Road to Hell Bulldozed with Good Intentions

When the U.S. decided to pre-emptively attack Iraq, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Musa predicted that the invasion would “open the … Continued

When the U.S. decided to pre-emptively attack Iraq, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Musa predicted that the invasion would “open the gates of hell” in the region.

As the saying goes, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” This administration had a grand vision of ‘bringing democracy to the region’ and did not stop to check that vision against historical precedents for conflicts where religion plays a significant role, nor moral precedents against pre-emptive war.

Americans have got to try to get this into their heads: everything is not all about us. There is no solution for Iraq that is not both political and regional.

Our first step in getting out of Iraq is to confess the blind arrogance that got us there and accept the fact that we share the world with others. When U.S. leaders looked at Iraq immediately after 9/11, they saw only themselves distorted in the mirror of conquest. If they (and we) don’t look back and realize the cause of past blunders, we will keep making the same mistakes.

We can’t go forward in Iraq because it seems that our current leaders cannot look back with honesty and integrity and confess that this was an ill-considered and dangerous venture.

Some knew and they said so. Our leaders and the country could have listened.

Back in 2002, when the relentless drum beat of war was being sounded by this administration, those who raised the specter that civil war would follow the ouster of Hussein were simply ignored. Sen. Joseph Biden , on the CNN program ‘Larry King Live’ said “I have not been very enamored with the way half this administration has gone about this effort without thoroughly going into what happens the day after Saddam is down. … The president said that, ‘What could be worse than Saddam?’ Well, what could be worse than Saddam would be a major civil war in the region.” Two days earlier Sen. Robert Byrd had asked, on the floor of the Congress, “What plans do we have to prevent Iraq from breaking up and descending into civil war?” He didn’t get an answer then.

In September 2004, CIA intelligence officials warned this administration that Iraq could spiral into a civil war over the next 18 months. These officials were called ‘pessimists and naysayers’ and the President called their report a ‘guess’—a description of their assessment that drew consternation from these officials.

How can we as a nation, and certainly this administration that claims to take religion so seriously, have drastically underestimated the impact of religious differences on the post-Hussein Iraq, to say nothing of the impact on religious groups both inside and outside Iraq of an invasion by a so-called “Christian” country? Once again, instead of looking at Iraq with clear vision, we looked and saw what we wanted to see.

When the devil tempts Jesus in the wilderness, what is the temptation? The devil tempts Jesus with political conquest. “And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, ‘To you I will give all this authority and their glory…’” Jesus, you may recall, said ‘no.’ The American people and their leaders didn’t have the wisdom to say no before.

Now’s the time. Our leaders and indeed the nation need to confess that we were tempted by “all power and authority” and we need to give it up. This act will permit others to enter in to a political and regional solution which is the way forward both morally and practically.

It won’t be easy since the trip back along the road to hell is rocky. But this I know and I tell you truly. The first step out of Iraq is to confess that it was a huge mistake. Admitting you were wrong is the first step anyone needs to take in order to make positive change. Ask yourself this: Why don’t our leaders know that?

  • BGone

    Dogs chase cars without thinking about what they would do should they manage to catch one. I agree, the administration did likewise in Iraq. Flat nosed dogs happen when parked cars are chased. Again, the war in Iraq fits the bill. No, not bill, George. OK Dick or somebody.We’re getting there, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Next stop, “Calling Devil God does not make Devil God but does make Devil happy.”

  • BGone

    YO-YO:The New Testament is here yet the Old Testament has NOT been destroyed. God clearly works in mysterious ways. God was there in person and pitched in when the chips were down at Jericho. Where would the Israelites be without God?

  • speed123

    That the OT has not been destroyed is evident by the teachings and moral particularism of the NeoCons.This is a Jewish intellectual movement (started by Leo Strauss, Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz) and it was in the interest of Israel to take out Saddam as he was a long term threat.Wolfowitz, Feith, Perle and other planners and cheerleaders in the media did not let their people down.Let’s see what they can do about Iran…

  • Viejita del oeste

    I’m saving this part: “When the devil tempts Jesus in the wilderness, what is the temptation? The devil tempts Jesus with political conquest. “And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, ‘To you I will give all this authority and their glory…’” Jesus, you may recall, said ‘no.’ The American people and their leaders didn’t have the wisdom to say no before.” As good a description of hubris as I’ve ever seen in a Christian context.Speed

  • Tim

    The question is this: “Some political leaders say we need to get out of Iraq now. Others say we are obligated to stay and try to restore civil order and authority. What’s the moral position? Is there one?”Susan, are we morally obligated to stay and try to restore civil order and authority?

  • speed123

    Exactly, Viejita.Most on these boards today are pointing fingers at “Christians” for this war (a typical tactic used by the left). It is undisputed – though never spoken in the media – that neo conservatism was a distinctly Jewish intellectual movement. Feith is Jewish.I am stating that it is time to look a little deeper and you will see the influece of Israel in particular and Judiasm in general (both in policy making and in punditry of the media).Neo Cons are unapologetic because they believe in moral particularism: Who was this war good for? Their friends in corporations and for Israel. (in theory at least)

  • Viejita del oeste

    Speed

  • speed123

    I think we will have to agree to disagree on this one.The objectives of the Israeli state (and lobby here in the US) is to remove potenial threats in the region and Saddam was the closest, major threat.Even now, the media and some pols like Lieberman and McCain are calling for action against Iran in the same nature of those that were brough against Iraq. Read “securing the realm” (google it) by Feith and Perle and other Zionists to get a picture of the plan to “secure the middle east”Support of Israel is no longer in US interests and has not been so since the Cold War. This detrimental policy has only been made worse by the Neo Cons and their push for dominance through violent action in the region.As for intellectuals, Judaism is both a religion and an ethnicity…so you can be secular/atheist and still be Jewish or support policy the is good for the Jewish state. The Neo Con movement is absolutely one that is Jewish in its founding and current makeup.

  • Parvez

    Speed123Finally, someone who has opened their eyes. It’s refreshing to here someone with the correct analysis for once.

  • GAryd

    So much sillinbess so little time.Israeli Chauvinism? How so? They’ve only been caught up in a war for there survival going back at least to the fall of the Roman empire.NOw they’ve grabbed a chunk of land which they have strong historical ties to – at least as good as that of the So-called Palestinians who were in fact Jordanians prior to 1967 – going back sev eral thousand years.Israeli schools teach tolerance. Palestinian schools teach death to israel. Who is the agressor here? As for the rest of the statements about the war.

  • GAryd

    So much sillinbess so little time.Israeli Chauvinism? How so? They’ve only been caught up in a war for there survival going back at least to the fall of the Roman empire.NOw they’ve grabbed a chunk of land which they have strong historical ties to – at least as good as that of the So-called Palestinians who were in fact Jordanians prior to 1967 – going back sev eral thousand years.Israeli schools teach tolerance. Palestinian schools teach death to israel. Who is the agressor here? As for the rest of the statements about the war.

  • GAryd

    First there was never any choice in the war with Saddam.The sanction REgime was collapsing. France needing money to feed here socialist regimes insatiable demand for cash was all too willing to sell Saddam what ever weapons he wanted again and the Russain and Germans weren’t much if any behind.To have left Saddam with 6-9 divisions to face the 1.5 to 2 divisions the Gulf states and the Saudis could muster would have been unconscionable. Yet thanks to 9/11 we could no longer afford to sit in Saudi Arabia indefinitely and be a target for what ever nutbar happened to pop up next.

  • Garyd

    What excuse? It was a simple starement of fact.Thanks to 9/11 we could no longer politically afford to sit in Iraq indefinitely and wait for Saddam and his even crazier progeny to die.We didn’t start a war we ended one. What part of we were still at war with Saddam Hussein did you not get? Good Grief we were already shooting at him again under Clinton?That is one leftist lie that needs to die now. And the pope being human is wrong. For that matter he was wrong when he took the title and tried to usurp the position of Christ as mediator between God and man.

  • Anonymous

    ah, he is an evangelical…I knew it! The pope is the leader of the TRUE Christian church and its madate from the bible…not your “mega” churches and southern snake oil hucksters.

  • Garyd

    Wrong, but not suprisingly so. I am a Protestant who still protests. The Southern Baptist and the Pentecostals -we are all if we’re Christian regardless of denomination supposed to be evengelicals – haven’t been around long enough to be called Protestants. And Frankly other than the Pope there isn’t generally a spits worth of difference between you theologically. Both of you tend to think Christ died so that you could impress God with your righteousness.

  • Garyd

    That from a Roman Catholic that was supposed to be spoonfed his theolgy what little of it he got from the Vatican. And who wasn’t even allowed a Bible in his native tongue until John 23 figured out that arguing with the fait accompli that was the printing press was by the mid sixties a bit pointless.

  • Andrea

    What a timely question as I learned yesterday that a good family friend was killed in Iraq Friday when his F16 crashed after takeoff.I liked this post by Dr. Thistlethwaite. I appreciate her honesty. But I don’t agree with her statement that Americans need to stop thinking it’s all about us. I don’t feel that it’s all about us, and I’m quite embarassed at how this administration is handling the situation. Now what do we do about this mess?

  • Viejita del oeste

    “Frankly other than the Pope there isn’t generally a spits worth of difference between you theologically.”

  • Bobster

    “open the gates of hell” The gates of hell in the middle east have been open for a very long time now. Old Bushy Boy only stoked the fires a little more, thats all. The Clinton Administration did everything in their power to ignore the hell brewing over there. Even when the flames spread out to take american lives. The older Bush stopped short of putting out the fires.

  • GAryd

    Vierita,Between the Pentecostals, their Southern Baptist offshoots and the Roman Catholics all with a few exceptions are works theologians for whom as I said Chrsits death on the Cross allows them to earn their salvation.There are by the way Baptist out of the Refomation through Zwingli, but the Southern Baptist trace their lineage -when they’ll admit to it – came from Irwin and John Nelson Darby whose notes were used by Schofield when he did his Bible translation. One should also note that Charles Stanley is an exception to this and I’m fairly certain that there are others as the Southern Baptist aren’t nearly as monolithic as either the Pentacostals or the Catholics.The Chief argument of all the reformation theologies was that salvation was God’s work not man’s.

  • useff

    To believe that you are saved is an Old Testament form of theology and places no emphasis on the free choice that God endowed man with at creation.To be “saved” regardless of actions or to consider yourself or people “choosen” is the theology discredited by the New Testament and the message of Christ – i.e. believe and follow me. That is a call that we can accept or refuse.

  • Viejita del oeste

    I know nothing about Pentecostals, but I always thought the Baptists were Calvinists.

  • yo-yo

    God spoke to GWBush to go attack Iraq.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Speed123,I thought most of the filth of anti-Semitism and Aryanism was buried after WWII. Apparently not!!!

  • speed123

    Concerned, ALL faiths and ethnic groups can be critized for their politics and actions – despite what you and Abe Foxman say. Stop with the slander.Viejita, great post. I get a bit worked up at times but I am proud to be grouped with even-keeled and deep thinkers such as Mary C and yourself.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Speed123,You slander yourself. And you have the audacity to paste yourself as “even-keeled” and “deep-thinking”? Your KKK and Nazi membership cards say otherwise.

  • Anonymous

    I love the hypocricy of Concerned…At one point he condems legitimate criticism of the politics/lobbying of a powerful group/religion – and says that such criticism = hate. On the other hand, Concerned posts hateful comments about Muslims all over these forums and sterotypes an entire religion of one billion people.Talk about a double standard!

  • speed123

    that last one was me.

  • Garyd

    Anonymous that liberal koolaid is rotting your brain.No right of return for those whose ancestors almost all left voluntarily thinking they would be handed what the Jews had built over the last sixty odd years and who if let back in would almost 80% furnish more suicide bombers and make the Jews second class citizens in their own country? I would think not!Would you want your neighborhood inundated with convicted mass murderers?

  • Anonymous

    GAryd:

  • Concerned the Christian Now Liberated

    Oops, that should have been addressed to Speed123. A Hermit and Speed blend together after awhile.

  • Concerned the Christian Now Liberated

    A Hermit,Take some time to read my comments on Islam. Typically, I criticize the foundation of said religion e.g. their belief in “pretty wingy talking thingies and a similar belief in devils, the “demons of the demented”. Their operating manual is also the subject of much of my criticism of Islam since it gives the “koranic” crazies free license to hunt you and me down for any type of criticism making said manual and said followers very dangerous to our well being. As with Christians, atheists and other cults, Muslims are typically bred, born and brainwashed to believe their way is the correct way. Unfortunately the Muslim way is typically in the form of “death to unbelievers” unlike other cults which is something many commentators to include myself mention at length with good reason. I was a bred, born and brainwashed Catholic until I was finally “Crossanized” into the wonderful world of Reality.And please note, I do not criticize one’s right to complain about powerful lobbies. I do object, however, to criticizing individual members of a religion because of their religion, their names and their service on behalf of our country.

  • Garyd

    First there was never a Palestinain nation. Under Byzantium it was a Judaeo Christian enclave, It was Conquered by Mohammed’s immediate heirs in the mid 700’s. It hadn’t been more than a province in someone elses country since the Romans kicked the Jews out in 70AD.Back before the 6 Day War no one in fact called themselves Palestinians and the Name didn’t spread widely until Those we now call Palestinians tried to kill the king of Jordan for the peculiarly Arab/leftist crime of not hating the Jews enough kicked them out of Jordan.