Monday, September 11, 2006

What 9/11 has done for me 

Not much, really, I'm afraid.

I know a lot of people's worldview was fundamentally changed by 9/11. A lot of so-called "neoconservatives" were born- people who were traditionally socially liberal but who suddenly became hawks when they saw the towers come down. I was already a hawk, though a cautious one. I continue to be that.

On 9/10, I was pretty cynical about democracy. It seemed to me to be massively corrupt and fraudulent. On 9/11 I was reeling in shock like most everyone else. And on 9/12 I found new-found faith in my government and leaders to do the right thing. That faith was badly misplaced, and five years on I find myself once again deeply cynical about democracy.

I still think it's the best option among all the alternatives. Or to use the old cliche, the worst form of government except for all the others. But I am very skeptical about democracy being a force for good in the world. There's the old maxim about democracies never going to war with each other, which seems to be true, and that's about the best thing I can say for it. Israel / Lebanon didn't change that, as some suggested. Lebanon isn't really much of a democracy, and anyway Israel didn't go to war with them, they went to war with Hezbollah and Lebanon just got caught in the crossfire.

It also seems to me that we are right on the verge of total failure in Iraq. I was a supporter of the war, and I am still a supporter of the war as originally conceived, but it seems like the vision got badly lost somewhere along the way. Why didn't we string up Muqtada al-Sadr? Why are terrorists allowed in the government? Why did we permit a government to be set up that has elements of Sharia law in it, and why are we permitting our conquest to be ruled by a man who is friendly to Iran?

Our military has done a great job, but it seems that there was no serious thinking done about what to do with this nation once we had it. And unfortunately I don't think that our country is going to have the will to stick it out, and neither is Britain, and we'll likely leave the country in a bigger mess than it was in before. The near-treasonous Democrats will interpret this as a victory, and because of the idiot Republicans and their corruption, their tin ear on the immigration issue and on spending, and their almost total inability to accomplish anything useful with their congressional majorities, they will lose their majority (or come near to it), and be unable to preserve the important national security programs that have kept us safe.

The Iranians will continue to pursue a nuclear weapon while everyone else pretends to do something about it. One day they'll get one and they'll use it, on us. And in the meantimes, the slaughters continue unabated in North Korea, Sudan, Congo, and no doubt in lots of new and exciting hellholes in the years to come.

So five years on from 9/11 I am more pessimistic about the ability of this country to survive than I ever have before.

But God is in the heavens. His way is in the sanctuary. We see the truth of His sovereign rule in the advance of the church, which will continue, America or no America. So please don't interpret my pessimism about America as general pessimism. I am very optimistic about the future; I just doubt that the future includes an America in the same way it has for the last couple of hundred years. And if America does somehow survive all of this, it will be because of God's undeserved benevolence to us, and not because of anything great about this country. A country that murders over a million babies a year and pretends that homosexuality is the same or better than heterosexuality long ago gave up any right to call itself great.

UPDATE: Andrea says this was way too negative for "Patriot Day". Sorry all. I certainly do mourn the loss of those who died on 9/11, and I hail the heroism of those who died to save others that day. And I also give a great deal of credit to our servicemen who have done an outstanding job since then in prosecuting what I believe to be necessary wars and operations. I pray for their safety, and my frustrtion is directed at the failure to capitalize on their successes. And so I will allow my comments to stand, despite my wife's disapprobation.

I think your general thoughts are reflective of what most American's think as well. The frustration with the current state of affairs reflects a general lack of strategic thinking on the part of our national command authority. What we have now is the result of all ideological thinking and no strategic thinking.

However, I would disagree with your statement about Iran. I do not think that Iran has any interest in nuking the United States homeland. The real issue for Iran is twofold, preservation of the regime and regional geopolitical hegemony. Iran knows very well that they do not have the capability to deliver a nuclear weapon (unless one admits fanciful made for TV threat scenarios) nor does a stike on the US give them any leverage or devlop as part of a larger strategic vision. While I think that the Iranians are crazy, I do not think they are psychotic.

Lastly, if we were to measure great nations by their turpitude, no one would be left standing. Any defintion of a "great nation" is bound up in man's sinful jingoism. I think by having a more biblical view of nation-states (which I think is what you were giving) we can avoid any thoughts of being great and focus on being godly.
Thanks for the thoughts.

I hope you're right about Iran. It seems to me they certainly could deliver a nuclear weapon. There are more ways to do that than just by ICBM. I don't think that's made-for-TV daydreaming- I bet many would have said the same thing about terrorists crashing three planes into buildings five years and one day ago, but getting a small ship into a major harbor, or any number of other scenarios, seems to me very plausible. And getting a bomb near enough to a major US base in Iraq or Afghanistan also seems very doable, and that would still be striking us, if not on our own soil.

I'd not want to contradict your insight on Iran's motivation- again, I'm just hoping you're right. Al Qaeda did something contrary to their own best interest on 9/11, yet they still did it. Many people have acted throughout history based on religious worldviews that, if false, would badly hurt their own self-interest, yet act they did. Every suicide bomber in the Gaza strip proves this. Maybe not enough of them could concentrate power in a nation to override the realists. Maybe. But Iran's current behavior doesn't seem to bear this out. They seem to me to be anxious to provoke a confrontation.

The Soviet Union chose a path, based on ideology, that was ultimately self-destructive. And it cost us a great deal of heartache and trouble on the way. If every nation acted in their self-interest, they all would become free-market capitalist nations and become rich like us. But ideology is a powerful force, even if those ideologies are false.
In our Bible study tonight we looked at Ephesians 1:22: "And [God] hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Christ [not the Republicans, thank God] is the fulness that fills all in all. He does all things for the church. He will shake all things that that which cannot be shaken may remain. I feel like you do, Matt, until I remember that our Lord Jesus has His own agenda, and it might mean shaking the whole world, to shake out his elect, and to prepare the rest for the day of wrath.

"When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction."
Psalm 73:16-18.

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