Hey there peoples! I apologize that it's been so long since my last posting. I typically only have time to do this on the weekends, and things have been absolute insanity this past month. But I'm back, I'm posting, and I should have plenty of rantings to make up this month to you guys.
Well, I can't rant and not talk about Iraq. Let's get down to business. There's so much to talk about. First things first, I must say I'm a little frustrated. Why are politicians treating this $87 billion like a political football, as if Bush were asking for this money just to tick off Democrats? Granted, that is a lot of money, but let's not ignore what it's for. Two-thirds of that is going towards defense. That means we need that money to buy more weapons for our troops, pay their reimbursements, and buy body armor and shielded hum-vees. In other words, delaying this money is only hurting our troops (the ones those yahoos care so much about). The remaining third goes towards rebuilding Iraq. That is, creating economic revival, restoring more of the public services (such as fire protection), and helping the people work towards standing on their own feet (in other words, showing the world that we really are liberators, and not conquerors or occupiers). And that money can't be used to pay off any of the debts Saddam accumulated while in office (to Europe and Russia, no less . . . I wonder if they'll show their compassion for the Iraqi people and let those debts slide . . .). Short of rebuilding their economy, if Iraq is to repay any debts, their oil money is going to go towards it. That's right, this war, which was all about the oil apparently, will yield NO oil for the US. Do you think the press is going to be sharing that fact with us any time soon? But the bottom line is, if we don't use that money in Iraq, our troops will be in even more danger, and we will be doing a great injustice to the Iraqi people.
Now I know that some people have some objections to this. Yes, it's a lot of money, and yes, I'm sure we could find some very good uses for it at home. But what kind of people would we be if we said, "Nuts to our commitments and obligations abroad. Let's spend that money on ourselves and to hell with the rest of the world!" Besides, that money is very needed. And at least the Bush administration is upfront about it all with us. When this thing started, they said, "We will pay what this costs and be in there until it is finished." Such a high price? Let's look at Bosnia. Clinton said that troops would be there for about a year, and that costs would be relatively low. We still have troops in Bosnia, and the accumulated cost of that entire episode has so far reached $60 billion. Does anyone mention that? Do many people realize that? If we're going to make something work, we can't just put a modicum of effor and funding into it. We have to give it everything it needs to work.
So, I suppose at this point I should also mention that WMD report that David Kay just released. People are trumpeting it as the "proof" that Bush was "lying" about WMDs, that there never were any in Iraq, and that we launched an unjustified war.
First, David Kay made it clear in his report that it was just a "snapshot", in his own words, of what had happened so far. He has been looking into this for barely three months (my, we are such an impatient people). Anybody who uses what he said in that report as the end all of this entire thing is just ignoring reality. And what did he say in the report? No, he didn't discover any warheads or missles or bombs or anything of that nature. What he did find, though, was that Iraq had obtained strains of a deadly botulinum to be weaponized, and that it had been running a weapons program past the beginning of the US invasion. Now, for those without good recall, the terms of the UN resolutions had always been not just that Saddam not have any weapons, but also that any program designed towards pursuing such weapons was a violation. Like it or not, Saddam Hussein did not have clean hands on this WMD issue, no matter what the scoffers say.
So where are the weapons? A good question to be sure, but just to be clear, not having found them so far does not mean they did not exist. Anyone who claims that we rushed into war is being ridiculous. For more than a year, we made it clear we were readying the hammer to bring down upon Saddam if he didn't comply with the UN. Bush went before the UN several times, he went before the Congress, he went before the people, saying for so long that action needed to be taken, lest Saddam be allowed to just ignore his crimes without consequence. We gave ample time for Saddam to realize that conflict was coming, and Saddam of all people would realize this, since he knew better than anyone that inspectors were not going to see his stashes. So, given all of that time, is it unreasonable to assume that he maybe, just maybe, hid the weapons for a time when he would return after the US troops were gone? I mean, Syria, right over the border, was friendly with Iraq. It all could have gone there. We found Saddam's troops burying MiGs (not an easy task, mind you). Is it not possible that the weapons are sitting under the sand somewhere in Iraq, just waiting to be dug up by Saddam loyalists when the time is right? We haven't found the weapons yet? Doesn't matter. We've found enough, and until it is proved the weapons never existed, we need to continue the search.
Well, that's it for Iraq. In other news, it seems that once again Rush Limbaugh is being labeled a racist. That charge just irritates me. Let me be clear: What I don't know about football could fill a stadium. I don't care whether Donovan McNabb is really that great of a quarterback or not. The issue is, Rush accused the NFL spinmeisters of making more of McNabb than he really was because they wanted to see a black player in the limelight. What was racist about that? He said nothing disparaging about McNabb short of him being overrated (and his skills were in no way connected to his race, that would be racist). Limbaugh, if anything, was accusing the NFL media of being racist, and in classic PC-age showmanship, they turned the tables right back on Limbaugh. Ever insinuating that racism helped a non-white person is equivalent to being racist yourself. Yeesh.
And, in non-political news, I have just been very frustrated lately. I will not question a fellow Christian's salvation so long as they hold to the essentials of the faith and their lives show the fruit of the Spirit. But I find doctrine to be very important, even if it isn't an essential. Why? The doctrines we hold have far reaching implications in the way we think about and live out our faith . . . ideas have consequences.
So what's the deal? My mind is just boggled by this idea that those who are not Christians, who have never heard the Gospel, will be saved. I just don't get it. First off, the Bible says we are saved by faith, and that no one is saved except through Jesus' sacrifice, and the atoning work of that sacrifice is imparted to us only by that faith. How can someone who does not have faith in Christ be saved? Such a concept goes completely against the Biblical model of salvation. I've heard people say that if someone sincerely seeks after God to the best of their knowledge, God will save them. I'm sorry, but that doesn't work either. The Bible explicitly says that no one seeks God, that all have turned their back on Him. In other words, if someone is not a Christian, they can't be said to be seeking God sincerely. I've also heard people say that the Gospel will be presented to people after they die, so they may have one last chance to either accept or reject Christ. That is very unbiblical, and removes all traces of free will. Imagine standing in front of the pearly gates, and the glorified Lord Jesus comes before you and says that you must put faith in Him. Even the most hardened, God-hating atheist could not turn down such an offer, staring right into the face of either eternal communion with the sovereign Lord or eternal damnation and complete separation from Him.
Aside from that, look at the consequences. Let's say that those who never have a chance to decide on faith in Jesus are saved. Why would Christ make such a big deal of taking the Good News to the world? Why would the apostles, and Paul especially, make such a big deal of sharing the name of Christ to people who had never heard the name if they were already saved? Would we not be giving an automatic death sentence to people who end up not believing by bringing the Gospel to those who haven't heard it? Would it not serve the kingdom more to just cease all evangelism and preaching of God's name all together? I'm sorry, but ideas have consequences, and the salvation of those who have never heard the Gospel, who have no faith in Christ, just has too many bad implications to it.
Well, I hope that's enough ranting for one day. Stay tuned for more exciting rambling from me, same bat-time, same bat-website. :-)