Friday, January 26, 2007

Spade + Spade = Religious War

I am sure most of us have heard the expression "let's call a spade a spade." Let's do it now, shall we?

With the current war in Iraq, much verbosity is being expended at "civil war," "factionalism," etc. One would hope that common sense and reason would carry the day. Why must they be "Shiites?" Why must they be "Sunnis?" How about all of them being "Iraqis?" How about pulling together to salvage a country? Well, they can't. Their respective Islamic interpretations don't allow for such a thing. There is no such thing as patriotism in Iraq. I question whether there is such a thing in any Middle Eastern country. The type of patriotism I am talking of seems strictly American.

There is another side to this question. Our government loves to talk about "ideology." But they refuse to recognize that this particular war, as are most of them in that part of the world, is religious in nature. That is why it will take other measures to stop it.

A friend of mine co-led a tour to Israel a few years ago. He did an on-camera interview with an Israeli official, and made the point in the course of the interview that the struggle was with Islam. The Israeli official ordered the videotaping to stop. With the camera off, he told my friend the following.

"Since Israel's founding, we have called this an Arab-Israeli dispute. That limits things to the countries that surround us. If you make this an "Islamic" dispute, you have doubled if not tripled our enemies."

That ought to tell us something. No matter what...the World Trade Center (1993 and 2001), the Cole...Somalia..Madrid...Indonesia..Thailand..etc. The enemy is radical Islam. It's a religious war. And because it is religious, the war is driven by loyalties transcended by national flags and the usual constraints to which most of us here in the West hold. The only way to win this war is to recognize if for what it is, and press for total defeat of the enemy. Unconditional surrender. Our enemies already have that idea in mind. They want our unconditional surrender.

For all of our sakes, that had better not happen. We'd better begin fighting this war in earnest. Or else.


Kingdom Advancer said...

Some people almost want to blame the U.S. for supposedly making Iraq "worse than when Saddam Hussein was in power." First off, I don't agree with that assessment. But, secondly:
If the Iraqis can't handle freedom, how is that our fault?
If the Iraqis care more for factions than for country, how is that our fault?
If the Iraqis are welcoming insurgent back-ups from Iran and Syria, how is that our fault?

The U.S. military did (and is doing) it's job. It's the Iraqis fault that this war is a mess--the Sunnis and Shiites and all the other factions within those major groups are what's keeping this war alive--not some ghastly mis-strategy of the Americans.

All that being said, I still think there are a lot of Iraqis (if not the majority)--especially the Kurds in the North--who probably want freedom and peace.

Kingdom Advancer said...

By the way, Joel: since I haven't posted an update since Tuesday, I wanted to let you and your readers know that I wrote a comprehensive and extensive update today on the Dakota Fanning, "Hounddog," situation. It includes links to other articles and reviews of the movie, as well.

SolaMeanie said...

Thanks for the tip. I'll check it out.

Have you noticed all the Hollywood apparatchiks out in defense of "art?" Andres Sarrano (sp) and his famous jar of urine was supposed to be art as well.

One thing I think to note here..we can't expect non-Christians to act or think like Christians. They truly don't get it. Romans chapter 1 and 2 Timothy 3 are very instructive in understanding why.

Ann said...

This is breathtakingly absurd and arrogant. Bomb the hell out of a country the leader of whom you helped equip, impose sanctions that kill millions of its children, covet and steal its oil, massacre two thirds of a million Iraqis and play off one group against another with the help of false flag ops from Israeli agents to break up the country, then to add insult to injury you go ahead and try to blame the victims.

"Can't handle freedom"? What a load of preposterous nonsense. You call invasion and destruction "freedom"? You call looting the cradle of civilization "freedom"? Its your lauded patriotic USA (the "only country, according to you, that "strictly" practises patriotism) that is witnessing peoples freedoms eroded, with the Patriot Acts I and II, the Military Commissions Act that suspended Habeus Corpus, and wiretapping and dangerous extension of executive power that removes congressional checks and balances.

I am a Christian, and that you call yourselves Christian and conveniently forget Christ's central messages really dismays and confounds me. No-one wins in war except the war profiteers. The USA is no more winning this war, and can not win this war, than Iraq can.

SolaMeanie said...


Since you are being blunt, so will I. Your comments are more in tune with far-left wing talking points rather than with the whole of Scripture, reality or history.

I'll be the first to say I don't agree with everything our country does or has done over the years. It does little good to get into a urinating contest over who did what, when and why. This country's history with Saddam needs to be seen in view of the Cold War as well as the Iranian revolution in 1979 after American hostages were taken. Did you forget that little incident?

Regardless of his history with the United States, Saddam violated 17 U.N. resolutions and broke the cease fire agreement that HE signed at the end of the first Gulf War when HE invaded Kuwait. The United States responded properly in removing him from power. If the United Nations doesn't want it's own resolutions enforced, then perhaps it should stay out of things.

I suggest that you might do a little bit of study into Islamic history, and you also seem to know very little about American history if you could make such uninformed remarks. Abraham Lincoln, who is much loved in Europe, also suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War and appropriated money without the consent of Congress. Stuff like that happens in war time. Look at some of our presidents' actions in past wars, including those of FDR, the darling of the left.

I also must say that your knowledge of Christianity is coming through a lens other than Scripture. The God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament. The church is to proclaim the Gospel. It is not the responsibility of governments to proclaim the Gospel. All nations will give account to God for their actions, and God will judge nations on how they treated His people Israel. Europeans especially will be held accountable for their rank anti-Semitism.

The book of Romans says very plainly that the state doesn't bear the sword for nothing. There has long been a just-war principle in Christianity. Whether this particular conflict falls under that category is open for discussion, but Christianity is NOT pacifistic.

As for my discussion of patriotism that so rankled you, there is indeed a particular American notion of patriotism that is rooted in our history. American patriotism is often mocked overseas as "flag-waving." Many on the left today (not to mention Europeans) seem to have no notion of loyalty to country. Most left-wingers are enamored with the idea of being "global citizens" and view patriotism to a country as an outmoded idea. Look how much heat conservatives in Britain take over their skepticism of the European Union. If I lived in Britain, I'd want my laws made in London, not Brussels. But that's another subject for another time.

So, let's not chide too much on arrogance. Europeans of the globalist mindset have plenty of it.

Ann said...

Dear Joel,

Thank you for your response and for accepting my honest plain-speaking. I accept yours in the same spirit and recognize that Christianity is a broad church, and that ours are very different viewpoints.

Let us suspend the political partisan epithets however, Joel, the rightwing, leftwing, liberal or conservative. I write as a sincere seeker with an open mind. I have right-wing friends and do not mind robust debate. One often gains more from this than when you do engaging with those who are like-minded. But nor do I wish to trespass on your time or blog comments, so I’d invite you to point me to links that explain, scripturally, just why we have to let Israel off the hook for practicing objectionable policies and for its punitive actions?

For me, Joel, this is less a political issue than just a straight moral one. Aren’t we God’s people too; aren’t the Palestinians who are being imprisoned and choked by Israel’s worse than apartheid policies God's people? Is it right that off the boat Russian Jews have "rights" that override Palestinians who have lived their for generations? Is the migrant automatically one of God's Chosen people, and the Palestinian native, be they Christian or Muslim, automatically a second class citizen who often loses their home and livelihood -- is that somehow right?

I have dear friends in both Israel and the US, and criticism of Israeli policies is not anti-semitic. There are Christian Palestinians too, and Lebanese Christians, the Palestinians suffering because of the longstanding occupation, the apartheid policies that attempt to artificially maintain a Jewish majority at the expense of the indigenous Palestinian population, and in the case of Lebanon, a second awful invasion last year to follow the one in 1982, this time responsible for killing 1200 people, most of them non-combatants, and destroying civilian infrastructure across the whole country. For what? For capturing three soldiers? For targeting combatants, unlike Israel? Israel unlawfully holds thousands of Palestinian prisoners and hundreds of Lebanese. It has destroyed a whole country, massacred whole families such as at Qana, where Jesus enacted a miracle, and this is OK by you? I’m just asking and trying to understand.

Why is it permissible to invade the whole of Iraq merely to overthrow Saddam? With all of its intelligence and resources, we needed to sow destruction of the whole country there as well; we couldn't have simply captured him and/ or overthrown his government?

Thank you for pointing out the number of UN resolutions Saddam Hussein ignored. Applying the same standard, will the US invade Israel for violating even more UN resolutions, when they aren’t being vetoed by the US? How about UN resolution 242 just for a start?

The one Israeli PM I supported, Yitzhak Rabin, was murdered by a fanatic Jew. The Israeli establishment doesn’t want peace with its neighbors, because its fundamentally about stealing more Palestinian land and building more illegal settlements. With American money and the support of American Christian Zionists who let them get away with murder.

Aah yes the taking of American hostages in Iran – in which not a single American was killed. Allow me to mention another not insignificant incident – the rebuffing by Cheney of offers of Iranian dialogue and cooperation and his nixing talks planned agreed to American diplomatic officials. He seems intent on a war, regardless.

With respect to purported European arrogance, two wrongs do not make a right. Nor do I accept the notion, nay canard, that there is a rank anti-Semitism in Europe. (you write: “Europeans especially will be held accountable for their rank anti-Semitism”). If that were so, why is the fastest growing Jewish community in Germany (not the US)?

I write to you not as a European nor as one who disdains nationalism, moreover, but as a citizen of one of the US’s staunchest allies. I am also critical of my own government, as is my right and duty as a citizen, one whose unconditional support of Israel I and others also view as morally wrong, let alone politically wrong.

In view of its bellicosity, racist policies preventing Arab family reunions and Jew-only roads, and illegal settlements, and unconscionable policies towards the Palestinians, forgive me for viewing this statement with incredulity: “God will judge nations on how they treated His people Israel.”

And who judges Israel and the way it is treating and abusing people? Are we not all God’s people, including Christians? Does this give the Israeli establishment a blank check to kill, humiliate, bomb and destroy others, often indiscriminately? How do you know your scripturally based support for Israel isn’t being abused? Can they do no wrong? How are they held accountable? Are atrocities, apartheid and destruction somehow biblically sanctioned?

Lastly, you suggest I look into American history, and I would be happy to do so. There is much I admire therein. If Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus he did so temporarily in a relatively short war. VP Cheney is talking of an “endless war” wherein measures that are designed as a concession during war or emergency are in danger of being enacted for much, much longer. I care too much about liberty not to be concerned about this.


SolaMeanie said...

Hi, Ann..

Thanks again for commenting, and for doing so in depth. I will answer your comments as soon as I can. I've been battling a nasty bug all week, plus I've got company this weekend. Look for my response in the next day or two.

Let me just say I appreciate your heart and willingness to dialogue in depth. Many "on line" don't have the patience for lengthy posts or discussion, but I enjoy it when it's in an irenic spirit. One thing to keep in mind about me..sometimes my writing comes across much more harsh than I mean it to be. I think we both probably came across much more snarky than we intended. Based on your post here, I think we can have an excellent exchange. The issues you raise are important, especially the issue of understanding how Christians are to deal with and regard Israel. Very quickly, the clue is understanding the prophetic significance of the issue. The Bible says that in the last days, God would draw Israel back to their land IN UNBELIEF as part of His program to again draw them to Himself, and for His glory. The Israelis today are largely secular in their outlook. As unregenerate people, they will make many decisions and take actions that are not necessarily holy or righteous. But it all fits in with God's last days plan. I'll try to explain all this in my next post.

So, until I can get back here, God bless you and have a wonderful weekend!


P.S. Do you know Abby? If so, tell her hi. She is another occasional correspondent from the U.K. I get her steamed now and then, too. LOL.

SolaMeanie said...

Oops. I see from your profile you're in Australia, not the U.K. My bad!

For the record, Ann...I love the Little River Band! (their classic lineup, not the current one. Birtles/Shorrock/Goble are back together again, which pleases me immensely. Beeb Birtles has been living here in the U.S. for the past 20 years or so..and is a devout believer.

Ann said...

Joel, I very much appreciate your response, and it was remiss of me to forget that the weekend was upon us! I hope you keep well, beat the bug and enjoy it.

Just to say that I also remember the original line-up of the LRB fondly as it reminds me of growing up here. When they made it in the US it was a source of much pride in Australia. I haven't heard much of them since apart from some sort of legal dispute about the ongoing use of the band's name.

Again, thanks and I look forward to a response whenever you do find some time, it would be great to read from you.


SolaMeanie said...

Hi, apologies for taking so long to answer. I am feeling a bit better now and am trying to get caught up. I get nailed with either bronchitis or pneumonia every year and this one was particularly nasty.

I'll try to answer as much as I can point by point. I am far from the final authority, but this is at least how I see things.

So many Christians mix their theology with politics these days. Since we are to have a biblical worldview, that is natural, I suppose, but no political party has a lock on righteousness as human institutions. I am conservative theologically and biblically, but godless conservatism is just as bad as godless liberalism.

I don't ignore things Israel does that are dubious. As I stated before, most Israelis are largely secular in their outlook. The Bible says they will be drawn back to the land in the last days in unbelief, so that God may complete His dealing with the nation. As they are in unbelief, they will do things from time to time with with which we don't agree. There are many prophetic passages that deal with the last days in the Old Testament. Isaiah 17 and the oracle of Damascus, Ezekiel 38 and 39, Daniel etc. Israel will be held accountable by God just as will other nations.

Regardless, the Abrahamic covenant is still in force. God gave Israel the land. Israel's dwelling in the land was always conditional on her obedience, with the exception of the aforementioned last days, when God draws them back in unbelief. This sets the stage for the "time of Jacob's trouble." For a time, Israel will receive a false Messiah, until the real one returns (Christ).

Nations will be held accountable on how they treat Israel. The judgment at the valley of Jehoshaphat is against the nations for "dividing My land." Furthermore, to the physical seed of Abraham, God says "whoever blesses you I will bless, and whoever curses you I will curse." That ought to be sobering to people.

Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and Arab Israeli citizens have FAR more rights than Jews do in Muslim lands. There are Arab Israeli members in the Knesset. Nothing excuses the Palestinians' actions of terrorism against innocent civilians. There would be peace tomorrow if the terrorist attacks would stop. Unfortunately, the Palestinian radicals don't want a two state solution. They want all of the land and for Israel to be driven into the sea.

I don't deny that there have been some Israeli oversteps where innocent people have been hurt or killed, but the balance scale just doesn't compare with the other side. By and large, Israel tries to avoid civilian casualties. On the other side, the Palestinians cheer anytime a Jew dies.

I would encourage you to remember what led to the creation of the modern state of Israel to begin with. The Holocaust. Jews have been oppressed in nearly every nation they've been in. (There is a theological reason for that also, both God's judgment as well as the fact Satan hates them for the Messiah). The United Nations divided the land down the middle, but the Arabs would have none of it. Israel fought five defensive wars, in fact, they were attacked immediately after the state of Israel was declared in May 1948.

Did you know that originally, the Israelis pleaded with the Arab population not to leave in 1948, but to remain and build the nation together? Instead, the Arab political leaders promised the local Arab population to go into the camps, as it was only a matter of time until the Jews were driven into the sea. God had other plans. The so called Palestinian refugee crisis is the fault of the Arab governments.

What would we do (or better yet, what would Canberra do) if another nation lobbed missiles into its capital city? Israel has the right to defend herself. Why is it that we only heard calls for Israel to restrain herself in the most recent conflagration provoked by Hezbollah? No one asked Hezbollah to stop or show restraint. If there are civilian casualties in Beirut or Lebanon, is it not because the terrorist militia purposefully operates in civilian areas?

The Iraq issue is another matter about which debate will rage. If the UN doesn't want its resolutions enforced, then they shouldn't pass them. Militarily speaking, you can't invade a country and overthrow its leadership without taking the whole country. Imagine trying to get rid of Hitler merely by putting paratroopers into Berlin.

As to the U.N. resolutions against Israel, I imagine there will be a coalition forming to do just that. Biblically, the Gog-Magog invasion of Israel has to have a trigger. Perhaps there will be a Russian coalition that operates just as our coalition did to overthrow Saddam. But we know that biblically, the Russian coalition will be destroyed by God. (Ezekiel 38 and 39).

This is about all I have time for today. I'll close by saying that as Christians with a biblical worldview (and that means the WHOLE counsel of God), we need to be less concerned with what the UN says or secular governments say, and more concerned with what God says. Events before Christ's coming will take place just as predicted. Our main job is to share the Gospel, which alone can change the human heart.

SolaMeanie said... more thing. European anti-Semitism is not a canard. Governments (including Germany) have long been expressing concerns about its resurgance. This is well documented by Radio Free Europe and other news sources.