Should the US Pull Out of Iraq?

F. Earle Fox

1. Americans are Poor Strategists

I have been supportive of our efforts to free Iraq from the terrorism of Saddam Hussein, not always comfortably so, but on balance feeling that President Bush did the right thing.  Too many things seemed to be going the right way, and the media hype against the war appeared to me to be more politically than reality motivated.  Too many stories were filtering back about the good things happening not reported in the press. 

And, perhaps most deeply, I cannot see the excuse for not intervening against a brutal tyranny when that is possible (see the link at the end of this article on Hitler, etc.).  I think there have been worthy motives in the invasion of Iraq. 

On the other hand, I knew that our goal of establishing a secular (liberal) democracy was wrong and unworkable, but had hoped that a liberal democracy might be a stepping stone, at least, to honest intellectual and spiritual engagement among the Muslims.  But honest intellectual engagement is only window dressing in a liberal democracy -- as in any socialistic enterprise.  Liberal democracy is about control, not freedom.  Control of the mind and will rather than by force of arms -- unless necessary.  As in government control of education. 

I have been reading much about the growing American "Empire" mainly in Chronicles magazine, and have learned much about the nature of "conservatism" from their articles (though many seemed to be more whining about the disaster than showing a way forward).   I have become increasingly disturbed by the growing American military commitment around the world, trying to be the world's cop, with no jurisdiction to do so.  The UN is run by a gang of thugs and is anti-Christ, out of which we ought to exit ASAP, so they are no help in establishing international justice. 

And I am very disturbed by the heavy American drift toward a fascist collusion between industry and government.  Our leaders talk about "free trade", a practice with which I agree.  But what the neo-cons and other globalists are proposing is not free trade, it is trade manipulated by government collusion with industry.  A mix of neo-mercantilism and fascism.

American has lost its way.  It has no clear sense of direction.  A recent Chronicles article (June 2005, p. 7) noted that Americans are good tacticians, but poor strategists.  We know how to win a particular war, but we do not know which wars to fight, or why we should fight them.  We have no clear long-range goals, other than supporting "liberal democracy", as though we -- in the land of the free and the home of the brave -- any longer understood either freedom, democracy, or a republic.  We do not. 

We in the West are poor strategists because we have generally lost all capacity for truly long-range goals, having cast ourselves into the world of pragmatism -- do that which works.  But "works" for whom?  Unless you have God's point of view, your range will not be very long.  You will be limited by your own pragmatic capacities, with a hard time seeing beyond your own "good feelings".  You will have a hard time rising above tactics to strategy.  A strategy requires always, in the end, a religio, ultimate reasons for things. 

I now believe we misjudged the matter greatly.  I hope I am wrong and that something resembling at least a liberal democracy will emerge out of the continued trouble.  Mostly I hope and pray that the Christians will stand tall for Jesus, come what may, and not compromise their faith for the sake of safety, and that we, in relatively safe America, will do so even more.

2. Unity - Who can Achieve It?

A primary political goal is unity among constituents.  Most often, that unity is bought, coerced, or brainwashed into being, not honestly formed.  Especially since the early 1800's, that has been increasingly true in America.  Today Western Christians have little honest unity left, only a lump of left over defensiveness and inertia.  

Jesus prayed for unity among His disciples so that the world would know that He was from the Father.  He knew that worldly processes could not produce a freewill, chosen-openly-in-the-light unity.  So if His disciples showed that kind of unity, the world would have to conclude that God has produced it. 

That was the unity among Christians which brought the Roman Empire to the knees of King Jesus.  Roman citizens noticed the kind of life Christians were living, caring for each other and their enemies.  If Jesus Christ produced that, they wanted Jesus Christ.  That has been true in every age where Christians gave up themselves to the Lord sufficiently to produce the unity for which Jesus prayed. 

Secular democracy cannot produce that kind of unity. 

3. God's Foreign Policy Pragmatism

God's strategy for unity is given in the Two Great Commandments and in the Decalogue.  There He defines the purpose for existence for the whole cosmos -- forever.  Long term strategy. 

God's pragmatism is, "Do what works for the Kingdom which I am building.  Do whatever fulfills the law of love.  Pick up your cross daily and follow Me."  But since we are not listening to God for advice anymore, that is not an option we much consider, except for derision.  Despite the increase of praying on Capitol Hill (for which we can be devoutly thankful), we still really believe we know better than God.  Human political pragmatism still trumps God's kingdom pragmatism.   

America should be helping to form an international network of Biblically-minded peoples, by which alone there can possibly be any true international justice, and refuse to join or support any organization which lives in defiance of God or His plan.   Politics is a subset of the larger spiritual strategy. 

George Bush is, I believe, an honest and praying Christian.  But he is nevertheless a very ill-educated Christian, showing no familiarity with the distinctions between the Biblical and the secular/pagan worldviews.  He believes, apparently, that all religions are pretty much headed in the same direction.  A cursory look at either history or theology will quickly dispel that notion. 

George Bush is naive, and, for a leader with the kind of power at his disposal, extraordinarily dangerous, because the primary war being fought is spiritual, not political or military.   As with politics, all military conflict is just a part of the larger spiritual war going on all the time -- until Jesus returns.  We do not put away the Sword of the Spirit because we put away our tanks, bombers, and aircraft carriers, and bring home our troops . 

4. Liberal Democracy: a Problem, not a Solution

Confusion of liberal democracy with the kingdom of God is a large part of the problem.  We have come to believe that the promotion of liberal democracy will bring peace and harmony, and thus should be our long range program.  That is certainly President Bush's goal.  But "liberal democracy" is neither liberal nor democratic (see Liberal Democracy & the Angel of Light).  It is the devil's own perversion of America's enormously successful democratic republic under God, with which the devil is seducing the world away into pseudo-freedom. 

A democratic republic, even under God, will not be the perfected kingdom of God on earth, but it is by far the best political system proposed in human history for use until the Second Coming.  It alone can reasonably guarantee genuine freedom for all citizens, regardless of their religion or political stance.  That was the very purpose for writing the Constitution, and is consistent with the freedom wherewith Christ has set us free. 

Either Americans start raising up truly Christian leadership, or we will see the rest of our American Constitutional order be trashed for statism and control of our lives to a fair-thee-well.  But only a Godly people can consistently raise up Godly leaders.  What we see elected is a reflection of ourselves. 

Our constitution was written by leaders who still believed the Biblical world-order, that we are both personally and corporately (politically) responsible to God, our Creator and Sovereign.  Our present pseudo-conservative leadership, political and ecclesiastical, is incapable of prosecuting, or unwilling to prosecute, the spiritual war.  They have been seduced into a secular/pagan worldview sufficiently to be Biblically neutralized.  Most American Christians are practicing deists.  The new Gideon Army of God will be formed in a coming generation. 

5. Failure in Iraq

The attack on Iraq was motivated largely, it seems, by the President's desire to establish a liberal democratic outpost in the Near East, hoping that would help topple the dictatorships of the area, all of which are Muslim based.  No doubt motivated also by commercial interests -- oil.  It was, I think now, a fool's errand. 

Whether we had good reasons for the invasion remains cloudy, though I believe the lack of WMD's is a bogus argument against the invasion since everyone before the war started thought Hussein had them.  Our military acted superbly.  We are good tacticians. 

But one little-trumpeted factor is changing my mind to tell me that, without certain changes on the part of the Iraqi Muslim majority, we should get out as soon as possible, that we cannot, in the end, produce even a liberal democracy.  The matter should have been addressed right at the start -- at least in our own strategy. 

Success in promoting freedom is revealed by an attitude of respect for those with whom one disagrees.  Muslims generally in the Near East see Christians and Jews as targets for destruction, not persons with whom to be neighbors. 

For all his evils, Hussein, for whatever reasons, apparently protected Christians (and maybe others) against religious persecution (see Chronicles June 2005, p. 7 "Cultural Revolutions").   But with the new "liberal democratic" government composed of Sunni and Shiite Muslims, the persecution has escalated beyond the Hussein days, driving Christians mostly to Syria.  According to the article, Iraqi Christians are getting no help from the historically Christian United States.  The Islamic plan for religious cleansing is succeeding, thanks to their new "freedom".   In Chronicles, we read:

Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo... [said] that "The Muslims have an Ummah [the worldwide Muslim community]," whereas Christians no longer have Christendom. "There is 'no Christian country that says "We are Christian and we will help Christians."'" 

...including America.  There are many Christian ministries doing just that, but America has abandoned its Christian political identity in favor of a secular "liberal democracy".  It will not, in present form, help Christians.  Not in Iraq, not in Sudan, not anywhere except, perhaps, where it can be made to look like a secular effort. 

Voice of the Martyrs, which monitors countries persecuting Christians, lists Iraq as a nation overtly hostile to the Christian faith.  There has been a window of opening during the aftermath of the invasion, but Christians there expect the window to last no more than two years before it closes again.  Conversions are barely keeping up with losses due to those fleeing being targeted.  

So, why is America in Iraq?  Just what kind of "liberal democracy" do we expect to emerge there among people who burn, kill, persecute another religion, and a peaceful one at that, one which is largely responsible for their newly possible "liberal democratic" freedom?  The signs seem to be that Iraqis are not aiming at that for which the President hopes.  We have yet to hear of Iraqi Muslims campaigning for "tolerance" of Christians among them, let alone true equality.  They are using the President and America for their own ends.

It is not in the Koran to be tolerant, it is not in the ethos of Islam.  Their view of God does not permit it.  That means they will not engage in honest, open debate on any crucial issues, the very heart of honest liberalism.  It is dangerous naiveté to expect it.  There are kind and friendly Muslims who want to get along with other religions.  But they are living above their religion because both the Islamic understanding of God and of the Koran militate against a world community of honest, free-market exchange of ideas, especially on the religio level.  The free-market exchange of ideas is absolutely central to freedom.

(Just by the way, America also gave up its free-market exchange of ideas when we adopted government control of our schools.  We, the people, need to take back the control.  See Freemarket of Ideas....)

6. So, Where Now?

America, with all its military might, cannot fight the spiritual war, the real war, because we have trashed our Biblical heritage.  So there is minimal good we can do in Iraq or in any other foreign intervention.  The problem is not a possible "Vietnam quagmire" but (if secular or pagan) a guaranteed spiritual quagmire.  We do not have a viable strategy.  We do not know how to discern the long run picture.

We are in a spiritual war for the souls of the world, and for the soul of the world.  The soul of the world is its common life, its "religio", that which binds the world together, producing the unity which unGodly politicians bribe, coerce, or mind-control into existence, and which Jesus alone can produce. 

 America is not, in the very near future, going again to be a Biblical nation, although I believe that is in the long-run works.  But even at the present time, as a short-term strategy, America could and should make significant changes to its policies consistent with its still stated values.

1. Refuse to enter any land where our military personnel not allowed to practice their own religion, gracefully and respectfully, but in accordance with their beliefs -- including praying quietly in public, saying grace, carrying their Bibles, etc.   It is unconscionable ignorance that our military leadership would so dismiss the role of God in military victory.  Our founding fathers neither believed nor acted so.  We need to be on God's side much more than we need the Arab governments on our side. 

2. Insist in Iraq and other places for full protection of Christians, Jews, and other minority religions which are respectful of their counterparts.  If they are not interested in what we have to offer, a true religious freedom, we have no business trying to force it.  It will not happen.  We then need to get out, help the persecuted, who wish, to get out, and reengage the spiritual war. 

Remaining in Iraq is reasonable only if there can be progress made in the protection of non-Muslim minority religions, without which --
(1) not only are we are incapable of establishing a liberal democracy in Iraq, but,
(2) even worse, that is the wrong goal to begin with, and we in the West are thus inhibiting and beclouding the real goal. 

Clarity always favors truth.  Christians will never reach a goal about which they are unclear and for which they are unwilling to stand -- publicly, and at any cost to themselves. 

America has been called by God to establish honest freedom, His kind, not the semi-fascist kind of socialism which goes under the name of "liberal democracy". 

7. Spiritual Strategy

If we Christians had any strategic sense, we would let Muslims know that we object more than they do to the trash emanating from the West.  We have to live in it.  We would get busy eradicating it from our own midst (let alone from the pagan and secular folks among us), and challenge them to join us in doing so rather than making it horribly difficult for us.  We would challenge them to join us in those areas we agree.  That would do more than anything else to identify and draw the honest and graceful Muslims out from the ranks of the cowardly and vicious.  We could then challenge them to an honest contest of ideas and commitments, an honest spiritual debate. 

But sadly, few Western Christians know how to do those things, or have stomach for the confrontation.  We must change that, and prepare ourselves to wield the Sword of the Spirit.   If we cannot do that, all our troops, tanks, carriers, and bombers will accomplish, in the end, nothing. 

The role of the military and of the police is, above all, to keep open the arena of public debate for just such honest intellectual and spiritual engagement -- keep the playing field level, and may the best religion win.  That is the purpose of the American Constitution and of our form of government.  That is honest pluralism. 

But Westerners are scared to death of that open contest.  Christians, at least, need to grow up and follow Jesus, or even Elijah as on Mount Carmel (I Kings 18).

For the longer term, Christians must get busy here in America, recover their own intellectual, moral, and spiritual integrity, learn how to reenter the public arena with the Christian message that Jesus is Lord, and that our political as well as our personal freedom rests on His lordship.  People are free to take or leave it, but Christians are here to live it and proclaim it.  The truth does not get out of the way for anybody.  When we regain our integrity, as we become again openly, publicly, and gracefully unified in Christ, then God will give us back America, and not before. 

With Islam, we are in a winnable battle (see Islam Library, and especially Islam Talking Points). 

The ball is in the Christian court.  How long will it take for us to learn how to return the ball and put it away? 

Epilogue

For another view, see http://www.newsmax.com/ -- which gives a persuasive argument for American intervention in WW II -- and similarly in Iraq -- but which does not see the spiritual aspect of the war. 

Yes, we won the military war against Hitler, and were right to intervene.  But we are losing the war against tyranny because we miss the spiritual issue.  When our troops came home from Europe after WW II, they had lost any clue they might have had about using the Sword of the Spirit, so we have been losing the real war right here at home, drifting into a control-state, losing our freedom, both political and religious. 

Until we get our spiritual lives straight, we will be of only minimal help to those other folks under oppression.  The war against tyranny is, in the end, not political or military, it is a spiritual war.  Political and military conflict are only subsets of the larger spiritual conflict -- a truth ignored by secular democracy. 

The contest in the Mid East (and globally) is between the God of the Bible and the many substitutes, whether pagan, secular, or Islamic.  The secular folks (Gramski-socialist globalists) and the Muslims (jihad globalists) are quite happy to use and mis-use each other to further their respective ends.  Yahweh (more than globalist, He owns the whole cosmos) is the enemy (and would-be Savior) of both.

Let secular folks pursue their "liberal democracy".  We Christians must quit playing with half-way measures and stick to the full Gospel:  Jesus is both Lord and Savior of both individual and society.  Nothing else will significantly change the Mid East or any other place. 

All other ground is still sinking sand  --  the real (as in "eternal") quagmire, where all unGodly strategies meet their unhappy end.  

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