Originally written March 2012
Having spent three and a half years of my adult life embedded in the Middle East ”sharing our culture” with the Iraqis, Afghanis, Jordanians, and Saudis, I feel like I can speak firsthand about our foreign policy experiment with a high degree of clarity that a lot of our pundits and politicians seem to not grasp.
Keep in mind now, this is neither chastisement nor a condemnation, but rather an honest observation about what we are doing (or not doing) in that particular area of the world to make the world a better place.
I read an article during my 2008 Afghanistan tour that profoundly changed my opinion about our chances for success over there. The article was written by a retired four-star Marine General, who for the life of me, I can’t remember, nor had any success in finding the article. But the gist of it was if we really want to affect meaningful change in Afghanistan, we would need to commit hundreds of thousands of troops, over a 30-40 year window. In other words, it would take a whole generation to die off before the new generation could make things turn around for the better. From a completely secular standpoint, he might be on to something.
But, it made a lot of sense to me, considering I had studied the history of Afghanistan long before I ever went over there. Alexander the Great, the Mongols, the British, and the Russians all failed to affect change, although they were the superior powers in their respective days. In fact, the only thing that was able to sweep in there and really make a difference (for the worse, unfortunately) was the spread of Islam. The other day, I was reading a Cal Thomas article called ‘Leave Afghanistan Now’ and at the bottom of the article, was a single comment that just blew me away. It’s what I’ve always known to be the truth, but have never been able to say as succinctly or as eloquently in my innumerable conversations about it, as this person has.
“So then, the predictions that historians made at the beginning of this conflict have been proven right. Afghan has never been held long by any superpower. The armies of Alexander, the massacres of the Mongols, the might of Britain and the technology of the Soviet Union have all failed to hold the country. They are a fiercely independent people, valuing individual freedom above security. The only conquest that was successful was a religious one, of Islam. It is Christianity, not Western culture, which is the answer to the chaos of Afghanistan. The biggest tactical mistake that the US army may have made was to burn a shipment of Afghan Bibles.” (Phos)
Is it just me, or is that so blindingly spot on, that it should be taught in our War College as Doctrine? Think about it…all these mighty powers have come and gone in this rugged nation of proud tribal clans, and to date, not been able to do what the cult of Islam has done? We here in the West (and that is a collective ‘We’), seem to think that Afghanistan has always been Islamic, or are we willingly ignoring the historical fact of how Islam spread? It sure wasn’t spread by going door to door and handing out pamphlets. It was spread by the Sword of Allah, and from the middle of the Seventh century on, it’s been marching east and west taking millions into a system of brutal bondage the likes the world has never seen.
But in Afghanistan, there were primitive and rugged tribal groups, who only quit fighting each other when an outsider came in, in which they joined forces and turned on the outsiders. Adding a brutal, repressive system like Islam on top of an already primitive culture, and you have gasoline on dry kindling. Is it any wonder why there is no negotiating with them? Is there any wondering why they riot and kill each other at a whim, because of a supposed offense at a book (Koran) most of them can’t even read? We, westerners, think that by holding “Shura’s” and drinking tea with them will build some kind of rapport, but we’re only fooling ourselves because they know better. They’ll only negotiate on what benefits them, not the other way around.
Luis Bush, a Christian Strategist Activist, was the first to coin the phrase, the 10/40 window. Basically, it’s the eastern region of the world that falls in between the 10-40 degrees north of the equator. Looking at the map, one almost immediately recognizes this as the single greatest area outside the influence of Christianity. It is home to Islam, Hinduism, Shinto’s, Buddhism, Confucianism, and many other non-Christian belief systems. It is also wracked with war, disease, and poverty far greater than anywhere else on the planet. So why is that?
Then he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Greece will come. But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth. (No one upholds me against these, except Michael your prince. Daniel 10:20-21
In reading this, one can infer that within the Angelic realms, there are hierarchical structures that we are only given small glimpses of. And what two nations sit right in the middle of this 10/40 window? Persia and Ancient Babylon. It is my understanding, that Angels, whether fallen or not, do not inhabit time like you and I do, and should be understood that they (these princes of Persia and Greece) are still alive and well on planet earth. It certainly explains a lot when you understand that demonic strongholds still exist, and still sway nations and leaders like Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao Tse Tung, Saddam Hussein, Ayatollah Khomeini, and the Kim’s in North Korea.
If you look at the big picture, Christianity began to spread from Jerusalem outward. Five centuries before the thought Islam came into little Mohammed’s mind; Syria, Egypt, and Turkey were predominantly Christian nations. Modern-day Yemen was at one time, a Jewish Himyarite kingdom while most of Europe was still tromping around in the mud in Barbarian clans.
Islam, founded by an illiterate son of a trader, traveled with his familial clan on trade routes and picked up bits and pieces from different belief systems along the way. That is why there are biblical characters in Islam. That’s why there is the idea of 72 virgins from Zoroastrianism (Persian) beliefs in Islam. That’s why there is heavy Arab pagan symbolism (crescent moon) in Islam. Islam is a conglomerate of all the different belief systems with a sword. There is no peace with Islam, and it doesn’t matter how good we train their armies or what politician we put in power there, you can’t negotiate with demonic theology. But if you want a full in-depth debriefing on the last 1400 years of Islam, go here.
So, we liberated the Iraqis, we got rid of Saddam and his two thug sons and got the purple fingers of victory elections. The Iraqis, predictably, elected along religious and ethnic lines, and now have a fractured and dysfunctional government accusing each other of aiding the insurgency and the Iranians. Muqtada al Sadr’s forces are backed by the Iranians vying for power against the Sunnis, both of which are trying to get a piece of the Kurdish oil money. I wonder if that was what President Bush meant by “spreading democracy?”
The one thing we could have done to really affect change there, in either place, we shunned because of our own political correctness. How did the United States and later Europe come to have stable, open, and democratic societies? How democratic was Europe under the: Barbarians, Kings, and the Roman Catholic Church? How democratic were the Russians under the Czars and Bolsheviks?
We (collective we) are so sheepish when it comes to doing what needs to be done. We’ll do everything BUT the right thing, hoping against hope that fate will somehow blow us some good fortune. They say…” we can’t go imposing our values on them!” WHY NOT? Those unfortunate Afghans centuries ago, who under pain of death, were converted to Islam would probably think otherwise.
How can we claim to liberate peoples from dictators, yet leave them oppressed under such an OBVIOUS system that advocates raping children, keeping women uneducated and buried under the head to toe burqas, and prevents anyone from ever leaving that religion or face stoning or beheading? We get rid of one bad guy, and ten more pop up in his place. What does that tell you? It tells me, that unless you change their thinking about life and death, there will never be enough young American men and women to send over there that will make one bit of difference the millisecond we leave.
If you want to win and spread democracy in this area of the world known as 10/40, you better come armed with something stronger than cruise missile, because the mightiest armies in the world cannot fight against spiritual strongholds, no matter how powerful our guns might be.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6:10-13