It is humorous how the events of the past week have flummoxed our national leaders. Those on the political right are correctly castigating the President and his apparent inability to think himself out of a paper bag when it comes to foreign policy. But those in the establishment Republican Party are only slightly better equipped to handle the situation. As my good friend Jim Lembke likes to say, we, as a nation, have a collective ignorance on what the role of our government is.
The U.S. involvement in Iraq, at least in this second iteration, started in response to the attack of 9-11. There were two theoretical purposes in invading Iraq. One was to take the terrorist fight to the terrorists themselves. Capture the terrorist responsible for the attack and execute justice. Our military men need to take pride in that accomplishment. The second was to bring democracy to Iraq. Now more than a decade later, it is obvious that the first goal was taken about as far as it could go when President Bush declared “mission accomplished.” We have been in Iraq ever since in furtherance of the second goal. And this week we saw the failure of that effort.
President John Adams once said, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” President Adams knew that the only way you can have liberty and “democracy,” is for the culture to be infused with the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is clearly not the case in Iraq. The events of the past week have shown the consequences of our national leaders failing to understand this point.
Is it possible to say the events of the past week were a good thing? Certainly, the loss of life fostered by the American military infrastructure and the subsequent withdrawal of American troops is devastating. The loss of life is a travesty. But the travesty also teaches lessons. The Obama Administration has a lot to explain on how it conducted the withdrawal. We also need to understand President Bush’s failure in setting up the house of cards that would eventually fail. Neither man apparently understands the sheer uniqueness of Christendom and the role it played in giving us our constitutional republic as Adams did.
Destruction can be good. You cannot build a new house on a piece of land until you demolish the old house. The demolition of Iraq, while awful, provides an opportunity to build anew. Rather than try to impose the religion of Americanism on the Middle East, why not try something that has worked in the past? Why not try the gospel of Jesus?
Failure can also be good. America tried and failed to impose its ideals on the Middle East. It has over extended itself. It is failing to accomplish its goal in making the Middle East just like America. But it is also failing to accomplish a more important purpose of our national government: defending our boarders. The fall of Iraq is frightening in what it portends for the security of our nation. With that in mind, we must regroup and consider a very legitimate way of ensuring national security, and that is defend the boarders.