CanWest newspapers today are running a story about a dire warning from the Taliban, that it will continue targeting Canadian non-military workers -- like the two women gunned down in cold blood the other day -- unless Canada pulls its troops out of Afghanistan. There's the usual "supporting the fascist American regime" rhetoric, with the underlying theme that the Taliban have done absolutely nothing to warrant such treatment.
Normally, "I told you so" is useless, but bear with me on this one.
In the days after 9/11, which was also in the days before the explosive expansion of the blogosphere, a friend of mine forwarded an email thread, where people literally around the world were writing out their feelings about what this meant and what the US should do.
I added a piece, which went somewhat against the grain. The item read that the most appropriate response would be to do ... nothing.
Why? Because this was obviously an attack that was driven not by the crazed ideology of a bunch of people following a false god, but by Satan himself. And the only way to fight such an attack is to take it out of the flesh-and-blood realm and into the spirit realm, where the real war is going on.
Need I cite Ephesians 6:12?
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places].
Christ calls on us to respond in ways that the world would not expect. Praying for the people who did it, vowing not to be shaken in one's faith, and NOT sacrificing thousands of young lives in a futile attempt at retaliation are responses Satan would not have expected. Just as Jesus forgave His tormentors on the Cross, we are called on to forgive those responsible. "Let's not let the epitaph for [the people who died in the 9/11 attacks] be World War III," was the way I finished the item.
The email drew an unexpectedly negative response from one corner. It was the brother of my friend, who (I didn't know this) is, in fact, a comedian of some note, a very funny man who has done a lot in the years that followed to maintain and enhance morale for our troops at home and overseas. But he levelled a 2-barrelled blast at the idea that we should just roll over and do nothing and demanded to be taken off the mailing list so he doesn't have to read this s**t anymore.
My friend consoled me accordingly, "don't worry about my brother. He's an idiot."
So here we are, nearly seven years after the 9/11 attacks, and where exactly are we? Young, promising lives are still getting blown away in the region, aid workers are being assassinated, and the Taliban, which for a time appeared to have been sharply reduced in power and presence, have gotten their second wind and are rattling their sabres as loudly as ever.
And I can't help wondering now, "what if?"
What if ... we had opted for prayer and forgiveness over shock and awe?
What if ... we had refused to get sucked into a military response?
What if ... we had listened to that British MP who warned that, even if "we" did "get" Osama bin Laden, 10,000 more would rise up in his place?
What if ... Christians had chosen to show how they are called to a higher level of thinking, and actually walked out the example and commandments of Jesus Christ?
Perhaps ... Muslims would have looked at that example and realized that Isalmist terrorism and aggression has NOTHING on Jesus. [The "let's all understand the Muslims" BS that filled the Canadian media after 9/11 was one of Satan's counterfeits: the first way to deal with evil is to recognize that it exists, then refuse to resist the evil but rather resist the Devil (James 4:7).]
Perhaps ... God would have blessed the effort to depose Saddam Hussein, first by delivering him switfly into the hands of the Coalition, and then by miraculously bringing stability to the country and reconciliation to the factions.*
Perhaps ... certain aid workers would be alive to help people in other areas, torn apart by war or natural disasters.
Perhaps ... tens of thousands of people would have their loved ones.
Perhaps ... there'd be something resembling peace -- not absence of war, necessarily, but the true peace, blessing and protection that come from doing it God's way, rather than our common practice of doing it our way and praying that He'll bless it.
Look at the fruits: can it really be said that God is blessing the way things are going now? The loss of innocent lives and the failure of the current approach tell me that He isn't.
Saying "I told you so" -- especially seven years after the fact -- is usually useless. But when we're dealing with Christ, we can still get back on the right track, simply by turning to Him. Praise God, when we're in Christ, we can screw up and step outside of God's ways, but still repent, get back in line, and call on Him to take care of healing the past.
*[It's my belief that God wanted Saddam dealt with -- the way He wanted the Amalekites, Canaanites and Philistines "dealt with" -- for a long time, but that Satan has been trying to muck things up. First, George HW Bush eased up on Iraq in the Gulf War and didn't finish the job; then George W took things too far, by trying to stay and "fix things" even after Saddam had been captured. I really believe the Coalition should have pulled out as soon as they had Saddam, and left Iraq to fix itself. I believe that's as far as God was going to bless the operation. Satan, of course, can color anyone's thinking by using business or political interests, and the pride factor of being The One Who Brought Stability To Iraq would have been a strong temptation for the younger Bush.]