more than 15 years in Mexico alone, where he helped found the Evangelical Free Church denomination in Mexico. He met his wife, who is Brazilian, during his travels.

Both Scott and his wife were teaching Spanish at Whitworth when the opportunity in Costa Rica arose. He knew it would be a good opportunity, and that he and his wife would be able to cover many of the courses: Spanish, Latin American culture and Core 350.

“It gives students the opportunity to study Spanish, Latin American culture, and to thrive in their study of gen eds, and to experience another culture,” Scott said. “Now that departments are adopting semesters, professors have these opportunities as well.”

Junior Lauren Davies, who is studying both Spanish and communication, studied at the Costa Rica Center last spring. She said she was impressed with the staff at the center and how sustainable everything was. She said she has brought environmental concepts that she learned in Costa Rica, such as conserving energy by turning the lights off, back to Spokane.

“It can change your life,” Davies said. “I know people that aren’t the same now that they were when we went.”

Scott’s work not only impacts people at the Costa Rica Center, but Scott said he hopes that through his work on the topic of Latin American Christians and the war in Iraq, several things will come about. One is to fill the void that seems to be present between Christians in the U.S. and in Latin America. Scott said he wants to speak the truth and be heard, and that one of his goals is to provide help for avoiding communication gaps like this in the future.

Story by Jasmine Pallwitz Staff Writer

Photography by Megan Hinzdel

Contact Jasmine Pallwitz at jpallwitz15@my.whitworth.edu.

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