Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Iraq & Afghanistan and the Propoganda Wars

What to believe! It seems that the actual events unfolding in Iraq and Afghanistan these days have become buried beneath an avalanche of propoganda from all direction.

Yesterday we saw headlines covering the killing of 50 Taliban in Afghanistan.

Today the headline story from the LA Times focuses on the 16 civilians killed in that same attack.

Are we winning the battle and losing the war?

Yesterday one headline proclaimed, "New Iraqi Government Approved."

Another paper headlined, "16 Die in Bagdad bombings as new government is being formed."
Every positive spin is countered by a negative one.

"President announces that Guantanamo detention center will be closed."
"UN demands closure of Guantanamo facility."

"Tax Cuts Extended"
"Gap between Rich and Poor Continues to Grow"

"Immigrants Necessary to Fuel US Economy"
"Illegal Immigrants Impose Massive Burden on Education, Medical Care and other Social Programs"

"ANWAR Oil will reduce dependence on Middle East"
"ANWAR Oil will destroy fragile North Slope ecosystem"

It some ways it seems, in large part, to be a "Republican vs Democrat" propoganda war.

Never in my lifetime have I seen such political division in our nation.

Should we "stay the course" in Iraq or "pull out" and let the Iraqi's bear the burden of sacrifice for themselves?

Should we attack Iran's nuclear facilities before they can construct a nuclear weapon and bear the blame for the world-wide terrorist epidemic that would follow or should we continue to wait and hope that Iran will act reasonably and with restraint once they have acquired that weapon?

Are we winning the war on terrorism?

Are we losing the war on terrorism?

Are the Republicans the "Party of Corruption?"

Are the Democats the "Party of Corruption?"


Personally my take on this is that the negative spins are probably what our nation's enemies would like to be putting in our news reports.

Does this mean that Democrats are in cahoots with our enemies? No, of course not. It is possible that they both could be right!

On the other hand I tend to be an optimist and love to swallow up all the good news that I can get. Does that make me "objective?" or a "sucker?"

As far as Iraq and Afghanistan are concerned I tend to be more pursuaded by field reports from our US military and the soldiers themselves who are seeing things from the dirty, bloody trenches. Those who face IEDs every day are more likely to have a sense of whether things are going forward or backwards. And so far, most of these reports indicate that we are going forward in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

On the other hand, those in Iraq who lose family members in a car bombing may have quite a different perspective on things. "If only the Americans would leave then we might have some measure of peace again. My husband/sister/child would still be alive today if the United States had not invaded our country and occupied it."

So it is that I weep for the sin of the world in which we are so tragically entangled.

It is neither good nor right to either initiate war or to stand back while those whose goal is to destroy us grow stronger.

Is their no other alternative than to sin one way or the other? I believe that the answer is "Yes." We must sin or perish. We must get our hands dirty in blood and violence lest we be consumed by it ourselves.

Can this be true? Is it really coming down to "dog eat dog" or the "survival of the fittest?" Or are we all basically the same as humans; wanting peace but just misunderstanding one another? Can the lion lay down with the lamb and the child put his hand on the adder's den? Is the Kingdom of God "at hand" and within reach if we would only "think peace" and "love our enemies?"

Common sense and experience says , "No!" but my Lord and Savior of the world says, "Yes."

So I conclude that what the world needs more than anything else is a complete and total surrender to the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. The tangle of sin and the impasse of bloodshed and violence in which we find ourselves is like a Gordian Knot we are neither clever enough to untie nor powerful enough to cut through like an Alexander. We are simply not "Great" enough.

Only God is both "great" and "good" enough to resolve the mess we now find ourselves in.

There is no doubt, of course, that we, as Americans & Iraqis, Afghanis, Taliban & al-Qaeda, as Iranis, Chinese & North Koreans and all the rest will play out our parts in the drama. Things will go either badly or very, very badly.

But, if God is true to the Word that has been revealed to us then goodness and light will triumph in the end.

Neither Republican nor Democrat will usher in the Kingdom of God or a world of eternal peace. Neither the might of the US military nor the suicidal determination of those we deem to be terrorists will lead us either into or away from this kingdom by their own will and desire, sacrifice and cleverness.

In the end, neither death, terror, irreconcilalbe politcal differences, cruelty, torture, radical Islam, nuclear attack, SARS, AIDS, tsunamis, hurricanes evil or darkness and Satan himself will be able to separate us from the love of God through Christ Jesus our Lord.

This is not fact. It is faith. But it is not a blind faith because God has shown that it can and has been done before. For those who love God and have been called according to his purpose slavery will always end in liberation; Oppression will always end in freedom; Good Friday will always end in Easter.

In spite of the best--or the worst--we can do.

Until that day comes all we are called to do is to repent, to trust in God and to live out what God commands and leads us to do as best we can. Even when it means loving our enemy. Even when it means violently resisting what we believe to be evil. Even when it means non-violent resistance. Even when we disagree. Even when every choice given to us stinks of sin.

In the end, this is the only hope that we have. Yet it is all the hope that we need. It is enough. After all, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. And, three days later, while were still sinners, the Easter victory was won for all of us--and in spite of us! Thanks be to God.

Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.