America’s First Terrorist Entanglement

 

Too many headlines these days – in fact, just one is too many – trumpet the deeds of ISIS around the globe. We are assaulted visually, with their graphic videos. Hard not to be aware of this terrorist group. Yet, I suspect that many, though aware, don’t grasp the seriousness of their intent. It is just my suspicion, but I think that, let’s say, certain ones in my own sphere of life are missing that. It may be as it was in the days of Noah – people were so involved in the daily issues & struggles of their lives, they did not heed Noah’s warning.

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Terrorism against the United States is not new. It is not a phenomenon specific to our times only. The hand of jihad moved against the original thirteen colonies also. Barely had independence been declared & won, than Muslim extremists of that day began launching attacks at sea on American vessels, engaging in kidnappings, imprisonment, enslavement, & ransom demands, as well as requiring yearly tributes from all who would attempt to sail in ‘their’ waters. These marauders from the North African states of Tripoli, Tunis, Morocco, and Algiers, known as the Barbary Pirates, obtained wealth and power through their lawless plundering, (not only of American ships, but those of Portugal, Italy, Malta, Denmark and Sweden, as well as France & England.)

“As early as 1784 Congress followed the tradition of the European shipping powers and appropriated $80,000 as tribute to the Barbary states…”  (America and the Barbary Pirates:  An International Battle Against an Unconventional FoeThe following year, in July 1785, Algerians captured two American ships and their crews of twenty-one people. They were held for a ransom of nearly $60,000. And so it began…and by 1795, The United States was still paying ransoms & tributes to the these piratical states. In that year alone, nearly a million dollars was expended in hostage ransoms, as well as naval stores and a frigate.

As ambassador to France & then Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson opposed paying ransoms & tributes. In a July, 1786, letter to John Adams, Jefferson wrote “I acknolege [sic] I very early thought it would be best to effect a peace thro’ the medium of war.” He believed that paying tribute would merely invite more demands of the same. The general consensus at that time, however, did not align with Jefferson’s belief. Paying was easier (and cheaper) than fighting. As a result, an attempted international coalition fell through, and extortion on the high seas continued.

However, once elected President, Thomas Jefferson refused to continue making these payments. So Tripoli declared war. Jefferson “…admitted but one answer. I sent a small squadron of frigates into the Mediterranean. . . .” Booyah. His bold & decisive move shocked and fractured the Barbary states, with Tunis & Algiers breaking away from Tripoli. The lion was out of his cage, and they were gettin’ out of the way! Runnin’ for cover!

There were more battles, more ransom negotiations and more American losses, but President Jefferson was not deterred from his chosen course of action. We fought back. Eventually, Morocco was forced out of the fight. Tripoli was bombarded five times. Order began to be restored to the Mediterranean. In 1805, naval and land forces (boots on the ground?) deployed to Tripoli resulted in cessation of hostilities. The treaty of 1805, however, still required the United States to pay a ransom of $60,000 for each of the sailors still held hostage. It was not officially approved by the Senate until April 1806. But by year’s end, Jefferson was able to declare, “The states on the coast of Barbary seem generally disposed at present to respect our peace and friendship.”

Sounds good, doesn’t it….but neither the piracy, nor the paying of tributes, actually ended there.

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It could have, though.

The conflict leading up to this 1805 treaty contained almost bizarre, way outside-the-box elements that actually, unbelievably, succeeded. “In an historic and unconventional move, Jefferson also sent an odd, obsessed, and self-destructive man to the Mediterranean to lead what amounted to the nation’s first covert operation.(source)  William Eaton, a Revolutionary War veteran and Indian fighter, managed to assemble a ragtag army of roughly 400 mercenaries and disaffected Arab fighters. Along with a small detachment of US Marines, Eaton & his ‘men’ marched about 500 miles across the desert, towards Derna, Tripoli, and the Pasha’s throne. Bloodshed & mutiny abounded en route. Eaton’s scheme has been called ridiculous. But with the support of US Navy gunboats offshore, when a victorious Eaton & his Marines flew the Stars and Stripes at Derna, “it was the first time a U.S. flag had been raised in conquest in a foreign land.”

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This action, and the valor and conduct of the Marines, is forever memorialized in the opening lines of the Marine Corps hymn: “From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli.”

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So, what went wrong?

President Jefferson, in what looks to me like a betrayal of Eaton & his men, in order to assure victory one way or another, authorized U.S. diplomat Tobias Lear to negotiate a peace treaty with the pasha of Tripoli, while Eaton was fighting the good fight. So, though William Eaton & his forces actually took Derna, intending to replace the pasha with his pro-America brother Ahmad, it mattered not. The terms of the treaty negated much of Eaton’s victory. There could have possibly been maritime peace, with safe, tribute free travel. So close!  Instead, the piracy continued.

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Ten years later, President James Madison secured a declaration of war from Congress.  American victory, “dictated at the mouths of our cannon” inspired British & Dutch, then later French action against the Barbary pirates. By the spring of 1830, piracy was quashed.

But it took war.

“…to be free and uninsulted [i.e., unattacked], we must let these nations see that we have an energy [willingness to use force], which at present they disbelieve. The low opinion they entertain of our powers cannot fail to involve us soon in a … war.” - George Washington,  (What George Washington Said About ISIS)

No amount of negotiating, diplomacy or funds paid, without physical combat, gained the victory over piracy & terrorism.

It took war.

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…lest anyone say, But they were pirates, not radical Muslim extremists…

Jefferson & Adams questioned the Tripolitan ambassador as to why his government was so hostile to the new American republic. The ambassador’s answer:

“…that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman [Muslim] who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.”

Hmmm…where have we heard this before?

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The final conclusion drawn in the article from which I’ve gathered most of this information, is this – just as the Barbary pirates did what they said they would, as long as they could get away with it, so will the terrorists of today. It behooves our security & defense forces, our military leaders & our administration in Washington to expect that. And respond accordingly.

And ‘We, the People’ need to realize this, as well.

 

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“Be not intimidated…nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberties by any pretense of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery and cowardice.” – John Adams  (Liberty Tree)

On a final note, I can’t help but catch a glimpse of the Spirit in the above quote from John Adams –

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5: 2)

You may not think there is any connection here of the one to the other. But things have roots. They spring from somewhere or something. Now you see it, but it was once invisible.

“Then said Jesus…if ye continue in my word…ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8: 31, 32)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Losing Your Life

Instinctively, most of us would react without hesitation to protect our lives & our well-being – and that of those we love & value – when such would be threatened. On a less dramatic scale, it seems a normal & prudent course to think ahead, plan and make provisions for our daily survival. One needs to pay bills, go food shopping, make repairs to the house, clean & do laundry, etc., etc.  We do what we can to ensure a safe, healthy and if possible, comfortable existence.

Additionally, no one wants to suffer if it can be avoided. A way that I try to neutralize suffering is to engage in activities that satisfy me. A certain amount of pleasure can really sweeten the deal!

…so when I read a Scripture like “…Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross…” (Mark 8 :34), I want to run for the hills! To apparently make matters worse, the next verse warns against trying to save your own life. I am not sure I like where this is going! What? I’m not allowed to have any sense of safety, well-being? No pleasure? I can’t use my talents or ever seek to fulfill a desire? This, for me, is one of those Scriptures I often gloss over, feeling sick inside, and find another one that speaks of grace, or the goodness of God, etc.

Not necessarily a bad escape route, but eventually, I find I need to take the bull by the horns, and really look into those Scriptures that leave me feeling threatened. I must be missing something.

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Now, maybe these two Scriptures do mean everything that I am afraid they mean…but I can’t live with that. The letter kills, for sure, and God doesn’t give a spirit of fear…so I keep looking for another understanding here.

‘Deny’, in this particular verse, does mean deny, but with the emphasis of ‘utterly’ added. This Greek word is built on two other Greek words, one of which means ‘to contradict’, or reject.

Moving on to the second verse I mentioned, I learned that the Greek word for ‘lose’ means either ‘to destroy fully’ or ‘to perish’. And ‘save’ (in this verse) is translated ‘protect’, or preserve.

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Jumping down to the end of this chapter, we see that Jesus is speaking, among other things, about His words. His teachings. And He speaks of being ashamed of those words. When you look into ‘ashamed’, you find the concept of ‘disgrace’. Obvious enough, I guess, but then it occurs to me…disgrace. Is the crux of the problem rejecting His grace? (Okay, now a light is flickering in the darkness! THIS is what I’m talkin’ ’bout! Once grace enters the picture, everything changes.)

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These Scriptures are written in relation to following Jesus. To ‘follow’ Him means ‘to be in the same way with.’ How can two walk together unless they be agreed? We need to agree with Jesus’ words. So when He tells us we need to utterly deny ourselves and not try to protect our own lives – based on the new covenant of grace – I have to begin to consider that Jesus is speaking of completely abandoning all of our efforts to get right with God. Let His work on the cross alone ‘save’ us.

I suspect that much of what people do, thinking they are pursuing other good goals, are in fact an effort in the flesh to ‘save’ themselves. It may not be an overtly spiritual activity. It could be any activity at all. But the stress & pressure we can put on ourselves to ‘accomplish’ can be destructive. This is where I’m beginning to learn to lose my life. Stop trying to protect it. Ease up. Chill. You aren’t in this alone.

the Mercy Seat

the Mercy Seat

“This is Amazing Grace”

I was searching through SoundCloud earlier tonight, looking for a specific praise & worship song, which I could not find. But in my searching, I came across “This is Amazing Grace”, waiting below for you to click on the arrow. The song quality is not that outstanding; it’s a little garbled. But I posted it here tonight because, in our ever horrifying world of a darkening tide threatening liberty, freedom of speech and freedom of religion, and a dangerous movement in our schools seeking to remove light…this joyful acknowledgment of Jesus, who bought our freedom with His blood, and is the Light of the world, was sung by members of the Mt. Hermon Senior High, during a live worship service just this past summer, July, 2014.

…about that Christmas Tree…

Author’s noteAs I see Christmas Day bearing down on me, and wanting to eliminate any stress that I can!, I’m not attempting a special post for this December 25th.  Rather, I am reblogging again one from 2011. 

But I do want to make a very somber and serious observation on our times, one which I had been hearing about for a few years now, but wasn’t aware of in my own areas of life.  Franklin Graham hit the nail on the head in his article “The War on Christmas.”  By endorsing Rev. Graham’s thoughts on the ‘sacred nature of Christmas’ I might seem to be contradicting my own, expressed in the following post.  Not my intention at all!  Rather, the removal of God in Christ from any aspect of our society will leave us an emptiness & lack of joy that will only get worse.  I have never been so aware of hearing “Happy Holidays”, and not one “Merry Christmas.”  Twice, I wished cashiers “Merry Christmas” recently, and they seemed caught off-guard, flustered. I felt a little bit sad.  I had not realized how far along spiritual changes had progressed.

Even so, we who still believe, (regardless of how we do or don’t celebrate Christmas) keep on keeping on, looking within our own hearts & spirits, where Christ dwells, and shines.  And the darkness overcomes it not. 

ΑΩ

 

 

All around the world, people are preparing to celebrate that Holiday of all holidays, Christmas.  Like the siren call of myth, the lure of yuletide activity is almost impossible to resist.  Even the Scrooges I’ve known, still, amidst their bah humbugs! usually join in the celebrations, one way or another.  Just about everyone finds him or her self sitting around a Christmas tree, sharing food and exchanging gifts amidst garland, glitter and goodwill.  And those who aren’t able to, wish they were.

What is it about that Christmas tree?  I’ve been working on mine for awhile now, off & on, taking my time and ensuring that it is just right!  Why do almost all of us do it?

My money is on hope and expectation.

We think we’re ‘decorating a Christmas tree’, but the roots go much deeper than that.  People are looking for something better.  We want the comfort & contentment of security.  We want the release of joy.  I believe the decorated Christmas tree stands as a symbol & token of such things.   For myself, I find an almost inviolable sense of peace, of serenity as I gaze upon my own tree, with its twinkling lights and its sparkling elegance.  It is a silent and immoveable testimony to enduring abundance.

“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”   (John 10:10)

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Springing up around the centuries-old tradition of decorating a live evergreen tree at Christmas time are several different stories pointing to its origin.  Reading these accounts I learned that it was possible that Martin Luther himself had set this practice in motion…or St. Boniface…and the tradition began in Germany…no, wait, it was France…I’ve seen Egypt mentioned…well, actually, it looks like ancient Rome was where the practice first surfaced…

And speaking of the ancient Romans, their trees were just pieces of evergreen shrubs decorated with bits of metal, celebrating a winter festival (that ended on December 25) in honor of their god of agriculture, Saturnus.   The pagan god Bacchus was honored in a similar fashion as well.  And the prophet Jeremiah wrote of the cutting down & adorning of trees, declaring it a vain, heathen custom  (Jeremiah 10: 2–4).  So it does seem that what eventually became the symbol of the birth of the Saviour of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ, had its roots in pagan practices.

 I find it so amazing, then, that the ultimate outcome of God-less ritual became this universally recognized symbol of  true Life, eternal Life.  Talk about transformation!  Talk about restoration!  Talk about mortality being swallowed up of Life!  In fact, turning it inside out, who is to say that this very outcome was not the original intention of a  seed constrained within an outward expression of another sort.    Certain types of men “..hold the truth in unrighteousness.” (Romans 1:18) 

But the truth is still there.  When Ecclesiastes 3:11 speaks of God placing the world in their heart (the hearts of human beings), it is important to know that the more literal meaning of ‘world’ connotes a sense of eternity, and that which is concealed (Strong’s Concordance, Hebrew #5769, #5956.)  This awareness is placed within us all.  That is a good thing.  Those invisible things are understood by the visible, created things…such as a tree…but ‘vain imaginations’ (Romans 1:21)  darken hearts, and what is produced misses the mark. 

You end up with a raggedy shrub wearing scraps of metal.

How triumphant, then, is the glorious Christmas tree of today! 

 “…The evergreen theme continues to weave its way through the history of Christmas trees as a symbol of the promise of life to come…” (link)  While this statement refers to the warmth of spring after a cold, hard winter, there is another Parallel here.  The truth of eternal Life in Christ, who has abolished death!  bears witness of Itself throughout this same history.

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Returning to Monarchy?

 

benIt was a great concern of Benjamin Franklin’s that, eventually, America would return to monarchical rule. When I first learned of that fact, I was confused. I could not understand why Franklin entertained such a fear, in light of the monumental struggle against a monarchy, only recently survived by the thirteen American colonies in the Revolutionary War. The pieces of such an ominous puzzle eluded me.

Today, I understand. I see how it could conceivably happen.

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Life can be dangerous, and freedom brings with it responsibilities & obligations, perhaps burdens. Even so, who would desire imprisonment instead? Would any one of us choose slavery in its place? A Power timeless and eternal has undertaken to “…bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” (Isaiah 42:7) A Servant has been sent forth, and a proclamation of liberty has been made. (Isaiah 61:1) While you were held captive, that which was precious to you fell into a state of desolation, and seemed wasted…but a Promise has been sent, to raise up and repair (Isaiah 61:4), even the very years that seemed lost. (Joel 2:25)

Provisions have been made, and are at work today, to set men free, and to keep them free.

I believe that that the United States of America was raised up so that such Provisions could be displayed to humankind, and learned, and lived.

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Monarchy was NOT in the heart of the Lord for His creation. You need to get that fact straight, right from the start. The Lord was looking for willing relationship, for fellowship, with man. Genesis shows us communication between the Creator and the first man & woman (Genesis 3:8-13) Granted, that particular conversation was not a casual social exchange – but it would seem as though perhaps it was part of an accepted, expected routine. Adam and Eve recognized the Lord’s voice; they’d heard it before.

In a previous conversation, the LORD had instructed the man Adam not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This command was given to Adam because, if he ate of this fruit, he would surely die. He would die. Got that? No shades of gray here. A certain kind of knowledge kills. This is as true today as it was then. God was not trying to rain on Adam’s parade: He was trying to preserve the paradise of their existence from corruption.

Sadly, or so it seems today, such was not to be the case.

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Even if you are not a Bible believing follower of Christ, you probably know this account of what is termed ‘the fall of man’. She ate the forbidden fruit, he ate the forbidden fruit, the LORD confronted them, the LORD cast them out.

At first reading, these actions of what we probably preceive as a displeased God may seem heartless & cruel. But one needs to discern the motive behind them. Because the mans27-th (2) now had the knowledge of good and evil, he, and therefore his progeny & the world they would fashion were in dire trouble. Trouble such as would take millenia to come to pass. Adam could not have imagined it…but the LORD could. Already knowing the atrocities and horrors that mankind would eventually perpetrate upon the earth because of this first error in human judgement, He had to act. He would not allow this catastrophe to run rampant into infinity. A redemptive Plan was begun.

“…and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat , and live forever…the Lord GOD sent him forth from the garden of Eden…” (Genesis 3:22, 23)

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In this account of the Creation, we learn that the crafty serpent lured God’s first couple into partaking of deadly knowledge by introducing doubt – a doubting of the nature of God’s intentions towards man. By skillfully inserting one question, “Yea, hath God said…?”, this diabolical being set in motion a process which still goes on today. and which, when engaged in, brings with it destruction on every scale. He questioned God’s statement, then flat out denied it. Lastly, he lied about God’s intentions with a devious implication. The implication was that their Creator did not want this first couple to know what He knew – not because it might harm them but because He wanted all the attention, all the power. He didn’t want to share. Without actually coming right out & saying so, the serpent painted a picture of God as being petty, jealous & selfish.

In a very short conversation, this beast of the field dismantled Paradise.

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I have always believed that motive is paramount. Often, more so than what you say to me, I want to know your motive. More so than what you do, I want to know why you are doing it. It is way too easy to get caught up in the spider’s web! Where people are concerned, look before you leap…we are needy, selfish, prone to change on the turn of a dime…God, however, is not and does not. It behooves us to learn of Him, so that we may stop doubting. Faith builds up on itself, and results can endure.

Without, however, that enduring trust in God & His motives, man will seek out other ways & means to make their way back to Paradise. We may not realize that is what we’re doing. The problem here is that any other Way will at some point fail you. It will disappoint, it will run out when you need it most. Worst case scenario, it will enslave and kill.

On man’s journeys back to Paradise, he mistakenly sought out monarchy as a means to get there.

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Going back to Biblical times, prior to and during the years of the prophet Samuel, we learn that judges & prophets ruled over the affairs of the people of Israel. They had no earthly king. That was the Plan.

Ushering Samuel in as one who judged over Israel were brutal onslaughts against Israel by the mighty Philistines. The children of Israel pleaded with Samuel to intercede for them to the LORD, for deliverance from this powerful enemy. Long story short, “…Samuel cried unto the LORD for Israel; and the LORD heard him…and they {the Philistines} were smitten before Israel…so the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more unto the coast of Israel…all the days of Samuel.” (1 Samuel 7:9,10,13) From that point on, Samuel was the man.  He judged Israel until his death.

It appears to me to be a case of ‘we, the people’ seeking out a leader, who was NOT a king. Rather, this leader acknowledged, worshipped & served Another, the King of all the earth. And it sounds like it worked out very well.

What changed?

As he grew old, Samuel appointed his two sons as judges, also. They, as it turned out, craved money. They “took bribes, and perverted jundgment.” (1 Samuel 8:3) (Does this sound at all familiar?) Distressed by this shift in leadership style, the elders of the tribe decided a regular king (more government?  Big government?) would be the answer. Despite Samuel’s resistance and the LORD’s detailed warnings, they persisted, and got their way.

According to these Scriptures in 1 Samuel, by desiring an earthly king, Israel was rejecting the kingship of the LORD. In doing so, though they thought that such a course of action would bring peace & prosperity, the Israelites were in fact setting themselves up for servitude (v.17). They were inviting many an evil king to sit on their throne, as Bible history shows us.

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At root, then, it appears that a love of money was the catalyst toward monarchy. Seems absurdly simple, doesn’t it? Well…“the love of money is the root of all evil…” (1 Timothy 6:10). And, if this was true in ancient Israel, it is just as likely to have been true in the days of America’s Founding. I take you back to my opening statement regarding Benjamin Franklin’s serious concerns about the new young nation returning to monarchy. Impressively, Franklin cites this very same cause. He “…foresaw the possibility of profit in public office becoming the means by which an American monarchy could arise.” He could envision “…an executive with monarchical powers.” (Skousen, Cleon W. The 5000 Year Leap: A MiracleThat Changed the World)  Franklin believed, as did George Washington & Alexander Hamilton, that men tend to progress towards either anarchy or tyranny/kingly government, and that a king – a single leader in charge – is thought by the people to somehow ensure equality. If the people think a king can ensure their safety & well-being, and choose him over the true King’s provisions of these things – and you have avaricious men seeking such offices because they offer ‘honor’ (power) and high salaries (power) – talk about hand-in-glove!

Or talk about history repeating itself.

Jefferson - Machinery of Govt. (2)

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How ‘full circle’ it becomes, that a destructive love of money lays the path & fosters the conditions towards monarchy, which office is fulfilled & perpetuated by such a one in whom that same passion dwells. Franklin, while knowing that his belief was unrealistic, nevertheless advocated that public office not be an office of profit. That way, the right men with the right motives would be the ones occupying governing positions.

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Optimistically, however, Franklin concluded that his opinion of his country and her citizens was such that there would always be “…a sufficient number of wise and good men…to execute well and faithfully…” such offices. (Smyth, Albert H., ed., Writings of Benjamin Franklin) Thank God for faithful men & women, and for those (though perhaps few) who yet remain with the heart of a patriot.  Faith only as small as a mustard seed can move mountains.

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Iraq, ISIS, and Obama…Is There an Answer?

I was one of those (probably few) Americans who never believed we should have pulled out of Iraq. Naïve though I (probably) am, I still do not fault then President George W. Bush for invading this Middle Eastern country. I am (again, probably) one of the only people left who still thinks that ‘weapons of mass destruction’ was not a ploy to get us over there, in order to facilitate oil acquisitions or the money-making war machine. Color me obtuse, but I think there very well may have been WMDs in Iraq, that were somehow successfully re-located or deeply buried. We had to go there, be there, and if we had stayed there, today James Foley, Jeff Sotloff, David Haines and Alan Henning might still be with us.

I am still unable to comprehend how any thinking person could see a future where a barely stable, newly-freed-from-Sadaam Iraq would NOT be re-invaded by other, more vicious & hostile elements, if left to its own defenses. And how those elements would NOT gain a foothold, find a haven, then spread out from that haven, if unobstructed. ( And when I say ‘spread’, I don’t mean just in the Middle East.)  To me, the math was simple. I know a minimal US presence was supposed to remain in Iraq, but more than minimal was needed. Commanders on the ground knew it. But the majority of Americans and the Obama administration, along with the Iraqis themselves, chose otherwise.

Understandably.  Americans were war-weary, and attention & resources were badly needed on the domestic front.  But a long-term, very probable consequence of US troop withdrawal was…ignored? Or not even realized? And then one day we heard the horrifying news that almost overnight, Iraq was being overrun by brutal extremists, quickly gaining & holding ground. And spreading.

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Writing this article will not change what happened, and I certainly am no one of military or political influence, to shape a future course. So I don’t know why I’m even writing it. I just know that it’s been on my mind, doesn’t fade away, and so I need to do it.

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I mention now & again, that I am not and have never been a supporter of Barack Obama. I never trusted him, though in the earlier stages I didn’t know why. I also at times mention that I believe the Scriptures show us that it is God who raises up & brings low kings and governments. For this reason, I’ve stopped overtly ‘bashing’ the President. I can’t afford to expend precious time, energy & health in such negative efforts. Instead, I have to find, if I can, positives in this man and his administration.  If I can.  I also pray. Beyond that, it is God’s call and on His shoulders.

When you have previously opposed someone almost absolutely, it takes effort to listen with an open mind. In matters as serious as stopping the spread of ISIS, I want to be able to support this President’s thoughts and strategies. Watching him on 60 Minutes this past Sunday, believe me, I listened. Without prejudice.

I think my first & strongest impression of Barack Obama, as he answered host Steve Kroft’s questions, was of a deep, implacable assurance.  Not arrogance, nor intractability. He was sure of his answers.  His knowledgeable assessments and explanations – as I perceived them, at least – reassured me to some extent.  But they did more than that.  Even though the entire interview may have been staged, I realized how little I knew about such overwhelming atrocities as extremist invasions, and how ill-equipped I am to even consider faulting the judgments of the experts. In anything. Way above my pay grade.

Which doesn’t necessarily mean that my initial (and ongoing) impressions of the President were/are wrong.  Maybe my beliefs & ideas are valid ones, trumping existing policy if ever implemented.  But…I’m not the one in the saddle. I’m not the one with the years of hard experience & the knowledge that comes with that. Others are, and maybe I need to let that trump my opinions & impressions in life-and-death matters of international import. Maybe many of us should now see such things this way. Sometimes, the wrong person is in the job, engaging in a subversive agenda…yet still, some good results.

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…this being said, I don’t advise throwing the baby out with the bathwater. And what I mean by that, in this case, is I can’t disregard my own six years of severe distrust of this President. Going back to Victor Davis Hanson’s article “Dr. Barack and Mr. Obama”   – the first such article like that that I’d ever seen – through to Andrew McCarthy’s recent piece  The Khorosan Group Does Not Exist” (It’s a fictitious name the Obama administration invented to deceive us), Mark Levin’s declaring emphatically that Obama is in a full-blown cover up of ISIS, and everything else I’ve read, seen, or heard in between, I cannot pretend ignorance. I cannot blithely skip through the field of daisies, chasing butterflies & assuming everything is light-hearted and lovely. I know much better now.

…so while on the one hand, I am stepping out in faith, trusting God enough to trust President Obama in this instance and moment of global threat, on the other hand I’m saying, But I still don’t trust him, and probably never will.

I find my way out of this dichotomy in the words of King David: “LORD, my heart is not haughty…neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.” (Psalm 131:1)   I remember that Proverbs 21:1 tells us that the LORD holds the king’s heart, and turns it “whithersoever He will.”  I, and all of us, must with one accord now have as much faith and hope in God’s hand on our leadership as we can, not only in prayer and fasting, but in our thinking and our words as well.

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Hands

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