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Sometimes the unknown can be turned to good.
In Athens Paul of Tarsus the Apostle to the Gentiles encountered the altar to an unknown god. In a city of 10,000 with approximately 30,000 alters, temples, and statues to gods this only made sense. As people obsessed with making sure they didn’t insult their temperamental and vengeful gods they had to cover all their bases just in case they’d left one out. To a man dedicated to spreading the Good News that the one true God of all creation had come to Earth as a man and paid the price for our sins, this flock of gods and their multitude of altars culminating in an altar to an unknown god could have been the cause of anxiety.
Instead Paul saw it for what it was: the emblem of a people who did not know God. And he used it as a launching pad for a teaching moment. He stood in the market place of ideas and expounded upon the salvation message, “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things.” Thus an unknown was turned to good.
In Arlington National Cemetery stands the Tomb of the Unknowns. This monument to heroes holds the remains of American soldiers who gave their lives and the last full measure of those lives, their identity, to protect our nation from foreign enemies. These unknown sons, brothers, and husbands stand forever as the anonymous symbol of American bravery and self-sacrifice. In their loss we have gained much: freedom, independence and inspiration. The unknown heroes still guard and protect the last best hope of man. Thus the unknown is turned to good.
On December 7, 1941 airplanes from the navy of the Japanese Empire struck without warning against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The next day an enraged America cheered as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt asked and received a declaration of war against Japan. Please note that he did not ask for a declaration of war against sneak attacks.
On September 11, 2001 the World Trade Towers in New York City were hit by two hijacked jets in what has been and will hopefully remain the largest and most deadly attack against the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave by a foreign enemy on American soil. The next day was there a declaration of war sought by our president? Was the enemy ever determined? Has a declaration of war ever been sought by our leaders or passed by our Congress?
President G. W. Bush did not ask for a declaration of war. Of the 19 hijackers fifteen were citizens of Saudi Arabia while the rest were one Egyptian, one Lebanese, and two from the Union of Arab Emirates. All of them were followers of Osama bin Laden the founder of al-Qaeda. All of them were radical fundamentalist Muslims. No declaration of war was ever sought against al-Qaeda. Instead we were told that America was no in a War on Terror.
Yes, President Bush did seek and obtain the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) from Congress which was passed on September 14, 2001. While this gave the president the authority “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons” it was not a declaration of war.
According to Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, only Congress has the power to declare war. It also has the power to pass laws and the AUMF is a law and thus it is valid and binding yet after eleven years perhaps we should ask ourselves why hasn’t a war ever been declared?
And if it was who should we declare war upon?
America has not declared war since December 8, 1941, and yet we have fought the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the First Gulf War, and now the War on Terror. We are also fighting a War on Poverty, a War on Drugs, a War on Illiteracy, and even a War on Obesity. Ask yourself, are we winning any of these wars?
When you fight against a general opposed to a specific enemy it is like trying to herd snakes or nail jello to the wall. You might expend quite a bit of effort and you might feel like your accomplishing something; however, in the end the snakes go where they want and the jello ends up on the floor.
Everyone in America knows who attacked us on 9-11, and everyone knows who we are at war with: radical fundamentalist Islam. Not the religion of Islam but one virulent branch of it that has declared war on us and is straining every resource to bring about our destruction. Some may say this is a broad-brush statement; however, it can be easily made more specific. Our perennial negotiation partners, the Islamic Republic of Iran, declared war on America in 1979 and has been at war with us ever since even if we haven’t bothered to notice. Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda declared war on America twice, once in 1996 and again in 1998. And our new friends and allies the Muslim Brotherhood declared war on America in 2010.
If everyone knows who we are at war with why can’t our leaders say so? Why doesn’t our government declare war and marshal the vast power of the United States and its people to win?
The Bible tells us “The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is servant to the lender.” America under the rule of the Progressives and their Environmental Religion have decreed that we cannot use our own energy and so we are eternally destined to stand in line for the oil of the Mideast. Saudi Arabia is one of our largest suppliers of oil so we couldn’t blame the Saudis just because the founder of al-Qaeda, the majority of the hijackers, and most of their funding are Saudi in origin. We can’t blame the Afghans even though they harbored bin Laden and provided him with a base to launch his attacks.
President Bush couldn’t bring himself to name our attackers or declare war on our enemies. Instead he followed in the footsteps of Truman who called the Korean War a police action and Johnson who said we could have guns and butter as he sent hundreds of thousands of America’s finest to fight a war based on a resolution not a declaration.
Then along came Barack Obama. He began the foreign policy of his administration with a ritual prostration before Islam in his Cairo speech which began the process of our surrender in a war against no one. He followed up by going to Turkey, an Islamic nation, and declaring America is not a Christian nation. Then he went to Saudi Arabia where he bowed to their king. Although this is just one in a series of bows he regularly makes to world leaders it is significant because we are supposedly at war with the very people the Saudis support.
After Navy seals killed Osama bib Laden the Obama Administration did make a declaration. They declared that the War on Terror is over. Of course they hadn’t been able to see acts of Islamic Terrorism since arriving in Washington. His Secretary of Homeland Security wasn’t even able to say the word terrorism instead she replaced the word with man-caused disaster. And although he calls the murders in Aurora, Colorado terrorism when Army Maj. Nidal Hasan climbs on a table and shouts “Allah Akbar!” as he methodically killed thirteen people and wounded forty three, Mr. Obama instead says Hasan cracked under stress. He explained, “everybody understands how outstanding the young men and women in uniform are under the most severe stress. There are going to be instances in which an individual cracks.” At the memorial speech at Fort Hood he refused to call this obvious terrorist attack what it was saying, instead, “hard to comprehend the twisted logic that led to this tragedy.”
Now the attacks on our embassies and consulates throughout the Islamic world are not terrorism they are instead a vocal movie review. The preplanned and coordinated attack that killed our Ambassador and three others in Libya is spontaneous. Iraq has been liberated and it now funnels Iranian men and material to support the Syrian regime. Afghanistan has also been liberated and hundreds chant anti-American slogans in the street, as their U. S. trained military use our soldiers for target practice and everyone in the world knows they will kick out the corruptocracy of Kahrzai and welcome back the Taliban the day we leave.
Unless and until you admit you have a problem there is no hope for a solution. You can’t wrestle the fog. If we fight a war against no one we expend our most precious treasure: the lives of our heroes chasing rumors and killing time. And if we aren’t careful, if we don’t call our so-called leaders to account, this might end up as a war no one wins.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2012 Robert R. Owens [email protected] Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens