Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Archbishop's Christmas Message

From the Times today this comment on Iraq.

Christians in the Middle East are being put at unprecedented risk by the Government’s “shortsighted” and “ignorant” policy in Iraq, The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, says today.

In an extraordinary attack, Dr Williams accuses Tony Blair and the US of endangering the lives and futures of many thousands of Christians in the Middle East, who are regarded by their countrymen as supporters of the “crusading West

How strange! I have seen no news items about US or British troops hunting out Christians and shooting them. Oh, I see! It's the fanatical Muslims who are terrorizing the Christian Iraqis. But aren't they also terrorizing thousands of moderate Muslims too? People are suffering in Iraq because armed gangs are rampaging in the streets without the control of law. Indeed these armed gangs have been recruited into the law-enforcing agencies and are murdering their political enemies by masquerading as policemen.

What does the Archbishop of Canterbury suggest? That British and American troops should leave and allow the opposing militias to slug it out until the land is bare of infesting humans? I suppose he can claim Biblical precedence. Jesus taught his disciples to 'shake the dust off their feet' and leave any village that did not receive them. But there is another precedent. Abraham negotiated with God, not to destroy Sodom if there were to be found ten righteous men in that city. As we know only Lot could be found as an example of righteousness and it was easier to remove Lot than preserve Sodom. Are there not ten righteous men in Baghdad?

What Rowan Williams is offering is appeasement of a particularly craven sort. If I keep my head below the parapet and don't make a fuss, perhaps they will leave me and mine alone.

Let us be clear: the evil doers in Iraq are not Tony Blair and George Bush. However unwise the invasion of Iraq has turned out to be, however, maladroit has been the handling of the occupation, their instincts in removing Saddam were correct.

Saddam was an evil dictator with no concern for his own people or his neighbors. In the film "Lords of War" the Ian Holm character was accused of selling arms to both sides in the Iran/Iraq war. "Has it ever occurred to you that I wanted both sides to lose?" he replies. That was the attitude of a lot of people at the time, but undoubtedly Saddam's regime was utterly vile.

The invasion of Kuwait gave the rest of the world sufficient cause for restraining him, but fear of unleashing chaos in Iraq held Bush 41 back from removing him. Instead he was hemmed in by sanctions.

Sanctions seldom work. Those imposing them are accused of harming the poor and needy. Pictures of starving children and hospitals without medicines were used to justify the oil for food program, money from which was diverted from food to palaces. France, Russia and China all connived with Saddam to beat the sanctions. The UN, which employs some of the biggest crooks on the planet, turned a blind eye to corruption within and without.

The choices in 2003 were to give in to Saddam and allow him to resume his nuclear ambitions or to take him out by actually enforcing Resolution 1441. Some nations for very good pecuniary reasons wanted a UN fudge; other saw more clearly that the charade could not continue.

I see Bush 41’s error as similar to King Saul’s in 1 Samuel chapter 15. Saul failed to utterly destroy the Amalekites and George H Bush failed to utterly destroy Saddam. Bush 43 had an option in 2003. He might have crushed completely the Baathists and installed a puppet king; instead he trusted the Iraqis to sort out their own mess with a little aid and training. By committing too few troops he ended up with a worse mess than he started with. Nearly every savage Muslim in the world has descended on Baghdad looking for trouble, and worse, their partial success has been an efficient recruiting sergeant.

Parallels with Viet Nam are easily drawn. A military success is allowed to become a propaganda defeat. The fourth estate has become a fifth column. Potentially Bush had five years to win this war but he squandered the goodwill and by losing the mid-terms he has emasculated himself.

There was a time when Christians would stand up and oppose evil. Robert Raikes saw poor children unable to read and write and started Sunday Schools, the forerunners of public education. William Wilberforce saw the slave trade and campaigned for his whole life to abolish it. Lord Shaftsbury saw children in factories and fought to abolish the practice. William Booth saw drunkenness destroying families and founded the Salvation Army. John Howard and Elizabeth Fry and the prisons, Florence Nightingale and hospitals, Dr Barnardo and orphans; all Christians who saw evil and stood up against it. Rowan Williams sees the evil of murderous Muslims in Iraq and lies down before it. If we keep very quiet and very small they might pass us by and go and kill somebody else instead.


Anonymous said...

you will never get anywhere talking like this. simpilistic & crass.

major fact is that so many people
have died.....all in iraq,not in usa -
apart from that little 9/11 thing....a
minor hic-cup in the world relativities of everything, not in britain. no bombs raining down
on cities & towns,

always,the bottom line is check out the who is copping it .

how the main players can lie straight in bed at night is a mystery.

saddam....what is so bad about him? its their joint. as soon as he goes another creep does the same
thing.....its their style of running their country. they must fix it.

why not sort out every country
that the west disapproves of with
military destruction!

if the results of this most unwise
excursion into iraq had mobs of
bombs raing down on london and new york it would be a different kettle of fish.

i think the whole thing stinks....and it always has.
after two big world wars,you would think some altruistic drama
might enact worldwide....instead,
as always its business as usual.

your christian messing seems to have little going for it.


Terry Hamblin said...


You would have fitted in very well in Biblical times. I can just see you now - walking by on the other side of the road.

I have lived through a war when bombs rained down on our cities and towns. When you have, your opinion might count for something.

Marc said...

"I see Bush 41’s error as similar to King Saul’s in 1 Samuel chapter 15. Saul failed to utterly destroy the Amalekites and George H Bush failed to utterly destroy Saddam."

Or maybe as you stated earlier in the post

"fear of unleashing chaos in Iraq held Bush 41 back from removing him"

was pretty insightful of Bush 41.

Too bad Bush 43 wasn't as insightful!

Anonymous said...

joe lived in cities during those same wars close to terry and was also bombed out in those years - he still
thinks killing and maiming many people throughout the world in the name of any damn government,any
wonderful business empire is what its all about.....and opinions,by terry
or joe,don't count for much at all -
if bournemouth were bombed to rubble next week & full of soldiers,no water,electricity etc etc
our opinions would alter no matter which side of the road joe and terry are on.

nothing excuses the long crawl
of historical cruelty.

at some point of focus it looks deliberate or avoidable.


Terry Hamblin said...

I haven't lived in Bournemouth all my life. In London in 1943-5 60,000 civilians were killed by the V1 and V2 rockets from Germany. It was not a time to roll over and play dead. These were as nothing compared to the 6 million killed in concentration camps by the dictator Hitler. Had the western democracies taken pre-epmtive military action this might have been avoided.

In Rwanda 800,000 Tutsis were hacked to death by Hutus. Had the Western democracies taken pre-emptive action this might never have happened.

Because there is a reluctance to employ military force against tyrants, evil dictators get away with murder.

I believe that weakness and cowardice have allowed chaos and oppression to dominate the planet. The people of North Korea, Zimbabwe, Iran, and China itself have all suffered persecution because of politically correct pacifism.

Even following Gandhi's example would be better than the present cowardice. He, at least opposed evil. Although he did not take arms against it, he was prepared to lay down his life before it. Present day pacifists seek an accomodation with evil, a compromise where they do not put themselves in danger.

Anonymous said...

terry: 'i haven't lived in bournemouth all my life......'

yes i understand.
perhaps if terry were slaughtering for the good of all
it would work.

most unfortunately,it seems to work out more complicated than this.

also,i have a peculiar aversion to creaming mobs of
wogs and kids with bombs,planes and automatic weapons.

apparently,various world leaders don't mind doing this at all,nor do the people employed under their leadership.

i don't think there is a solution to the way things exist at the moment.

at a personal level its no good being a mug.
you seem to thing the world gestalt is hindsight towards 1936 offers,however i don't think
the position is clear at all.....although,from iran's position it might be argued that it is clear,that they should get nukes as quickly as possible.

face facts:since the end of the 2nd world war ( into
which both of us were born) ,the bastards have had
lots of time to change everything......its all been so weird!

convolutions of sheer stupidity!

we don't just act like switzerland,
its been one long nightmare.


Terry Hamblin said...

Here is another response to Rowan Williams's leadership of the Anglican Fellowship. It is from Tony Pearce, pastor of The Bridge Lane Christian Fellowship.

Dear Dr Williams,

I have read the article in ‘The Tablet’ in which you speak about people leaving Bethlehem in large numbers and then ask the question: ‘I would like to know how much it matters to the Israeli Government to have Christian communities in the Holy Land. Are they an embarrassment or are they part of a solution? That’s a question.’

No doubt the Israelis have already given you their answer, perhaps informing you that the Christian Arab population within the pre 1967 borders of Israel has grown from approximately 34,000 in 1948 to nearly 130,000 in 2005. Ironically this is the only part of the Middle East where the Christian population is growing.

You should really have asked the Palestinian Authority how much it matters to them that there are Christian communities in their territory. The main reason for the departure of Christians from PA administered territories is the religious persecution, murder and land grabs which stems from the increased Islamisation of the region. This is the result of the PA adopting Muslim religious law in the territories in contrast to Israel which safeguards the religious freedom on its citizens.
You have nothing to say about the likes of George Rabie, featured in a recent article in the Mail on Sunday who is a taxi driver from Bethlehem and was beaten up by Muslims using his cab when they discovered he is a Christian. He said ‘Every day, I experience discrimination. It is a type of racism. We are a minority so we are an easier target. Many extremists from the villages are coming into Bethlehem.’

Nor have you championed the cause of those who have been subjected to forced marriages of Christian women to Muslim men, received death threats for distributing the Bible to willing Muslims, or been intimidated into wearing traditional ultra-modest Islamic clothing. Nor have you written about the churches which have been firebombed by Muslim extremists protesting against the remarks of the Pope (most recently in Nablus, Tubas, and Gaza). Nor about the situation in which Christian Arabs have found their land expropriated by Muslims or been forced to pay bribes to win the freedom of family members jailed on trumped-up charges.

All of this is the main reason why Christian Arabs have been selling or abandoning homes and businesses, seeking to escape the chaos and corruption of the PA and move to Israel, Europe, South America, North America, or wherever they can get a visa.

Why do you have nothing to say about any of this in The Tablet or other public media? Of course you do not need to answer. We all know. No one in public life dares to make any comment even mildly critical of Islamic behaviour. On the other hand Israeli Jews are an easy target. In this way we in the west are already submitting to Islamic demands and behaving like ‘dhimmi’ citizens subject to the rule of the mosque. I find this utterly shameful and a betrayal of the Lord Jesus Christ.

However, The Bridge Lane Christian Fellowship is located in Golders Green.

Steve Madden said...

On September 13, 2002, US Catholic bishops signed a letter to President Bush stating that any "pre-emptive, unilateral use of military force to overthrow the government of Iraq" could not be justified at the time. They came to this position by evaluating whether an attack against Iraq would satisfy the criteria for a just war as defined by Catholic theology.

The Vatican also came out against war in Iraq. Archbishop Renato Raffaele Martino, a former U.N. envoy and current prefect of the Council for Justice and Peace, told reporters that war against Iraq was a "preventative" war and constituted a "war of aggression", and thus did not constitute a just war.

The foreign minister, Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, expressed concerns that a war in Iraq would inflame anti-Christian feelings in the Islamic world. On February 8, 2003, Pope John Paul II said "we should never resign ourselves, almost as if war is inevitable."

Both the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, and his successor, Rowan Williams, spoke out against war with Iraq.

The executive committee of World Council of Churches, an organization joined by churches with a combined membership of between 350 million and 450 million Christians from over 100 countries,[15] issued a statement in opposition to war with Iraq, stating that "War against Iraq would be immoral, unwise, and in breach of the principles of the United Nations Charter."

Terry Hamblin said...

It is just as I thought, the wimps have taken over the world.

Terry Hamblin said...

We faced the same problem with animal experiments. Just because some thugs started threatening scientists the vast majority decided to keep the heads down so as not to draw attention to themselves. When I made my TV film attacking the animal libbers I could hardly find a single scientist who was willing to appear.

Although Edmund Burke didn't say it, it is still an important aphorism, "Evil triumphs when good men do nothing."

Anonymous said...

in terryworld what would you do - something nice for christmas in basra ?

say terry is a 9 year old iraqi boy,what does he characteristically dream about,how many close relatives have been kiled.......does he want a gun for christmas?

look its a great way to bring up kids.! about it on every fridge in new york where they fuss about which of 7 types of orange juice junior gets in daycare.
.'....With nearly half of Iraq's population under 18 years of age, the devastating impact of the violent and chaotic occupation is that much greater. Three wars since 1980, a refugee crisis of staggering proportions, loss of family members, suicide attacks, car bombs and the constant threat of home raids by occupation soldiers or death squads have meant that young Iraqis are shattered physically and mentally.' of course,
terry remembers this one.....'all i want for christmas is my two front that i can whistle.'

its all happening OVER THERE.....not here. perhaps
you are saying ihat without the wimps it would be happening here right in the heart of terryworld!

anyway,a clever man like you has it all worked out eh!


Vance Esler said...

I could not agree with you more, Terry.

Fighting terrorists is akin to fighting cancer: if you do not, it will kill you.

The argument should not be whether, it should be how.

Post-modernists think all men are inherently good, and if we'll only appeal to their good nature, they will come around. Christians, on the other hand, understand that men are utterly corrupt and evil by nature. (That's why we need saving.)

When fighting cancer, chemotherapy kills bad cells. Unfortunately, it kills good ones, too. So does a just war.

And like chemo, stopping short still leaves you with cancer (or terrorists).

Anonymous said...

how peculiar that gore vidal should agree with both of you!

a man that knows more about the inside of the inside than have a look:-

is there some mistake? does he really mean....
"go forth and cream as many wogs as you can!"

joe - who thinks hypocrisy is wasted
on mere history.....ahhh! yes, the tribute vice pays to virtue......

.......dreaming in sunny australia,about the king - my father's wreck!

Anonymous said...

I suspect the anonymous who has posted in response to Terry's post is a Moslem.

I love the line, "Saddam, what's so bad about him?"

Let's see, he gassed to death thousands of men, women and children. He presided over 'rape rooms' where women were brought in to be raped repeatedly.

Indeed, 'what is so bad about him?'

It's idiots such as this that give humans a bad name. Ignore him and he will self-destruct on cue.

Barbara Wendt said...

The policy of "preemptive strike" by Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, and Rice is, I think, WRONG. The first invasion of Iraq was warranted when Sadaam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and I agree with you, it should have been finished properly with the removal of Hussein. This time, the UN inspectors found no weapons of mass destruction, and CIA evidence was changed and exaggerated. Then Bush linked 9/11 to Iraq, even though there were no Iraqis involved!

Perhaps "preemptive strike" is akin to trying to change other people. We could ourselves become evil. We're not talking about putting our heads in the sand.