Thursday, February 15, 2007

Guest blogger--A different perspective on Iraq

So my uncle steve recently posted his thoughts on the war in Iraq, and he gave me permission to repost here with comments. So just to be very up front, I sort of largely disagree with most of what he says. The thing is, his views seem to me to represent: A. The views of some sizeable group of Americans. and B. The views of a rather large proportion of my mother's family, which makes up most of my extended family. So it would perhpas behoove me to react with curiosity and respect and gentleness. Following are excerpts from Steve's Blog

After listening to a couple of hours of debates in the US Congress tonight, I have formed some opinions about the ongoing war in Iraq.

#1. I don't believe we can cut & run in any way shape or form. There's too much evidence from history to show what will happen if we do. Al-Queda ready considers us weak, and for sure that is how we will be viewed in the eyes of every significant nation in the free world. With the dangers looming in Iran, N Korea, Venezuala, Syria, we can't afford to take a weak posture at this point.

It seems to me like the evidence goes the other way--I mean it seems to me that the lesson we apparently failed to learn in vietnam is that getting too involved in someone else's civil war is pointless and if/when we do so, our best bet is to realize our mistake as quickly as possible and extract ourselves ASAP--a kind of cutting one's losses. (Read more ...)

#2. We need a solid plan. I've heard that mostly from the Republicans, and I agree. The Democrats, for all their impassioned rhetoric about saving American lives, failed to provide any plan. The closest think I heard to a plan was at the end, when one of the Democrats said their plan would be to "put a fence around the funding" (for the war). Great plan, right.

I kind of agree with you about the democrats lacking a solid plan. I would love to hear the democrats saying "Here's our plan--we need to get our soldiers out of Iraq, ASAP, and the way we are going to make sure that happens is we are going to radically cut military expenditures."

#3. I don't think sending in additional troops is going to make a difference in the long run either. (Perhaps now you're wondering what political party I belong to? Read on). It seems evident that, especially with proven Iranian involvement (and this from the liberal media that has come out so vocally against the war), that this thing is going to get bigger & bloodier as time goes on. I think I heard a quote from one of the soldiers, stating something to the effect that whenever they get one area cleaned up, someone wants to kill them in some other area they are going into.

Again, I sort of agree with you. It seems to me that the whole thing is just going to continue to be bloody and a mess, and our best bet to remedy that situation is to *deescalate*, which is to say, to start bringing troops home immediately.

So where am I going? What is my solution? Here's my take, take it or leave it.

This is not a "winnable" war in the sense that our enemys will one day surrender & a truce will be signed. Nor is it a war we can retreat from. That would be nationalistic suicide. No, this war is unlike any other war, because the enemy is not who we think they are.

Are you still with me?

What we are fighting here has been definied as a clash of "civilizations", "ideologies", "doctrines", "religions". Pick your buzz word. This aspect of the war doesn't get talked about enough in the mainstream media, but I believe it is at the crux of the solution in Iraq. Sadly, I don't think it will ever be taken seriously, while men and governments continue to up the ante' - more funding, more money, more soldiers on the one hand, more suicide bombers, more IEDs, more kidnappings, terrorism, US & British Media Exploitation on the other. The stakes get higher and higher.

What if people all around the world started praying hard, very hard, for a solution? And what if they prayed to the God that created this world? What if people started really digging into the book of Revelation, Daniel, and other end-time prophecy books. What if we looked at it through the eyes of Jesus, as he gave his discourse to the apostles in Matthew 24? What if we took seriously news stories like the one out of Florida recently in which a man claimed to be Jesus Christ himself? What if we looked at what's happening in Jerusalem & the Temple Mount & started comparing it to what is written in scripture? Could we make some connections? Are we getting close to some HUGE event in World History? I would say so. And in fact, I think it's knocking right at our door this very hour.

I don't think the war in Iraq is going to end in a way either Democrats or Republicans think it could. Things will escalate. This is just the beginning of something much bigger. So what's my point? Where's my plan?

Pray baby, pray hard. Pray for the eyes & ears of the nations to open to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Pray that our leaders will get down on their knees and start making decisions based on wisdom from God. Pray that America, once a mighty Christian Nation, get back to her roots, and mostly pray for God's grace. I love my country, and for sure we are the most blessed country in the world, but we are also the most vile and decadant country in the world (yes, I said those both in one breath). Lots of people look at the Muslim religion as a religion of hate that breeds more hatred & violence. Can we get our eyes off the religion & start looking at what's behind the religion? Some Muslims look at America as the land of immorality, weakness, decadence - a nation filled with vileness. A land in which freedom has lost it's moral compass. We are the strongest military force in the world, yet we can't contain a miniscule country like Iraq (remember, the battle is the Lords). There are many lessons from the Bible we could learn from that will help us understand why, if our leaders would just listen.

So while the debate goes on all around us about what to do in Iraq, how to make our nation more secure, how to stop the terrorists before they stop us - I have one solution, and it's not my solution at all. It was written several thousand years ago, and it is still applicable today. Praise be to God. Here it is:

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, & pray, & seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and forgive their sin, and HEAL THEIR LAND" (2 Chron 7:14).

It sounds like you are saying that you think its possible to map the book of Revelation onto current world events and make appropriate decisions based on that mapping. Is that what you are saying?

It also sounds like you identify very strongly *both* with being American and with being Christian, and that indeed you see the two identities as being very strongly interconnected. Am I getting that right? Do you find this consistent with the way that Jesus interacted with nationhood and kingdomhood in the Bible stories? It seems to me that Jesus and the early church saw their being part of "The Way" as ... antithetical to their strongly identifying with/being loyal/committed to to a particular nation or kindgom or empire or people.

Do you think it's at all accurate to think of or look at the current Unites States as an empire? You kind of reference this when you talk about "the strongest military in the world not being able to contain a miniscule country like Iraq". This statement very much seems to be grounded in an imperialistic paradigm.


Anonymous said...

I am always interested when Americans say they are the most blessed nation on the earth. Certainly, they are the richest overall, but the most blessed? What is this sense of destiny as God's chosen people that so many Americans seem to share?

And as an Aussie I tend to think I come from a pretty darn good country too: we call it "the lucky country" (sometimes with heavy irony). Isn't this interesting; the difference between luck and being blessed.

Anonymous said...

So I'm surprised you didn't post the entire blog. You only got a prelude to my main point. I think you can do better than that, cant you Benjamin?

Benjamin Ady said...

Anonymous (Steve, if that's you). I did post the whole blog, you just have to click on the little "Read More" hyperlink right at the end.

Here, wait, I'll see if I can change it so that the whole main post also shows up at the top of the comments

elnellis said...

hey, i noticed you have me linked on your blog, i appreciate the link. have we met? i feel like we have...

Benjamin Ady said...

El Nellis,

Funny thing. I feel like we have too. There's something familiar about you in your blogger photo. But I don't remember having met you. I'm slightly enamored of MGHS, and I think I found your blog through them somehow. Places we could have met ... Revolution conference? Monkfish Abbey? Grace Seattle? a Dan Allender Conference? something associated with Cross Sound Church? Kindlings Muse? A casino somehwere? Hmmmmm...

Megs said...

Kate, I'm with you in wondering about the way States-siders worship their country. A two-hour drive north from here to Canada brings is into a paradigm similar to Australia - so perhaps there's a clue in the historical events which separate the Europeans who happened to end becoming "Canadian", and those who became "American".

Interestingly, Latin American countries are also extremely patriotic, in a manner similar to the USofA. Perhaps there was a quality in the Indigenous people of the Americas which lends itself towards fiercely loving one's country in 2007.

These mysteries...

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