Clearing the Air on the Iraq Crisis
of truth on Iraq?
The below clippings are presented as an alternative
to the nearly monolithic perspective presented in the local and regional media
on the current Iraq crisis. While we may not wish to agree with all or even
much of what is clipped below, it seems to me that it is at least worth the
investment of time to broaden our perspectives.
Romans 13:1 - 7
In light of a disturbing conversation I recently had
with some sincere Christians who evinced ignorance on the biblical principles
of morality relating to civil government and the use of force, I include an
excerpt from Rom 13:1 – 7, and comment briefly on it:
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities,
for there is no authority except that which God has established.
The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Consequently he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against
what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgement
on themselves. style='color:red'>For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those
who do wrong.style='mso-spacerun:yes'> Do you want to be free from fear of the one
in authority? Then do what is right
and he will commend you.
For he is God’s servant
to do you good.
But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the class=SpellE>the sword for nothing. He
is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit
to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because
This is also why you pay taxes, for the
authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.style='font-size:8.0pt;font-family:Verdana;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial'>style='mso-spacerun:yes'> Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes,
then pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if class=SpellE>honour, then honour.
I have highlighted the critical portion of Paul’s
remarks. We see where, though his primary
focus is on the duties of citizenship, in addressing this, as usual Paul highlights
the corresponding duties of civil authorities:
- Being God’s servant to do the citizen goodstyle='font-size:8.0pt;font-family:Verdana;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial'> – i.e.
looking after the general and particular welfare of the citizens, especially
through maintaining justice
- Doing good to the citizens, commending the
right and restraining the wrong through the deterrence of the
sword, or if that fails, punishing wrongdoers
- Governing:style='font-size:8.0pt;font-family:Verdana;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial'> that is,
properly administering the affairs of the state in the interests of the public
and even the individual citizen, with high competence backed up by undivided
loyalty and attention – the basis for reasonable (as opposed to confiscatory
– “Thou shalt not steal”) taxing power
Clearly, the principal qualification, objective –
and test -- of the civil authority is justice.style='mso-spacerun:yes'> However, the power of the sword, administrative
control and taxation are inevitably a great temptation, leading to two principal
problems, corruption and tyranny. Compounding this is simple incompetence,
due to a gap between power and wisdom.style='mso-spacerun:yes'>
Thus, we come to the issues envisioned in the US Declaration
of Independence of 1776, namely the rights of reformation and if necessary
The Right of Reformation – and if necessary, Revolution
This sounds peculiarly strange to Christian
ears, but let us first see what the US DOI says:
Arial;color:black'>We hold these truths to be self-evident:style='font-size:8.0pt;line-height:120%;font-family:Verdana;mso-bidi-font-family:
That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator
with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted
among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that
whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the
right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government,
laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such
form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not
be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience
hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable
than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same
object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their
right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new
guards for their future security.
for a direct precursor]
Indeed, we can see the roots of this political philosophy
in the biblical history of Israel, where there were several revolutions in
the face of the tyranny of Kings warned of by Samuel in 1 Sam 8:1 – 20.
Moreover, we have the words of the apostles in Acts
5:27 – 39, esp. v. 29, when the authorities in Jerusalem wished to silence
the leaders of the early church:
“We gave you strict orders not to teach in his name
. . . Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined
to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”
“We must obey God rather than
men! The God of our Fathers
raised Jesus from the dead – whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree
. . .”
This case is especially revealing, as it shows how
the authorities plainly intended to use the power of the sword to cover up
an earlier injustice on their part – the judicial murder of Jesus – by silencing
those who spoke the truth. So, ever
since, the cross has loomed on the skyline of cities and their magistrates,
as they contemplate their duty of justice.
Plainly, there is a limit to the just power of governing
authorities. One that, should they
persistently overstep, people have a right to protest and seek reformation,
flee or -- in the extreme case -- to appoint representatives who, using their
new status of legitimate power, seek to change the government, by peace if
possible, by force if necessary to protect life and prevent further injustice.
This has been long since discussed in the works such as class=SpellE>Duplesis Mornay’s class=SpellE>Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos [cf. style='font-size:8.0pt;font-family:Verdana;color:black'>href="http://capo.org/premise/96/aug/p960810.html">http://capo.org/premise/96/aug/p960810.html
for its impact on the US Revolution], or Rutherford’s href="http://www.natreformassn.org/lexrex/index.html">Lex,
Rex, or even Francis Schaeffer’s A Christian Manifesto.
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>But What of National Sovereignty?style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>
In the case in view, we are looking at the international
situation. For that context, the right of self-defense in the face of blatant
aggression is not in dispute – though propaganda can sometimes lead well-intentioned
people to imagine that aggression is not what it is, as has happened with
Israel in the face of half a century of declared intent and repeated attempts
to destroy it.
(Consider: why is it that lands repeatedly used as
stages for wars of declared intent to annihilate “the Jews” that were then
captured by that doughty nation in defending itself are demanded back without
reasonable resolution of the underlying issue?)
What is in dispute today, is the new situation, in
which the world confronts faceless terrorism to advance the islamist
cause, potentially using so-called weapons of mass destruction, as well as
failed states with tyrannical, rogue regimes that seek to acquire class=SpellE>WMDs to use and/or to share with their terrorist partners
through their intelligence services.
But, what about sovereignty?style='font-size:8.0pt;font-family:Verdana;mso-bidi-font-family:Arial'>style='mso-spacerun:yes'>
The best answer lies in considering the issue of aggressive
tyranny that threatens to spill over into wars of aggression.style='mso-spacerun:yes'> For, as the history of the 1930’s clearly shows,
when dictators rise to power and begin to acquire
the means of international aggression, prompt action by the great powers could
avert the horrors that such dictators are wont to unleash.
For instance, after the First World War, Germany,
as the principal aggressor, was subjected to a regime of arms control and
inspection. However, the inspections
failed (due to non-compliance and evasion) and Hitler was able to tap the
resentment over defeat and the terms of the peace as well as economic instability
and rise to power.
His first act of aggression was to attempt to re-occupy
the Rhineland in 1936, which had long been the forge on which the German sword
was made. Under the terms of the Versailles
Treaty, French troops occupied the zone, but there had been an uprising in
1923, leading to several deaths of civilian protesters under questionable
The French failed to stand their ground, even though
Hitler’s intent was evident to all who would but seriously read his class=SpellE>Meinstyle='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'> Kampf, which
had been written in 1923, after he had been jailed for an attempted coup –
the half-comical, but ever so portentous Munich Beer Hall Putsch.style='mso-spacerun:yes'> Had the French and other leaders of the League
of Nations simply resisted the German bluff (which was not backed by serious
military strength), Hitler would have had to turn tail, and his regime would
have collapsed. No wonder Churchill
remarked in his The Gathering Storm,
that never had there been a war that could so easily have been averted as
the Second World War.
A few years later, after forcible incorporation of
Austria into the now growing Reich, and after a campaign of agitation based
on the bogus claim that the Czechs were oppressing the ethnic Germans in the
Sudetenland, Chamberlain and Daladier handed over
these lands to Hitler at the now infamous Munich summit.
The picture of Neville Chamberlain returning to Britain
and triumphantly waving the agreement, announcing that Appeasement had achieved
“peace in our time,” is now deservedly infamous.
In the aftermath of this fiasco, Roosevelt asked Hitler
to clarify his non-aggressive intent towards the nations of Europe and the
nearby regions. As William class=SpellE>Shirer records in his The
Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Hitler replied
in a clever speech at the port city of Hamburg.
TRhe sum of that speech was this: (1) class=SpellE>Mr Roosevelt was a fine one to be raising such questions while
standing on the bones of the dead Indians, and (2) he would be best advised
to inquire of the British and French, who had carved up the world between
Six years and nearly sixty million dead later, the
world learned a lesson that one had thought would never be forgotten.
The main lesson can be summarised:
failure to stand up to aggression, because one is repelled by the horrors
of a limited war, may set the nations don the road to a later war when aggressors
have built up their capacity, ending in an unimaginable scale of barbarity,
devastation and loss of life.
The second is like unto it: in a mass-media, public-opinion
driven democratic age, aggressive tyrants will use the so-called “Turnabout”
propaganda stratagem, to create the impression that they are the aggrieved,
oppressed party. Echoing a current
slogan, one could ever so easily imagine the chant: “Hitler is no angel –
but Churchill is no saint!”
But, there is a third lesson: aggressors and tyrants
leave behind them a trail of evidence: re-armament in the teeth of treaty
obligations, oppression and scapegoating of minorities
in their own country, suppression of civil rights, mass murder of their own
civilian population (Hitler started on the infamous 1934 “Night of the Long
Knives,” in which he slaughtered hundreds of alleged plotters and personal
enemies all over Germany).
Thus, it should be possible to identify and restrain
such would-be aggressors well in advance, and to hold them accountable before
treaty and human rights obligations. Indeed,
that is one of the major reasons for the cluster of Human Rights and armaments
control agreements that are embedded in the UN system! style='mso-spacerun:yes'>
The problem is, that there
may not be the moral clarity will to stand up in good time.style='mso-spacerun:yes'> This was why the League of Nations failed, and
that is the peril that evidently faces the UN today.
But does Iraq really pose a threat?
tyrannical and aggressive track record is not in doubt.style='mso-spacerun:yes'>
Over the twenty plus years since he seized power,
he has twice launched wars of aggression against his neighbours:
Iran, 1979, and Kuwait, 1991. He has
lobbed 39 ballistic missiles into Israel’s cities. style='mso-spacerun:yes'> He has slaughtered upwards of a hundred thousand
of his own countrymen, especially the Kurds in the North and the Shiite Muslims
of the South. In so doing, he has resorted to gas attacks – thereby violating
the longest-standing set of arms limitations obligations -- not only against
opposing armies and guerrilla forces, but also against civilian villagers.
His torture chambers are notorious, as are the ruthless methods by
which he silences dissent, even to the level of personally shooting a Cabinet
Minister who dared to differ with him.
Unfortunately, the world has consistently lacked the
moral clarity to deal with these tyrannical and aggressive activities.style='mso-spacerun:yes'> Since Iran was perceived as the greater threat
in the 1980’s, Western nations supported Iraq in the war against Iran.style='mso-spacerun:yes'> The Kuwait invasion was triggered by an American
Ambassador’s remark that suggested that the US was indifferent to the underlying
dispute. When in the aftermath of the
resulting war the North and South rose up, only token help was given (resulting
for instance in the “No-fly zones”).style='mso-spacerun:yes'> Sanctions-busting is notorious, and no effective
counter has been made to the diversion of funds from the oil-for-food programme
to rearmament and the building of grandiose palaces. (The West of course,
is blamed for the resulting starvation and gaps in health class=GramE>services that has led to an estimated 500,000 deaths – never
mind the contrasting picture in the Kurd-controlled regions that are under
the same sanctions and relief programmes.)
Finally, the inspections and disarmament process have
built up a twelve year track record of chicanery as rearmament plainly continues.
Tied to this, there is a shadowy penumbra of worrying links to terrorist
incidents and organizations.
Credible direct and indirect threats that could easily
be deployed in support of the Baathist regime’s
agendas therefore include:
The use of improvised weapons -- such as the utility
knives and associated hijacking techniques developed by Iraqi Intelligence
services (who may well have trained al Quaida operatives
using training camps that are complete with disused 707 jets) -- to convert
civil airliners full of fuel and hapless passengers into cruise missiles.
Already, 3,000 are dead in one incident.
Short-range, IR-sensing shoulder-fired missiles capable
of bringing down airliners: possibly, TWA 800 is one case, and there was an
attempt in Mombassa Kenya
Ballistic missiles and drone aircraft capable of acting
as cruise missiles; delivering WMD warheads at ranges to 100’s or 1,000’s
of miles and ultimately intercontinentally.style='mso-spacerun:yes'> (In the case of the drones, we could wake up
any morning to learn that a ship hundreds of miles at sea has delivered such
a cruise missile tipped with anthrax to one or more coastal cities anywhere
in the world.)
Chemical WMD warheads with nerve gases such as class=SpellE>Sarin, Tabun, VX or the WWI vintage
gases such as Mustard Gas, capable of killing 100’s – 1,000s of people with
the equivalent of super-insecticides. (In fact, Sarin
and Tabun were discovered by German Chemists seeking
to create insecticides in the ‘30’s.) class=SpellE>Mr Hussein has already used such weapons against the Kurds
and the Iranians, and apparently the mysterious Gulf War Syndrome and a surge
in deformities and cancers in Iraq are due to attempts to use these horrors
By wrapping explosive warheads with intensely radioactive materials,
such as Plutonium (which is also a deadly poison), it is possible to spread
huge, toxic clouds across cities and regions.
While this would not kill a very large number of people (right away
– cancer!) it would spread panic far and wide similar to the Chernobyl accident.
Biological agents, such as Anthrax or Smallpox or
Bubonic Plague, or new germs created in biowar labs.
These can be delivered using warheads, or even through the mail.
They are capable of killing millions, through triggering epidemics.
Capable of wiping out entire cities with one blast.style='mso-spacerun:yes'> Sadly, in the 1960’s, it was demonstrated through
an experiment with first degree graduates in Physics with access to only open
literature, that within a couple of years, a credible weapons design can be
made for a fission bomb similar to those that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki
in 1945. Thus, anti-proliferation has
to focus on control of access to Plutonium, Highly Enriched Uranium and just
possibly Thorium, and on the key electronics components to trigger the blast.
Also, there are persistent rumours
of missing “suitcase nukes” from the arsenal of the former Soviet Union, which
were intended as battlefield demolition munitions.
to Terrorism: Piracy
It seems to me that the closest parallel to this so-called
asymmetric warfare situation is the traditional international problem of piracy,
which often depended for its success on sponsor states.style='mso-spacerun:yes'> Such states, at one time or another, included
Clearly, the hands of the major nations, then – as
now -- were not fully clean!
However, when the major nations finally came to a
consensus that this age-old horror was a threat to all, and made concerted
efforts to wipe it out, it was eventually largely suppressed.style='mso-spacerun:yes'> (It thrives today in the Philippines and off
Malaysia. There is even some still
in the Caribbean, linked to the drugs trade!)
But, along the way, that included wars against sponsoring
states, most notably against the home states of the Barbary Pirates of North
The difference is, that while 16th – 18th
Century pirates could sack a city or seize a ship, now the threat is on a
much larger scale, and it can come out of nowhere, with little or no warning,
to strike anywhere, leaving massive devastation and unconscionable loss of
life in its wake.
So, the challenge to the leaders of the nations is
how to use their power and charge to protect their citizens from evildoers,
to counter the new global threats.
Sadly, so far it seems the international community
is not doing a very good job.
In Prayer for Justice and true peace,
March 18, 2003
Moment of truth for the worldstyle='font-size:8.0pt;font-family:Verdana'>
A Star Tribune cartoon,
as republished Saturday in the Washington Post, has six panels, which surely
capture the ethos of our time . . .
Saddam's day of reckoning, America's year of discoverystyle='font-size:8.0pt;font-family:Verdana'>
. . . The
invasion of Iraq caps a year of high political comedy that, in the final analysis,
accomplished little for Saddam Hussein but changed the face of global politics
well into the foreseeable future . . .
Has U.S. diplomacy failed in Iraq crisis?style='font-size:8.0pt;font-family:Verdana'>
United States diplomacy failed in the Iraq crisis?
to many commentators, including some of those who support President George
Bush's stance, the answer is yes.
The truth is that we need historical perspective to know the answer
. . .
Blame the Jews?
Some Americans apparently believe that we are going to war with Iraq
"because of the Jews." Having written a book explaining
anti-Semitism ("Why the Jews? The Reason for class=SpellE>Antisemitism," Simon & Schuster), all I can do is
marvel at the durability of anti-Semitism and the eternality of the charge
that the Jews are responsible for everything anti-Semites fearstyle='mso-spacerun:yes'> . . .
Europe' and Sudan's jihad
THE LANGUAGE of human rights
flows smoothly from the lips of the leaders of France and Germany. But continuing
Franco-German hegemony in Europe is bad news for human rights, especially
for victims whose oppressors are European Union partners. Take, for example,
the victims of the Sudanese government's genocidal jihad. In the words of
US Secretary of State Colin Powell, there is ''no greater tragedy on the face
of the earth than the tragedy that is unfolding in the Sudan.'' . . .
Why we're going to liberate Iraq
The following is adapted from a speech I gave Saturday at Southern Oregon
University to a group largely made up of anti-war students and professional
activists . . .
My speech didn't go over too well with that crowd, so I thought I'd
try it out on WorldNetDaily's readers. style='font-size:8.0pt;font-family:Verdana;mso-bidi-font-family:Palatino'>
Since our purpose today
is to try to shed some light on America's imminent invasion of Iraq, let's
look at the situation together – honestly – and try to separate reality from
fantasy and foolishness . . .
The misguided peaceniks
Remember the old poster from the 1960s – "War is not healthy for
children and other living things"?
I think it's time to revise that for the sake of the misguided peaceniks
of this era – "War is not healthy for tyrants and other living thugs."
. . .
color:black'> Annan's arrogancestyle='font-size:8.0pt;font-family:Verdana'>
On television screens around the world, Kofi
Annan said: "The members of the Security Council
now face a great choice. If they fail to agree on a common position, and action
is taken without the authority of the Security Council, the legitimacy and
support of any such action will be seriously impaired."
Mr. Annan, you're dead wrong.
Military action by the United States is legitimized
by the U.S. Congress, not by the U.N. Security Council. style='mso-spacerun:yes'> On Oct. 16, 2002, Congressional Resolution 114
became Public Law 107-243 . . . .
Not another word is needed.
It is the U.N.'s 12-year failure to enforce 17 of its own resolutions
that has allowed Iraq to become a serious threat to the United States. Now
that Iraq is a threat which the U.S. must remove, Kofi
class=SpellE>Annan has the audacity to condemn the actions as "illegitimate."
This pronouncement by Kofi class=SpellE>Annan will make any action taken by the U.S. subject to the
war-crimes provisions of the International Criminal Court, in the eyes of
the United Nations . . .
Why Saddam must go
. . . To defeat Islamic terrorism, we must either deter or remove the
countries in which terrorism is manufactured. Groups like al-class=SpellE>Qaida thrive on state sponsors – countries that provide shelter,
funds, and/or the fundamentalist environment that breeds terrorism in the
first place. We must somehow motivate these states to abandon the terrorist
infrastructure they currently maintain . . . . style='mso-spacerun:yes'> As long as terrorism serves its purpose, as long
as there is more to gain than to lose, Mideast rulers
will continue to exploit terrorist strategy . . .
AND, TO BALANCE OFF OUR THINKING
. . .
The morality of war
In one last attempt to drum up support for war in Iraq, the White House
is wrapping itself in the divine . . .
fake papers on Iraq
color:black'>Investigation eyes possible role of foreign intelligence servicestyle='font-size:8.0pt;font-family:Verdana'>style='font-size:8.0pt;font-family:Verdana'>
March 13 — The FBI is looking into the forgery of a key piece of evidence
linking Iraq to a nuclear weapons program, including the possibility that
a foreign government is using a deception campaign to foster support for military
action against Iraq.
“IT’S SOMETHING we’re
just beginning to look at,” a senior law enforcement official said yesterday.
Officials are trying to determine whether the documents were forged to try
to influence U.S. policy, or whether they may have been created as part of
a disinformation campaign directed by a foreign intelligence service.