Sunday, January 07, 2007

Damascus Road

President Bush has said that he intends to address his plans for the war in Iraq this coming week. It appears to be a poorly kept secret that the "new way" will involve sending 20,000 troops in what is being called a surge (meaning that it will only be temporary). Apparently some of these troops will come from those currently serving in Afghanistan, further destabilizing that volatile situation.

If all of this proves to be true it will be a sad state of affairs as the most powerful nation on the planet escalates a war in a place that has suffered greatly and poses no threat while increasing the chances of a hostile force, the Taliban, returning to power. I pray that this will not be the case.

Being a person of faith and an optimist by nature I see one glimmer of hope. Before Paul became an apostle of Christ, he was Saul, dedicated persecutor of Christ's followers. He had a sudden change, in a literal flash, on the road to Damascus. I know that George W. Bush is capable of a similar 180 degree turn because he has done that at least once in his lifetime. That critical moment for him was the time he decided that he was powerless over his addiction and turned his life around with the help of God. The thousands of American dead and the tens of thousands of Iraqi dead are victims of our nation's addiction to warfare. As Commander-in-chief, President Bush has the responsibility and authority to take the first step by admitting the mistake and making the new way in Iraq the way out of Iraq. It is a vulnerable, risky step, but a necessary one. It is also a valiant act of faith. May we all trust God enough to be our strength that we no longer need to trust in our weapons, remembering that the first step requires that we trust in a Higher Power to return us to sanity.

6 comments:

Hollands Opus said...

Ian
before I begin here, very creative application of Oh Holy Night. I sense the passion and your desire to share your meditations.

I do not think you would be surprised to find fundamental disagreement with respect to the broader scope of this issue. I believe George Bush initially had a brilliant vision of the enormity of global terror and the radical Islam that continue to fuel it. I beleive he initially had to the will to fight it.

Soon, however, he became a respecter of persons and could not maintain his "if you are not for us you are against us". I do think he was right in his axis of evil speech. He had it right ideologically and philosophically.

I also judge against the media for thier complicity in the political exploitation of this war to advantage liberal candidates. With thier sick count downs to "3,000" Americans dead and thier almost jubilant reporting of events that hurt Bush's credibility and absolutely cost American lives by fueling and driving the insurgency (this is obvious, as time and again the lunatic Islamist terrorists took language verbatim from CNN, NYT etc and used it in thier propganda - they have blood on thier hands and printing presses, thier was never much chance of winning the PR aspect of this war.

Having said that, and more could be said, I think I agree with you Ian. I do not think this is any longer a just war (in Iraq) for the cause of justice which made the loss of innocent life inevitable and tragic, has been abandoned. Now innocent people die without the best hope of deliverance for thier progeny and future culture. We should have been for more violent than we were with the insurgency, and not honored mosques when they were hidden in and when innocents were killed from them. Please do not get me wrong, I am not a "make a parking lot" out of Iraq type.

I do not know what the answer is. Iran now has a potential stronghold in Iraq and has been arming and aiding the insurgency.

But I do not think we have what it takes to win this war in Iraq. And tha is unfortunate, because it is unavoidable that another murderous dictator will arise, and Israel will be once again, surrouned by those that have a blood lust for her elimination.

I wish people would think mre about that also.

David J said...

I highly disagree that George W. Bush had a brilliant vision to counter terrorism. The lack of a reason to invade is evidence of that. First, it was weapons, than liberation and now democracy. What is the mission? We still don't know. This was was unconstitutional, irrational, and may have made the region more hostile than when Saddam ruled it.

It's sad that we always have to reference the evil PR coming from the media instead of the dead soldiers that continue to come home in body bags. To say the media is driving the insurgency is just flat out wrong and makes no illusions to reality. Even the newly installed generals have stated that there may be "no military solution to Iraq". The devil is in the details and not the evil left wing cabal. George Bush needs more than a damascus moment, he needs to be impeached. Other than that I offer no strong opinions.

Ian said...

Isn't it fascinating where common ground can be found? Coming from completely different starting points (I have opposed the war from the very start) we end up agreeing about the mess our nation is currently in.

What burdens my heart is the thought that war can ever provide an answer, particularly when we never attempt to wage peace (i.e. use benevolent foreign aid to win friends instead of fighting enemies). This way of acting strikes me an addiction to human power. It certainly doesn't demonstrate a faith in the power of God to protect and save us.

Hollands Opus said...

I would disagree that we never wage peace , Ian. I think that you can be vehemently opposed to war without simultaneously making that claim. I do not accept that America is nothing but war mongering. We spend a ton peaceful aid, more dollar for dollar than anyone. And private Americans also do much to help with thier wealth, i.e. Oprah and The Gates family, Bono, to promote education etc. And that is good, for private wealth is much more effective than government will ever be.

I hope this war ends soon, and that we can focus on genuine defense, and have the resources to destroy the enemey when attacked, and to prevent the attacks on the homleand, as we have done successfully for 5 years now, and that in large part due to the destruction we have wrought on radical Islam via Al-Quieda.

David
I surely did not mean to blame the media for the successes the enemy has had - Al Quaida has enough hate to make it on thier own, but if you cannot recognize that the media has been irresponsible and to some extent complicit, then I will just walk away from that arguement, for it is not my intention to concede any of that, and I try to chose the hills I am willing to die on.

Ian said...

30,000 children will die TODAY, mostly from preventable diseases. All the wealth of Oprah, Bono and the Gates' is not nearly enough to stop it. BUT, just a fraction of what has been spent killing Iraqi civilians and American soldiers could have vaccinated every child in the world against the diseases routinely prevented in the developed world...for generations! In addition, every village in every nook and cranny of the globe could have clean water. And there would still be money left over to ship food to those who are starving and even have a good deal of money to invest in small start-up businesses by budding Third World entrepreneurs if you want to really spread capitalism and democracy.

No, there is no way that waging peace has ever been truly attempted. We are too blind in our addiction to the military-industrial complex.

I'll agree that the media is complicit. They have reported with lapdog loyalty the fear mongering of terror alerts and have failed to mention the staggering death toll due to neglect in the undeveloped world.

And say what you want about the sickness of reporting in relation to the number of American deaths in this war, but surely it is cold comfort to say that the price of protecting us from terrorist attacks were the lives of an equal number of Americans. And that is only if you assume that we are safer today, which given the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan is likely not the case.

mkz said...

Ian, I applaud your analysis of how we could help so many in developing nations. I am warmed in a great way at the thought of children having a chance at a future, clean water to drink, and basic protection against common diseases we in America take for granted.
I feel concern however, that this view does not accurately represent the world stage. All the money, goodwill, vaccines, and education of the needy in the world will not secure them against the future that Radical Islam prepares to force on them by the sword. If we do not defend these innocents, as well as ourselves vigorously and with overwhelming force, one day we may be the last bastion of free Christianity left in the world, our money and resources spent, and those we spent them on dead or enslaved to a religion that promises death to any who dare to reject their idea of `God`.
Painfully I have to admit, we in our pride grossly underestimated the resolve and cost the war on terror would exact from us. Gone it seems are the American ideals and fortitude that lead us and our allies to victory over the last great threat of evil that challenged the peace and democracy of our little planet. Now, as would have happened then, we will be shot in the back by the enemy we underestimated, as we retreat from Iraq. Iran will expand it`s influence, its militants, and it`s radical fanaticism, slaughtering as they advance all who dare to disbelieve in Allah, as the Koran demands. Our shameful loss there will only inevitably bring the battle to our own door, which is exactly what President Bush pushed so hard, if incopmetently, to achieve from his Damascus moment concerning the fate of freedom and democracy that looms before us all.
On a brighter note, I feel that the last six lines of your composition hold all the passion and skill present in the great hymns we as Christians praise God with every Sunday during worship. God has indeed gifted you Ian. I believe from reading this,it would be to the glory of the Father that you continue to compose, and if possible set to music your passion for praise. I would be encouraged in my faith to sing songs such as these to the Lord.