Wednesday, August 30, 2006

TWENTY THINGS WE NOW KNOW FIVE YEARS AFTER 9/11

Twenty Things We Now Know Five Years After 9/11

The imminent fifth anniversary of 9/11 provides the proper moment for a good, ol'-fashioned sum-up of the past half-decade under CheneyBush, especially because so much has happened in the past 12-months:

The Bush Administration's Katrina debacle, Iraq being sucked deeper into the civil-war vortex, Afghanistan turning once again into a major war theater, more and more military leaders speaking out about the disaster that is CheneyBush foreign policy, the defection of so many moderate conservatives from their GOP home, the plummeting of Bush's popularity to not much more than his fundamentalist base, the revelation that Bush&Co. have been spying on citizens' phone calls and emails without court warrants, the indictment of CheneyBush's chief aide Scooter Libby for obstruction of justice in the case of the White House's outing of a covert CIA agent, the "rendering" of detainees abroad for extreme torturing, etc. etc.

I'll get to the annual list in a moment. But first let's step back and take a deeper overview. Buckle your seat belts, here we go.


WHAT 9/11 PERMITTED BUSH TO DO

Whatever you may think of 9/11, and the extent of involvement of Bush&Co., it's crystal-clear that the events of that tragic day were and continue to be used as an excuse for a wide variety of immoral and illegal actions by the CheneyBush Administration. The radical agenda that was barely on the public's horizon five years ago has since become all too evident, both domestically and in terms of foreign/military policy, which is why so many traditional conservatives are abandoning the extremism of the Republican Party.

Launching a war against, and then occupying, Iraq is the most obvious foreign result of the 9/11 tragedy -- even though Bush has admitted several times that there was no connection between Iraq and 9/11, and no WMD either. In one of the worst strategic mistakes in modern American foreign policy, the war against the al-Qaida terrorists in Afghanistan was precipitously abandoned and U.S. troops were dispatched to Iraq, a country of no real threat to the U.S.

Domestically, the near-3000 deaths of 9/11 -- and, let us not forget, the spreading of deadly anthrax spores around the halls of Congress by someone still unknown -- led to the passage of the so-called "Patriot" Act. This collection of martial provisions gave the federal government and its agents unprecedented police power to violate the Constitution and Bill of Rights in its supposed hunt for terrorists. All this while very little has been done to actually make the country more secure, such as checking containers entering ports, improving security at nuclear and chemical plants, x-raying all air freight, and so on.

In short, Bush&Co. used and then grossly abused the awful events of 9/11 -- and continues to do so -- in order to expand and maintain power, to move aggressively in the world, to pay off corporate and wealthy-individual supporters through huge tax breaks (in the middle of a war!), to create a one-party system of government, to neuter the legislative and judicial branches and thus violate our time-honored checks-and-balances system that provides a brake on executive excesses, to amass more and more police powers in federal hands, to effectively control the mass-media and the vote-counting system in this country, etc. etc.

9/11 also gave Karl Rove the fear-tools with which to manipulate the populace whenever he wished. Rove knows he has a lock on about 1/3 of the electorate, the GOP's fundamentalist "base." In several elections since 9/11, he has revved up the fear machine by rolling out the required buzzwords (abortion, terrorists, gay marriage, the flag, illegal immigrants, Muslims, et al.) to cobble together enough support to "win" the elections, even if by the slimmest of margins. (In reference to those margins, election experts have found that there is enough statistical and experiential evidence to say with some confidence that in key states and regions, those balloting-results were fraudulently obtained.)

We'll talk some about what can be done to change the situation toward the end of this essay; right now, let's take a look at this year's compilation of what we now know five years after 9/11.


THE 9/11 LIST

1. The Facts of 9/11. We know that the Bush Administration didn't want the public to learn much, if anything, about the events of that day five years ago. Bush&Co. had to be dragged kicking and screaming into agreeing to the appointment of the official 9/11 Commission, and they named the executive director, one of their made men (now an Administration official).

As it turned out, the Administration wasn't all that cooperative in furnishing documents, Bush would not testify under oath and would deign to appear only with Cheney by his side (here's my imagined transcript of that testimony), and just recently we learned that the commission was so angered by the constantly-shifting stories told by the Pentagon/NORAD that they were ready to urge that legal charges be filed.


* We know that a growing number of academics and scientists hhave raised serious questions about the official government explanation of the 9/11 events, especially about whether the Twin Towers fell straight down on their own or were guided in that free-fall-speed path by pre-set explosives. Behind all these and other conspiracy theories rests a nagging suspicion among many Americans -- heightened by the admission that the Pentagon lied outright to the 9/11 Commission -- that the Bush Administration may have been complicit in helping orchestrate the 9/11 tragedies. (I do not accept much of that surmising, but until the Administration comes clean on a number of troublesome questions, Bush&Co. will always be, and justifiably so, under a cloud of suspicion for complicity. These questions include why the Secret Service didn't immediately grab Bush at that Florida school and get him on a plane, why NORAD fighter-jets were MIA on that fateful morning, why airline stocks were "shorted" just prior to the attacks. Click here for more info on 9/11 skeptic groups.

* We now know -- no matter what one believes about the Bush Administration's level of complicity in 9/11 -- that at the very least the inner Bush circle knew that a huge al-Qaida attack was coming in late-Summer/early-Fall, but they did absolutely nothing to prevent it or prepare the public for its consequences. They knew because fairly detailed, red-hot warnings about planes being used as weapons were supplied to the CheneyBush inner circle by numerous countries' intelligence services around the world. But CheneyBush didn't even call a meeting of involved advisors and counter-terrorism honchos to move on the intel they were getting. In short, Bush&Co. had advance word that something "spectacular" was about to go down, and, for their own reasons, did nothing. Indeed, when the CIA sent a briefer to Crawford, Texas, to go over the ominously-titled August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." -- which talked about N.Y. buildings being cased, preparations for hijacking of planes, terrorists in the U.S. with explosives, etc. -- Bush barely listened and then insultingly dismissed the briefer, saying "All right. You've covered your ass, now."

* We know that Bush&Co. saw, in Condi Rice's apt term at the time, the "opportunity" offered by the 9/11 attacks to move quickly and forcefully with the Administration's foreign and domestic agenda. PNAC talked about its Pax Americana plan for global "benevolent hegemony" taking forever to implement unless a "new Pearl Harbor" changed the equation in the public mind. 9/11 came along and served as that "new Pearl Harbor." (See "How We Got Into This Imperial Pickle: A PNAC Primer.)


2. PNAC & the Neo-Cons. We know that a FarRight segment of the conservative movement was dedicated to using America's sole superpower status to move aggressively in the world while no other country or international force could put up much resistance. The key neo-con leaders in charge of U.S. foreign/military policy (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Bolton, Perle, Khalilzad, et al.) were founders of, and affiliated with, The Project for The New American Century (PNAC).

The neo-cons realized that presidents enjoy enormous patriotic support during wartime, but when the war ends, those leaders lose their compelling luster, as was the case with Bush#1. Ergo, Bush#2 would become a PERMANENT wartime president, and those who opposed him could then be tarred forever with the "unpatriotic" brush, and their political opposition marginalized. And it worked: the Democrats cowered and gave Bush virtually everything he wanted, up until relatively recently, when occasionally they remember they have spines in their bodies and stand up and fight as an opposition party should.


3. Oil & the Politics of PNAC. We know that after 9/11, Bush seemed to bring the entire country along with him when he launched an attack on al-Qaida and its Taliban-government supporters in Afghanistan. But there's no oil in that destitute country -- and, as Rumsfeld reminded us, not much worth bombing -- and thus no lessons could be drawn by Middle East leaders from the U.S. attack. But, as Cheney's secret energy panel was aware, there was another country in the region that did have oil, and lots of it, and which could be taken easily by U.S. forces. Thus Iraq became the object-lesson to other autocratic leaders in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Iran: If you do not do our bidding, prepare to accept a massive dose of "shock&awe": You will be removed, replaced by democratic-looking governments as arranged by the U.S.

The neo-cons -- most of whom were members of PNAC and similar organizations, such as the American Enterprise Institute and Foundation for the Defense of Democracies -- had urged Clinton to depose Saddam Hussein in 1998, but he demurred, seeing a mostly contained dictator there, whereas Osama bin Laden, and those terrorists like him, actually were successfully attacking U.S. assets inside the country and abroad.

But the PNAC crowd had larger ambitions than simply toppling a brutal dictator. Among their other recommendations: "pre-emptively" attacking countries devoid of imminent danger to the U.S., abrogating agreed-upon treaties when they conflict with U.S. goals, making sure no other nation (or organization, such as the United Nations) can ever achieve power-parity with the U.S., installing U.S.-friendly governments to do America's will, expressing a willingness to use tactical nuclear weapons, and so on. All of these extreme PNAC suggestions, once regarded as lunatic, were enshrined in 2002 as official U.S. policy in the National Security Strategy of the United States of America and were renewed in Bush's 2004's National Security Strategy.


4. Sexing Up the Intel. We know that given the extreme nature of the neo-con agenda, the Bush Administration had their work cut out for them in fomenting support for an invasion and occupation of Iraq. Therefore, among the first moves by Rumsfeld following 9/11 was to somehow try to connect Saddam to the terror attacks. The various intelligence agencies reported to Rumsfeld that there was no Iraq connection to 9/11, that it was an al-Qaida operation, but those finds were merely bothersome impediments. Since the CIA and the other intelligence agencies would not, or could not, supply the intelligence needed to justify a war on Iraq, Rumsfeld set up his own rump "intelligence" agency, the Office of Special Plans, stocked it with political appointees of the PNAC persuasion and soon was stovepiping cherry-picked raw intel, much of it untrue from self-interested Iraqi exiles, straight to Cheney and others in the White House. Shortly thereafter, the White House Iraq Group -- the in-house marketing cabal, with such major players as Libby, Rove, Card, Rice, Hadley, Hughes, Matalin, et al. -- went big-time with the WMD and mushroom-cloud scares and the suspect melding of Saddam Hussein with the events of 9/11.

Based on this sexed-up and phony intelligence, Cheney, Bush, Rice, Rumsfeld and the others began warning about mushroom clouds over the U.S., drone planes dropping biological agents over the East Coast, huge stockpiles of chemical weapons in Iraq, etc. Secretary of State Colin Powell, regarded as the most believable of the bunch, was dispatched to the United Nations to make the case, which he did, reluctantly, by presenting an embarrassingly weak litany of surmise and concocted facts. While the U.S. mainstream media was unanimous in its opinion that Powell had cinched the case, the world didn't buy it (Powell, who resigned in 2004, has since lamented his role in this charade), and the opposition to the U.S. war plan was palpable and huge: 10 million citizens throughout the world hit the streets to protest, former allies publicly criticized Bush. Only Tony Blair in England eagerly hitched his wagon to the Bush war-plan with large numbers of troops dispatched, as it turned out over the objections of many of his closest aides and advisers.


5. The Downing Street Revelations. We know that those advisers warned Blair that he was about to involve the U.K. in an illegal, immoral and probably unwinnable war that would put U.K. and U.S. troops in great danger from potential insurgent forces. How do we know about these inner workings of the Blair government? Because someone from inside that body leaked the top-secret minutes from those war-Cabinet meetings, the so-called Downing Street Memos.

We also learned from those minutes that Bush & Blair agreed to make war on Iraq as early as the Spring of 2002. The intelligence, they decided, would be "fixed around the policy" to go to war, despite their telling their legislative bodies and their citizens that no decisions had been made. In fact, the Bush Administration had decided to go to war a year before the invasion. "Fuck Saddam," Bush told three U.S. Senators in March of 2002. "We're taking him out."

We know that many of Blair's most senior advisors thought the WMD argument rested on shaky ground, and that the legality of the war was in question without specific authorization from the United Nations Security Council. But the Bush Administration rushed to war anyway, in haste because the U.N. inspectors on the ground in Iraq were not finding any WMD stockpiles; the rush to war was accomplished without proper planning and with no workable plan to secure the peace and reconstruct the country after the major fighting. Some weeks later, Bush prematurely declared, under a "Mission Accomplished" banner, that the U.S. had "prevailed" in the Iraq war.


6. The Big Lie Technique & WMD. We know (again, thanks to the Downing Street Memos) that both the U.S. and U.K. were well aware that Iraq was a paper tiger, with no significant WMD stockpiles or link to Al-Qaida and the 9/11 attacks. Nevertheless, the major thrust of Bush&Co.'s justification for going to war was based on these non-existent weapons and 9/11 links. The Big Lie Technique, repeating the same falsehoods over and over and over, drummed those lies into our heads day after day, month after month, with little if any skeptical analysis by the corporate mainstream media, which marched mostly in lockstep with Bush policy and thinking. Wolfowitz admitted later that they chose WMD as the primary reason for making war because they couldn't agree on anything else the citizenry would accept. But frightening people with talk of nuclear weapons, mushroom clouds, toxins delivered by drone airplanes and the like would work like a charm. And so they did, convincing the American people and Congress that an attack was justified. It wasn't.


7. Iran Is Beneficiary of U.S. Policy. We know that the real reasons for invading Iraq had precious little to do with WMD, with Islamist terrorists inside that country, with installing democracy, and the like. There were no WMD to speak of, and Saddam, an especially vicious dictator, did not tolerate religious or political zealots of any stripe. No, the reasons had more to do with American geopolitical goals in the region involving oil, control, support for its ally Israel, hardened military bases and keeping Iran from having free rein in the region.

However, as it turned out, by invading and occupying Iraq, it removed the one buffer against the expansion of Iran's political and military power in the region; in addition, because the U.S. Occupation was so incompetently carried out, it pushed Iraq and Iran into a far closer religious and political alliance than would have been the case if Saddam had been permitted to remain in power. CheneyBush may have sacrificed thousands of American dead, tens of thousands of American wounded, and more than 100,000 Iraqis as "collateral damage" -- and now the Administration is quietly willing to accept an Islamist government that may well turn out to be more attuned to Teheran than to Washington.


8. Iraq As a Disaster Zone. We know that Bush's war has been a thorough disaster, built on a foundation of lies, and bunglingly managed from the start. As a result, the Occupation has provided a magnet for jihadists from other countries, billions have been wasted or lost in the corrupt system of organized corporate looting that ostensibly is designed to speed up Iraq's "reconstruction," etc. etc. Indeed, so much has Bush's war been botched that the "realists" in the Administration know the U.S. must get out as quickly as possible if they are to have any hope of exercising their considerable muscle elsewhere in the Middle East. But, so far, the neo-con strategy still rules, and "stay-the-course" remains the operating principle.


9. The Stretched-Thin Military Needs Bodies. We know that Bush's Middle East agenda also is suffering because the U.S. military is spread way thin in Afghanistan and Iraq, the desertion rates are high, soldiers are not re-enlisting at the usual clip, recruitment isn't working and illegal scams are being used to lure youngsters into signing up. In short, there are no forces to spare on the ground. Either a military draft will be instituted -- and the recent call up of thousands of ready-reserve Marines is a draft by a different name -- or all future attacks will have to come from air power or from missiles, which will merely deliver a message. The air attacks will result in making the citizens of those countries even angrier at America, and with little likelihood of success in forging U.S.-friendly "democratic" governments in Iran, Syria, et al., since the bombed populations will support their existing governments. In short, America's and Israel's failures in Iraq and Lebanon demonstrate the limits of highly-armed powers in the modern, nationalist-guerrillas world.


10. Hiding the Facts from the Public. We know that Bush&Co. made sure that there would be no full-scale, independent probes of their role in using and abusing the intelligence that led to war on Iraq. This is the most secretive Administration in American history, and they want no investigations of any of their mistakes or corruptions of the democratic process.

The Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Republican Pat Roberts, held hearings on the failures lower down the chain, namely at the CIA and FBI level, and promised there would be followup hearings on any White House manipulation of intelligence. But, following the 2004 election, Roberts said no purpose would be served in launching such an investigation. Likewise, the 9/11 Commission did not delve deeply into how the Bush Administration misused its pre-9/11 knowledge. In short, this secretive administration made sure that everything was done to head off at the pass any investigations whatsoever.


11. Perilously Close to Dictatorship. We know that Bush has no great love for legitimate democratic processes, certainly not inside the United States. (On at least three occasions, he has "jokingly" expressed his preference for dictatorship, as long, he said, as he can be the dictator.) He much prefers to rule as an oligarch, but to do that, he had to invent legal justifications that he could claim granted him the requisite power. So he had his longtime lawyer-toady, Alberto Gonzales, devise a legal philosophy that permits Bush to do pretty much what he wants -- ignore laws on the books, disappear U.S. citizens into military prisons, authorize torture, spy on citizens' phone calls and emails, etc. -- whenever Bush says he's acting as "commander-in-chief" during "wartime."

And, since "wartime" is the amorphous "war on terror," from which there is no end, Bush is home free. There always will be terrorists trying to do anti-U.S. damage somewhere around the globe, or inside America, and the "commander-in-chief" will need to respond. Ergo, goes this logic, Bush is above the law, untouchable, in perpetuity. Bush&Co. also made sure that U.S. officials and military troops would not be subject to indictment by any international court or war-crimes tribunal.

Neither Gonzales, nor Bush, has disavowed this legal philosophy of a dictator-like President being beyond the reach of the law. No doubt the issue ultimately will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, to which Bush has appointed ultra-conservative Judges John Roberts and Samuel Alito. In a chilling decision, the appeals panel, of which Roberts was a member prior to his ascension to the Supremes, ruled that the Commander-in-Chief's arbitrarily-designated "enemies" are non-persons, with no legal rights. Bush now feels free to subject anyone he likes to the "military tribunal" system he has concocted; even the Court's recent objections to the tribunal system has had little effect on day-to-day violations of detainees' rights, as Bush&Co. always manage to postpone and delay implementation or find ways around the court rulings.


12. Torture As Official U.S. Policy. We know that Gonzales, then Bush's White House Counsel, and Pentagon lawyers beholden to Rumsfeld, devised legal rationales that make torture of suspects official state policy. These Bush-loyalist lawyers also greatly widened the definition of what is acceptable interrogation practice -- basically anything this side of death or terminally abusing internal organs. They also authorized the "rendering" of key suspects to countries specializing in extreme torture. After all this, Bush and Rumsfeld professed shock, shock!, that those under their command would wind up torturing, abusing and humiliating prisoners in U.S. care. But the Administration made sure to stop all inquiries into higher-up responsibility for the endemic torture. The buck never stops on Bush's desk -- if something goes wrong (and he never will admit to mistakes), it's always someone else's fault.


13. The Bill of Rights Goes "Quaint." We know that the Bush Administration has been able to obtain whatever legislation it needs in its self-proclaimed "war on terror" by utilizing, and hyping, the understandable fright of the American people. John Ashcroft and Tom Ridge emerged periodically to manipulate the public's fright by announcing yet another "terror" threat, based on "credible but unverified" evidence. As he departed his directorate of the Homeland Security Department, Ridge admitted that he was required to issue many of those "terror" warnings when there was no justifiable reason for doing so; it has been demonstrated that those warnings were activated usually when the Administration was facing an election or when they were having an especially bad-news day -- a new scandal, especially discouraging reports from Iraq, etc. Meanwhile, Congress (shame on you, Democrats!) recently made most of the Patriot Act laws permanent. Unless those can be repealed, that vote will be a nail into the coffin housing the remains of the Bill of Rights.


14. Outing CIA Agents for Political Reasons. The Bush Administration, for its own crass political reasons, compromised American national security by revealing the identity of two key intelligence operatives -- one, CIA agent Valerie Plame, who had important contacts in the shadowy world of weapons of mass destruction, especially in dealing with Iran's nuclear capabilities. It is possible that the first of "senior Administration officials" to reveal her identity was from the State Department (Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage), but wherever the leak originated, it is clear that Cheney (through Libby) and Rove deliberately piled on the Plame story in an attempt to punish her husband for telling the world that Bush's Iraq war was based on phony intelligence. Revealing the identity of a covert CIA agent, not incidentally, is a felony. The other outing of a CIA operative, by Condi Rice, apparently to show off how successful the Administration was in its anti-terrorism hunt, was that a high-ranking mole close to bin Laden's inner circle. This operative could have kept the U.S. informed as to ongoing and future plans of al-Qaida. That's our war-on-terrorism government at work.


15. Do You Know If Your Vote Is Counted? We know that America's voting system and, more importantly, the vote-counting system are corrupted. Sophisticated statistical analysis along with wide-scale exit-polling, suggests strongly that the 2004 election results were fiddled with by the private companies that tally the votes. These companies are owned by far-right Republican supporters, but the same objection would be lodged if Democrats owned the companies. There are no good reasons to "outsource" vote-counting to private corporations. These are the same companies who make and program the voting machines, who refuse to permit inspection of their software, and whose technicians have behaved suspiciously on election nights in 2000 in Florida, in 2002 in Georgia, and in Ohio and Florida in 2004. And we haven't even mentioned Rove's dirty-tricks department whose function has been, by hook or by crook, to lower the number of potential Democrat voters, especially minority voters; a favorite tactic is to knock hundreds of thousands of likely Democratic voters off the voting rolls in advance in key states such as Florida and Ohio. Unless the vote-counting system can be changed soon -- and the vote-tallying scandal will not be adequately dealt with voter-verified receipts -- the integrity of our elections will be suspect into the far future. Even if all the other reforms were implemented, they would mean nothing without the guarantee of honest elections.


16. There Is No Real Economic Plan. We know that the Bush Administration paid off its backers (and itself) by giving humongous tax breaks, for 10 years out, to the already wealthy and to large corporations. In addition, corporate tax-evasion was made easier via offshore listings and by laying off thousands of IRS auditors of high-end returns. All this was done at a time when the U.S. economy was in a sorry state and when the treasury deficit from those tax-breaks was growing even larger from Iraq/Afghanistan/"war-on-terror" costs. (Those war costs are now closing in on half a TRILLION dollars!) So far as we know, the Bush Administration has no plans for how to retire that debt and no real plan (other than the discredited "trickle-down" theory) for restarting the economy and creating well-paying jobs for skilled workers, many of whom have had their positions outsourced to foreign lands.


17. Drowning Government In a Bathtub. We know that the HardRight conservatives who control Bush policy don't really care what kind of debt and deficits their policies cause; in some ways, the more the better, since as GOP honcho Grover Norquist has admitted, they want to shrink government "down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub." They want to decimate and starve popular social programs from the New Deal/Great Society eras, including, most visibly, Head Start, Social Security, Medicare (and real drug coverage for seniors), student loans, welfare assistance, public education, etc. (The IRS is going to hire private tax collectors!) Bush's plan to privatize a huge chunk of the Social Security System is still on track, though Republicans are keeping quiet about it prior to the November elections.


18. Who Cares What You Drink or Breathe? We know that Bush environmental policy -- dealing with air and water pollution, mineral extraction, national parks, and so on -- is an unmitigated disaster, giving pretty much free rein to corporations whose bottom line does better when they don't have to pay attention to the public interest. It's the worst sort of grab-the-money-and-run scenario. Perhaps the best worst example of the Administration's attitude toward protecting the public's health can be seen in the EPA giving the green light for residents and workers to safely return to their homes and jobs in Lower Manhattan shortly after the Twin Towers fell five years ago, even though EPA scientists had determined that the air was grossly polluted and dangerous.


19. It's Greed for Money, Control, Power. We know from "insider" memoirs and reports by former Bush Administration officials -- Joseph DeIulio, Paul O'Neill, Richard Clarke, et al. -- that the public interest plays little role in the formulation of policy inside the Bush Administration. The motivating factors are mainly greed and ideological control and remaining in political power. Further, they say, there is little or no curiosity in this Administration to think outside the political box, or even to hear other opinions.


20. It's [Distorted] Faith Over Science, Myth Over Reality. We know that this attitude -- "my mind is made up, don't bother me with the facts" -- shows up most openly in how science is disregarded by the Bush Administration (good example: global warming) in favor of faith-based thinking. Some of this non-curiosity about reality may be based in fundamentalist religious, even Apocalyptic, beliefs. Much of Bush's bashing of science is designed as payback to his fundamentalist base, but the scary part is that a good share of the time he actually seems to believe what he's saying, about evolution vs. intelligent-design, stem-cell research, abstinence education, censoring the rewriting of government scientific reports that differ from the Bush party line, cutbacks in research&development grants for the National Science Foundation, etc., ad nauseum. This closed-mind attitude helps explain, on a deeper level, why things aren't working out in Iraq, or anywhere else for that matter.


AMERICA OR GERMANY IN THE '30s?

In sum, we know that permanent-war policy abroad and police-state tactics at home are taking us into a kind of American fascism domestically and an imperial foreign policy overseas. All aspects of the American polity are infected with the militarist Know-Nothingism emanating from the top, with governmental and vigilante-type crackdowns on protesters, dissent, free speech, freedom of assembly happening regularly on both the local and federal levels. More and more, America is resembling Germany in the early 1930s, group pitted against group while the central government amasses more and more power and control of its put-upon citizens, and criticizing The Leader's policies is denounced as unpatriotic or treasonous.

The good news is that after suffering through six-plus years of the CheneyBush presidency, the public's blinders are falling off. The fall from power of Tom DeLay is a good symbol of this, and the true nature of these men and their regime is finally starting to hit home. Cheney is acknowledged as the true power behind the throne, and Bush is seen for what he is: an insecure, uncurious, arrogant, dangerous, dry-drunk bully who is endangering U.S. national interests abroad with his reckless and incompetently-managed wars, his wrecking of the U.S. economy at home, and with his over-reaching in all areas.

If a Democratic president and vice president had behaved similarly to Bush and Cheney, they'd have been in the impeachment dock in a minute.


IF REPUBLICANS LOSE IN NOVEMBER

But there is no way for that to happen unless and until the Republicans lose control of one or both of the houses of Congress in the November election. If the Dems were to take over the House, for example, they would have subpoena power to compel witnesses to testify under oath for the first time in nearly seven years, which could lead to productive investigations of the machinations that sent the U.S. to war in Iraq, to what really happened on 9/11, to the other myriad scandals and embarrassments: torture, domestic spying, the punishment and outing of CIA agents for political ends, the Abramoff corruption network, etc., etc.

The Democrats are not politically pure, to be sure -- with too many beholden to the same interests that have corrupted the Republicans during the CheneyBush years -- but in enough instances that matter, they would be different enough to start to turn the ship of state away from its reckless, dangerous extremism and back more toward the center and maybe even, on some issues, in the direction of progressive liberalism.

That is why for the next two-plus months, we need to work our butts off to ensure a Republican defeat in the House, and, if we're lucky, in the Senate as well -- by a huge margin. We know that Rove and his minions will be doing everything to steal and manipulate this election. There will be more sleaze and slime and dirty tricks, and perhaps even some October "surprises," and we need to factor those in and work even harder, including sueing election officials who refuse to take steps for honest balloting and vote-counting. Landslide victories would make it more risky for Rove and his minions to try to fiddle with the vote totals.

Winning in November is our job, our moral duty. If we don't take them down in this midterm election, we may not have another good shot for a decade or more. It's crank-it-up time. Let's get to work.

Copyright 2006 by Bernard Weiner

GATHERING NUCLEAR STORM

Gathering nuclear storm - www.washingtontimes.com - By Arnaud de Borchgrave

Just days before the United Nations Security Council deadline for Iran to cease and desist enriching uranium, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave the West the Iranian bird. By inaugurating a "heavy-water" reactor, Iran instantly doubled its chances of acquiring nuclear weapons. Adding insult to injury, the military mullahs test-fired a new long-range missile -- the Thaqeb, or Saturn, a submarine-to-surface weapon.

The new reactor runs on natural uranium mined by Iran and skips the difficult enrichment phase to produce plutonium, which gives nukes the power to obliterate entire cities. Of course, all these efforts, says Iran's president, is to treat and diagnose AIDS and cancer patients. And -- we almost forgot -- to generate more power to improve agriculture. The fact Iran has sufficient oil reserves to generate electric power for generations to come is conveniently overlooked.

Iran is now confident neither Russia nor China will go along with meaningful economic sanctions. Moscow says sanctions have never worked, ignoring those that collapsed South Africa's apartheid regime. The handwriting on the geopolitical landscape has convinced Israel and its core support in the U.S., from the neoconservatives to the Christian Right, that a military solution is inescapable.

Leading conservatives have said World War III -- the ultimate clash of civilizations -- has been under way since September 11, 2001. Some neocons say it started when the mullahs forced the shah into exile and seized power in Iran in early 1979 -- and that President Bush and Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair are treading water among the appeasers. They remind Mr. Bush he vowed not to leave office without first ensuring that "the worst weapons will not fall into the worst hands" and thus Iran cannot become a nuclear power. Their ideological guide Richard Perle goes so far as to accuse Mr. Bush, who knows Iran has pursued a secret nuclear weapons program for the last 19 years, of opting for "ignominious retreat."

Overlooked in this calculus is Mr. Bush's burden of two wars, Afghanistan and Iraq, and a much-diminished U.S. military. A third front against Iran, an ancient civilization of 70 million with global retaliatory capabilities (e.g., Hezbollah), is a frightening prospect that conjures up the nightmare of a return to the draft.

Mr. Bush believes deeply that Iran poses an existential threat to close ally Israel. Congress recently voted a resolution that said an attack on Israel is an attack on the United States. Mr. Bush also believes Iran is determined to sabotage American hopes of establishing a new democratic Middle East.

In Iraq, clandestine Iranian aid, from sophisticated "Improvised Explosive Devices" to funds and weapons to the two main Shi'ite militias, may be designed to maneuver the U.S. into a humiliating, Vietnamlike withdrawal from Iraq.

Given Mr. Bush's overarching dedication to "winning the Global War on Terrorism," said one former senior intelligence analyst, the neutralization of Iran has become a sine qua non, "equal if not higher on his list of priorities than 'victory' in Iraq, another impossibility that he is unwilling to recognize, even privately, much less acknowledge publicly."

Mr. Bush's national security advisers have also pointed out that an escalating danger of U.S.-Iran military confrontation automatically intensifies internal and regional opposition to U.S. objectives in Iraq. The president keeps reminding private interlocutors to think of how history will judge this critical period 15 to 20 years hence. He sees personal and national humiliation if he were to leave office having acquiesced to an embryonic Iranian nuclear arsenal.

So odds makers bet sometime before the end of his second term President Bush will order a massive air attack on a wide range of carefully selected targets in Iran, in partnership with Israel, and against the advice of many of his advisers. Mr. Bush is convinced a nuclear Iran would pose an intolerable threat to U.S. national security and, as one former intelligence topsider put it, "he is firm in his faith that God agrees with him on that point, and certain that history will eventually recognize and properly appreciate his courageous and visionary leadership."

This raises the question of congressional approval. As George Will said to CBS' George Stephanopoulos two Sundays ago, when was the last time this president ever worried about getting approval in advance from the Congress or the public?

In any event, Israel is not taking any chances. Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres said last week Israel would not be the first to attack Iran. Other Israeli voices say Israel will have to do just that. Israel recently added a new command to the IDF -- the "Iran Command." Its new commander is Maj. Gen. Elyezer Shkedy, Israel's Air Force chief. He is responsible for all conflicts with countries "not bordering Israel." The Jewish state's strategic thinkers and military planners take the diminutive Mr. Ahmadinejad at his word when he says Israel must be "wiped off the map."

Most worrisome for Israel is Hezbollah's recent military performance against the Israeli Defense Force in Lebanon. The perception is this Iranian surrogate resisted and repelled a mighty foe. The reality is Iran's new-mown conviction Israel can be defeated. So Israel will now have to prove, yet again, that it cannot.
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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

THE YOKE OF PROPHECY

THE YOKE OF PROPHECY - By Brother Rabbi Dani'el Rendelman

One of the most quoted sayings of the Savior is found in Matthew 11:28-30. This statement reveals much about salvation and surprisingly, end times events.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light," Matthew 11:28-30.

This short section of scriptures shows the ministry of the Messiah and the hope for all mankind. He came to reveal the Father to the world. His life, death, and resurrection promise eternal life in the world to come and abundant life in this world. The sick, the tired, the lonely, and the lost can all come to the Savior and accept His rest. Notice, that he doesn't guarantee riches or honor. Instead he offers rest for the weary. Isn't this what we all really need? Well, a person receives his rest as one casts off the restraints and cares of this world and accepts the Savior's yoke of burden. What? Rest comes from wearing a yoke of burden?

Like a divine paradox, Y'shua promises rest and peace as a person accepts His yoke. To a modern day person accustomed to emails and cell phones, the idea of a yoke is foreign. Yet, in ancient cultures farming with a yoke was a common practice. A yoke was usually made of wooden beams and paired two animals together. The yoke helped the farmer steer the animals in the correct direction. The yoke would also balance the load to help the weaker animal. Throughout the Bible, the concept of a "yoke" is used in reference to submission. Exodus speaks of a yoke of Egyptian slavery that the Hebrews experienced. The books of Jeremiah and I Kings talk about the harsh yoke of kings. These ideas seem directly opposite to what Y'shua spoke of. The yoke of slavery is hard. Y'shua said his yoke is "easy." So, what did he really mean? *(Y'shua is the Hebrew name of the Savior given to Him by His Jewish parents in Luke 2. He was never called "Jesus" while He was on this earth.)

To learn the answer to this question we need to look to Jewish writings and culture, into which the Savior came. In Judaism there is a concept called the "yoke of the Kingdom." Jewish sages believe that everyone who strives to love **YHWH with all their heart, soul, mind and strength accepts upon themselves the "yoke of the Kingdom." One rabbi was written, "Every one who takes upon himself the yoke of the law / Torah removes from his shoulders the yoke of government and daily sorrows. But whoever removes the yoke of the law / Torah will be burdened with the yoke of government and daily sorrows," Mishnah Avot 3:6. **(YHWH is the ancient Hebrew name of the Almighty which He gave to mankind. The Scriptures declare that this is His name "forever, unto all generations." Unfortunately, this name has been hidden in English Bibles behind the words "LORD" and "GOD.")

The prophet Jeremiah agrees, "So I will go to the leaders and speak to them. Surely they know the way of YHWH, the requirements of YHWH. But, with one accord they too had broken off the yoke and torn off the bonds," Jeremiah 5:5,6. The yoke of the kingdom is what Jeremiah calls "the way of YHWH, the requirements of YHWH." Y'shua's yoke is a synonym for kingdom rule of Heaven as revealed in the Torah. "Torah" is the Hebrew word often translated as "law" in English bibles. For many, the idea of "law" seems to be like a binding set of rules that hinder enjoyment. Don't think like this. Consider instead the Law to be like a stoplight that allows life, cautions when things aren't going right, and stops dangerous behavior. Torah is the ancient Hebrew word for teaching and instructions. Torah is more like instruction manual than it is a rulebook. Found within the Torah is our blueprint for living, with information on pretty much every part of life, from what to eat, to how to dress, and when to worship.

The Torah shouldn't be ignored as ancient rules but acted upon as instructions for living. Yet, the Torah can become a hard yoke of bondage and slavery. Weight is applied when people try to earn their salvation through works. This isn't what Y'shua intended. He said "my yoke (TORAH) is easy and my burden is light." How is the Torah made light? When we are yoked with Him we and realize that He carries the burden. Y'shua makes the yoke easy for us. The yoke of Y'shua was His burden of perfectly walking out the Father's will. His burden was to give His life as a living example and a living sacrifice. Y'shua's yoke is the kingdom rule. He showed us how to live. We should simply follow His example and yoke up with Him. This idea is supported by several other verses in the Newer Testament.

In Acts we learn that added unbiblical commandments are like a yoke of slavery. "Now therefore why do you tempt YHWH, to put a yoke upon the neck of the talmidim / disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?" Acts 15:10, Restoration Scriptures True Name Edition.

"Added "works of law " of men being taught as if they were Torah cloud the difference between man' s law and YHWH's Torah. Neither Yisraelites of that day nor the disciples could keep all those added burdens, " wrote Rabbi Moshe Koniuchowsky.

Y'shua's yoke is easy and His burden is light. However, it is man made rules and regulations that weigh us down. The church and the synagogue keep folks busy with meetings and blind with man-made rules. Compared to the religious leaders of yesteryear and even our day, Y'shua's burden truly is light. "

Stand fast therefore in the liberty in which Moshiach has made us free, and be not harnessed again under the yoke of slavery," Galatians 5:1.

In these latter days, Y'shua's yoke is being revealed. People are taking a second glance at the ancient paths and changing their lives. Folks all over the world are accepting Y'shua's yoke and walking out the will of the Father. This restoration of the rule and reign of YHWH angers the adversary. He seeks to cast off the yoke of YHWH and place his heavy burden of sin and hatred upon the world. As prophesied throughout the Bible, the enemy is using descendants of Ishmael and Esav to wage ware against Bible believers. This holy war was prophesied in Genesis.

"And Esav said to his father, Have you not just one blessing, my abba / father? Bless me, even me also, O my abba. And Esav lifted up his voice, and wept. And Isaac his abba answered and said to him, See, your dwelling shall be away from the richness of the earth, and away from the dew of the shamayim from above; And by your sword shall you live, and shall serve your brother; and it shall come to pass when you shall have the dominion, that you shall break his yoke from off your neck," Genesis 27:38-41.

Here Esav is prophesied to continue the enmity between brothers. His descendants will "live by the sword" and "break off" the yoke of Jacob / Yisrael. The yoke of Yisrael is the yoke of Y'shua – the rule and reign of YHWH. It is this Bible-based lifestyle that Esav hates. He is prophesied to break it off by the sword. The symbol of the crossed swords is the Islamic symbol of jihad. Esav through Islam is using the sword to cast off the yoke of YHWH. This prophecy is coming true today in our life, and in our times. The word "Islam" means "submission." This word perfectly describes the fight of the descendants of Esav to bring the world into submission their god.

History shows that the descendents of Esav became the Edomites – the sworn enemies of YHWH and Yisrael. The Edomites settled in the land of Turkey. In the Tenth century the Ottoman Turks came into contact with Islam. As the Ottoman Empire grew, it spread Islam all over the world. The Ottoman Empire / Turks reigned Asia, Europe and the Middle East for over six hundred years. And they ruled mercilessly by the sword. This last great word-wide empire came to an end shortly after World War I. The beast suffered a deadly wound. Yet, now the beast of Islam is coming to life again. Revelation 13:3," And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast." As Islam emerges as the fastest growing religion, the world wonders. As Islamic terrorists kill women, men, and children, the world wonders.

Today the descendents of Esav are the Arab people, found mostly in Muslim countries. Many Muslims even claim to be the spiritual descendants of Esav. Through these people, Islam is using the sword to cast off the rule and reign of YHWH. Islam wants to occupy the land of Jerusalem and plunder the entire land of the modern Jewish State. "This is what the Sovereign YHWH says: In my burning zeal I have spoken against the rest of the nations, and against all Edom, for with glee and with malice in their hearts they made my land their own possession so that they might plunder its pastureland," Ezekiel 36:35. The Koran agrees, "their punishment is...execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from the opposite sides, or exile from the land." Sura 5:33.

Radical Islam is continuing the legacy of Esav today. What the media propagates as the war against terror is actually America's response to Esav's rebellion. This too is foretold in the Bible. Edom rages against YHWH's people scattered throughout the world. "Islam wishes to destroy all States and Governments anywhere on the face of the earth, which are opposed to the ideology and programe of Islam regardless of the country or the Nation which rules it. The purpose of Islam is to set up a State on the basis of its own ideology and program, regardless of which Nation assumes the role of the standard bearer of Islam or the rule of which nation is undermined in the process of the establishment of an ideological Islamic State," wrote Sayeed Abul A'la Maududi in his book Jihad in Islam. The Newer Testament says, "See that no one is godless like Esav, who in exchange for a single meal gave up his rights as the first born," Hebrews 12:15-17.

The players are in place for the battle of the ages. The Jihad is just beginning. Muslims are told in their own religious writings, "Prophet, make war on unbelievers and hypocrites, and deal rigorously with them." Sura 9:73. Islam is mounting its forces to spread its message of hatred and dominion from sea to shining sea. Esav is battling Israel to cast down the word and people of YHWH. But, YHWH in the end will cut off Esav and destroy the beast of Islam. We see this in Ezekiel 25 12-15, "Thus says YHWH, "Because Edom has acted against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and has incurred grievous guilt, and avenged themselves upon them," therefore, thus says the YHWH, "I will also stretch out My hand against Edom and cut off man and beast from it. And I will lay it waste; from Teman even to Dedan they will fall by the sword. And I will lay My vengeance on Edom by the hand of My people Israel. Therefore, they will act in Edom according to My anger and according to My wrath; thus they will know My vengeance."

Where will this battle of Islam and Israel end? Matthew 24 talks about the escalation of violent birth pangs that will lead up to the return of the Savior and the defeat of the beast. "

Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My Name, saying, I am the Messiah; and shall deceive many. And you shall hear of revolutions and rumors of wars:see that you be not troubled, or become foolish: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and malchut / kingdom against malchut: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and you shall be hated by all nations for My Name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets / neviim shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because Torah-less-ness shall abound, the love / ahava of many shall grow cold. But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved. And this good-news /besorah of the malchut shall be proclaimed in all the olam hazeh for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come," Matthew 24:4-14, Restoration Scriptures True Name Edition Version.

Events are happening all around us. We should be aware of beast and it's war against the kingdom of YHWH. Gaza pullouts, Lebanon cease-fires, Iranian nuclear threats, American terror warnings, and British would-be airplane bombers all play into the end-times scenario. Tensions will continue to increase until a leader arises and brings peace to the Middle East. A supposed peace treaty with Yisrael will violently end, engulfing the world into a huge war. This war is a spiritual one, pitting the sons of Israel against the sons of Esav. And the war has already begun. Islam is spreading its yoke of bondage across the world and casting off the rule of YHWH.

Y'shua has taught that his yoke is easy and light. His followers are to produce the fruit of love, joy and peace. We are to share the message of salvation by grace / chesed through faith / emunah. On the other hand, the yoke of Islam is filled with violence, hatred, and repression. What happens next on the stage of the world will continue to showcase this ancient battle. In the end, each and every person will have to choose to submit to yoke and rule of Yisrael or Islam.
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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

WISDOM FOR EARTH's FINAL HOURS

Wisdom for Earth's Final Hours
by Jerry Robinson

As Christians, you and I have been purchased by the precious blood and stripes of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have been justified and sanctified. We have been 'set apart' for God's plans and purposes. We do not have the luxury of going along with the crowd, even though our 'flesh' may desire it.

Posted: 8/21/06

"The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light." (Romans 13:12)

Recently, while driving through an area in my city known for its nightlife, I once again realized the necessity for you and I to remain sober in these last days. As I drove through this area looking in through the windows at the people drinking and carrying on, I felt sorrow for those who do not know Christ at this hour. Right here in America, the greatest bastion of Christianity in the entire world, most don't know or trust the God has preserved our nation and our very lives to this hour.

The wisdom of Solomon is displayed for us in Proverbs 9:10 when he states:

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy (the Holy One) is understanding."

Unfortunately, you and I live in a world that does not place much value on Godly wisdom. If you disagree, just turn on your television. It is horrifying what is considered 'normal' today. What passes for 'entertainment' today is indicative of a culture in absolute moral decay. To make matters worse, modern culture and human tendencies have developed a 'herd mentality.' Many choose to go with the flow of society and rarely question the status quo. Like the frog that sits in the boiling pot of water until it is too late, the majority of our culture is willingly submerged in decadence, whether we realize it or not. Try as we may, we cannot escape its grasp. This decadence fills the television and radio airwaves. It lies in wait for us on the internet. It winks at us from advertising billboards. It saturates our nation's marketing tactics and is even seeping into the churches. Some people have even fooled themselves into believing that they can live however they desire without fear of any negative repercussions. It has been called the ultimate fool's game: "I can live my way & win."

'You are the salt of the earth'

As Christians, you and I have been purchased by the precious blood and stripes of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have been justified and sanctified. We have been 'set apart' for God's plans and purposes. We do not have the luxury of going along with the crowd, even though our 'flesh' may desire it. We have an important job as the Church to spread the good news of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection to an unbelieving sea of humanity. In today's homogenized culture, a commitment to Christ should make us stand out. In fact, as Christians, we are supposed to be different from this world. We are to be in this world, but not of it. Of course, I am not advocating that we should stand out solely for the purpose of standing out. Rather, as followers of Christ, this world should not feel like home to us. We are pilgrims, sojourners. Does this world feel like home to you? Have you become comfortable here?

We live in truly remarkable times

What a day and an hour to be living in! The lateness of the prophetic hour is staggering to the imagination. Each and every day, this present world is growing ever darker. We must do all we can to avoid strong attachments to the things of this world. Instead, we should seek to root ourselves in the Word of God and lose ourselves in His plans and purposes for our lives. The apostle Peter advocated this mentality in his second epistle:

"The heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God..."
(2 Peter 3:10-12)

The time to dive into the things of God is now. You must make up your mind that you are going to follow Christ, no matter what happens in the natural. Financial disaster may strike, persecution may come, war may loom, but in all of those things we must CHOOSE to follow Christ and seek after His wisdom. With an attitude like that, you will be prepared for whatever may come. Readers, you are in my prayers continually. May the Lord richly bless you and may your faith be evidenced by your wisdom in these last days. Come, Lord Jesus!

Monday, August 21, 2006

THE END OF THE WORLD?

The End of the World?

There is a sense even among those who hold little or no regard for Bible prophecy that troubling events in the Middle East could bring about the end of the world. Bible prophets, and we who adhere to a literal interpretation of the things they foretold, have been putting forth on world issues and events for years. Yet, genuine concern didn’t seem to raise its head until Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad mentioned the 12th Imam, and his soon coming forward to bring about man’s final war.

It’s always been true that man would rather believe satanic lies than God’s truth. Adam and Eve believed Lucifer (as the serpent in the garden of Eden) when the father of all lies told them that they would not surely die, like God said, if they ate of the forbidden fruit. Mankind has fallen for the lies ever since, preferring to accept any lie rather than the only truth there is –truth from the mind of the Creator of all things. Evolution, for example, has become the basis for knowledge in America and around the world. Despite the proof that everything we know about has to be created –it doesn’t just happen—the purveyors of evolution tell us that all we see around us just "happened" to happen. It all came from nothingness, and grew to be –well—all of this!

That’s an interesting thought, isn’t it? That the tree from which Adam and Eve ate was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Since that disobedient eating of that forbidden fruit (fruit involving knowledge), not only have human beings died, but the human race has fallen head over heels for the lie that all knowledge must begin from within the evolutional model. The father of lies knew what would be the results of his seduction from the very moment he first enticed Eve. His methods haven’t changed. People still grasp on to the seductive lies of Satan. They latch, with trepidation, onto the thought that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has the answer to the future, while God’s prophetic truth sort of just backs up what this Islamic Hitler-like dictator from Iran has to say from his version of the Koran.

The Iranian fanatic dictator, like many followers of the satanic prophecy, believes the 12th Imam as the Mahdi, an Arabic word that generally references a messiah, or a guide. This messiah will, they believe, come from his occultation (unspecified place of abode) to show followers the right pathway, and to make Islam the only religion on earth. The Iranian president, as do fanatic clerics of the region, holds forth that it is desirable to bring on Armageddon and the end of the world, in order to bring the Twelfth Imam into the world.

It is feared by many Middle East observers that Ahmadinejad believes producing nuclear weapons, and using them once they are developed, is the reason he has been placed by Allah at this time in history, in this volatile region. Israel, he proclaims, must be destroyed at any cost, so that the 12th Imam can rearrange the present world order. So –it is transparent, to me at least—that the international community and UN appeasers believe Ahmadinejad must not be confronted; rather, Israel must give in at every point of Islamic aggression, or threatened aggression. If peace isn’t achieved –at any price – the world will end in nuclear Armageddon. The collective thought seems to be that resisting Iran could be the trigger point to World War III.

Such will apparently be the degree of appeasement when Iran (the area of ancient Persia) comes down with the Gog-Magog forces as prophesied by Ezekiel. The prophet foretold that the world, watching the attack on Israel, will issue a diplomatic protest note, with a Neville Chamberlain-like question: “Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?” (Ezek. 38:13).

The end of the world is on the minds of media and the appeasement-minded within the international community. To these world worry-warts, “fundamentalist, evangelical” Christians are in the same grouping with the fanatic Islamics, like those of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s ilk.

Satan wants the world to see true Christians as intermeshed with Islamists, much like the Hezbollah, Hamas, and other Islamic terrorist organizations want innocent women and children intermingled with their murderous members when the fighting starts. The devil attempts to counterfeit everything Almighty God does. He tries to make it seem that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and those of us who believe Christ is coming back to destroy His enemies believe exactly the same thing. Lucifer wants the world to believe that we are fanatics who want to bring on Armageddon so the end of the world can hurry and get here. Our “religion” will then triumph.

Actually, Christians and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad-type Islamics are at opposite ends of the theological spectrum. We have the God of all creation, who sent His Son to die for mankind, that all people might live forever. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad believes in a god who wants his and other Muslim children, if it is expedient, to die for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s god, so that that god can enslave a planet. The Lord God Jehovah wants eternal life for mankind. Lucifer wants the end of the world, so all of God’s creation called man will be destroyed.

At the time of the posting of this week’s "Nearing Midnight" commentaries, there is hand-wringing speculation that Iran could, somehow, bring about the end of the world –or at least Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s version of the end of the world.

“Aug. 22 could be an ominous date for Israelis and Americans based on its significance this year as one of Islam’s most revered holy days, according to a Princeton professor who says Iran may be planning 'cataclysmic events' to prepare the way for Shiite Muslims’ awaited messiah.

Bernard Lewis, a professor emeritus of Near Eastern studies at Princeton University, warned in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece that Aug. 22 this year corresponds to the 27th day of the month of Rajab of the year 1427 on the Islamic calendar, which is when Muslims commemorate the flight of the prophet Muhammad on a winged horse to Jerusalem and then to heaven and back.

Aug. 22, Lewis said, could provide an opportune moment for Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to set in motion the return of the 12th Imam, whom Shiites believe will forever end the struggle between good and evil in the last days.

'Mr. Ahmadinejad and his followers clearly believe that this time is now, and that the terminal struggle has already begun and is indeed well advanced,’[Lewis said]" (Culture Digest, "Princeton scholar warns of threats from Iran on Aug. 22," Aug. 17, 2006).

***

Whether Israel nukes Damascus, as even talk show host Rush Limbaugh, on Thursday, August 17, said he thought could happen, or whether the madmen of Iran strike into Israel, we can be sure of one thing. This world is in full control of the one who spoke it into existence. Here’s the truth: “Unto him [be] glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Eph 3:21).

--Terry

CATACLYSM FEARS RAISED ON ISLAMIC HOLY DATE

Cataclysm fears raised on Islamic 'holy' date - www.worldnetdaily.com

Mideast experts worry Islamic fanatics seeking heaven may spark violence

MAD, or mutually assured destruction, just won't work any more, according to one Mideast expert whose forecasts that the night of Aug. 22 may prove to be cataclysmic are fueling worry around the world.

Bernard Lewis of Princeton has had opinion pieces circulating for two weeks now about how that night, the anniversary of one of Islam's holiest events, could be a time Iran would pick to spark a battle Muslims believe forever will resolve the battle between "good" and "evil."

That MAD policy, which prevented nations for decades during the Cold War from pushing the button, isn't a realistic hope with fanatic Muslims, Lewis said.

"There is a radical difference between the Islamic Republic of Iran and other governments with nuclear weapons," Lewis writes. "This difference is expressed in what can only be described as the apocalyptic worldview of Iran's present rulers."

He said there is developing an "apparently callous unconcern" over who is a victim, or how many victims there are, for terrorists. Lewis believes the perception they hold is that in death any infidel, or non-Muslim, will go to a well-deserved punishment in hell while any Muslims would go straight to heaven.

According to this view, the bombers are in fact doing their Muslim victims a favor by giving them a quick pass to heaven and its delights – the rewards without the struggles of martyrdom. School textbooks tell young Iranians to be ready for a final global struggle against an evil enemy, named as the U.S., and to prepare themselves for the privileges of martyrdom, Lewis said.

He said while a direct attack on the U.S. is possible, Israel is a nearer and more likely target.

As WorldNetDaily has reported, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has urged his people to prepare for the coming of an Islamic "messiah," raising concerns a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic could trigger the kind of global conflagration he envisions will set the stage for the end of the world.

He's also said, in a WND report, that Islam and its followers must prepare to rule the world, because it is a "universal ideology that leads the world to justice."

Now comes Lewis, who notes that the world must be concerned about a leader for whom the possibility of death is not a deterrent.

"In this context, mutual assured destruction, the deterrent that worked so well during the Cold War, would have no meaning," Lewis wrote. "At the end of time, there will be general destruction anyway. What will matter will be the final destination of the dead – hell for the infidels, and heaven for the believers.

"For people with this mindset, MAD is not a constraint, it is an inducement," he said.

Lewis noted that Ahmadinejad has talked of Aug. 22 mulitiple times, a date that corresponds to the 27th day of the month of Rajab of the year 1427 for Muslims.

"This, by tradition, is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq, first to 'the farthest mosque,' usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back," Lewis wrote.

Lewis wrote, "This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary the world. It is far from certain that Mr. Ahmadanejad plans any such cataclysmic events precisely for Aug. 22. But it would be wise to bear the possibility in mind."

Lewis, the Cleveland E. Dodge professor emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, specializes in Muslim history and interaction between Muslims and the West.

His comments echoed those made just a few days earlier by Robert Spencer, another scholar of Islamic history, theology and law and the director of Jihad Watch.

In an article for FrontPageMagazine.com, he wrote that Farid Ghadry, president of the Reform Party of Syria, noted the commemoration of Muhammad's ascent to heaven from the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Also, "Atomic Iran" author Jerome Corsi notes that it's less significant whether Hezbollah survives, "but it's really the first chapter in the play for Iran and the Shiite Islam nation to come to ascendancy in the Muslim world."

In the updated edition of "Atomic Iran: How the Terrorist Regime Bought the Bomb and American Politicians," now available in paperback from WND Books, Corsi discusses many of the disturbing developments related to Iran.
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Friday, August 18, 2006

OUTCRY OVER LEBANON

Outcry over Lebanonb - Jan Willem van der Hoeven - www.israelmybeloved.com

Shock, anger and disappointment were felt by many inside and outside Israel – by Israel-loving Jews and Israel-loving Christians – at the unsatisfactory and premature outcome of Israel's latest war.

The nation has been severely shaken, and a process has already begun that could well lead to a new political and military change of direction, possibly even a change in Israel's government.

Many people, among them Lebanese – especially that country's real Christians who have suffered for years from the Hizbollah and other Muslim extremists occupying their country – are also deeply disappointed in the half-baked outcome of this recent war.

To give you a glimpse of the feelings and opinions, chiefly Israeli and Lebanese, I have listed some of the most remarkable heartfelt outcries expressed by them:

Joseph Farah writes (in WorldNetDaily, August 2006)

"When Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Liberation Organization tried to take over the country and make it his terrorist playground, nobody cared.

When people were dying by the thousands in the civil war, nobody cared.

When Syria had its boot on the neck of its tiny neighbor for 25 years, nobody cared.

When Iran dispatched Hezbollah terrorists into the country to undermine home rule by Lebanese, nobody cared.
W
hen Muslims chased millions of Christians from the country, tipping the balance of power, nobody cared.

But now, all eyes are on Lebanon.

Do you know why?

Because Israel has tried to clean up this hornet's nest. Yet all we hear about is how many Lebanese are dying.

The whole world is going nuts over this "slaughter."

Does any of this make sense?

Do you think those screaming about the bloodshed in Lebanon really give a hoot about Lebanon? If so, where have they been for the last 30 years?

Why is Lebanon the top story in every newscast? Why is Lebanon on the front page of every newspaper? Don't you get the impression that the violence there is probably worse than anywhere else on the planet from this focus?

Clearly it is not.

And the only difference is who's doing the butt kicking in Lebanon. As for me, an American of Lebanese and Syrian heritage, I don't want to see a "cease-fire." I want to see Lebanon freed of the terrorist blight, once and for all. I want to see Lebanon freed from domination by Iran and Syria. I want to see Lebanon be Lebanon. I don't want to see Lebanon suffer for another 30 years. It's time to clean up the mess and allow this poor, little country to heal. And that means getting rid of the disease of Hezbollah – now."

And the courageous Brigitte Gabriel, a Christian Lebanese writes:

"While the world protected the PLO withdrawing from Lebanon in 1983 with Israel hot on their heels, another more volatile and religiously idealistic organization was being born: Hezbollah, "the Party of Allah," founded by Ayatollah Khomeini and financed by Iran. It was Hezbollah who blew up the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon in October, 1983 killing 241 Americans and 67 French paratroopers that same day. President Reagan ordered U.S. Multilateral Force units to withdraw and closed the books on the marine massacre and US involvement in Lebanon February 1984.

The civilized world, which erroneously vilified the Christians and Israel back then and continues to vilify Israel now, was not paying attention. While America and the rest of the world were concerned about the Israeli /PLO problem, terrorist regimes in Syria and Iran fanned Islamic radicalism in Lebanon and around the world.

Hezbollah's Shiite extremists began multiplying like proverbial rabbits, out-producing moderate Sunnis and Christians. Twenty-five years later they have produced enough people to vote themselves into 24 seats in the Lebanese parliament. Since the Israeli pullout in 2000, Lebanon has become a terrorist base completely run and controlled by Syria with its puppet Lebanese President Lahood and the Hezbollah "state within a state."

The Lebanese army has less than 10,000 military troops. Hezbollah has over 4,000 trained militia forces and there are approximately 700 Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Southern Lebanon and the Beka'a Valley. So why can't the army do the job? Because the majority of Lebanese Muslims making up the army will split and unite along religious lines with the Islamic forces just like what happened in 1976 at the start of the Lebanese civil war.

It all boils down to a war of Islamic Jihad ideology vs. Judeo Christian Westernism. Muslims, who are now the majority of Lebanon's population, support Hezbollah because they are part of the Islamic Ummah-the nation. This is the taboo subject everyone is trying to avoid. The latest attacks on Israel have been orchestrated by Iran and Syria driven by two different interests. Syria considers Lebanon a part of "greater" Syria. Young Syrian President Assad and his Ba'athist military intelligence henchmen in Damascus are using this latest eruption of violence to prove to the Lebanese that they need the Syrian presence to protect them from the Israeli aggression and to stabilize the country. Iran is conveniently using its Lebanese puppet army Hezbollah, to distract the attention of world leaders meeting at the G-8 summit in St. Petersburg, from its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Apocalyptic Iranian President Ahmadinejad and the ruling Mullah clerics in Tehran want to assert hegemony in the Islamic world under the banner of Shia Mahdist madness. Ahmadinejad wants to seal his place as top Jihadist for Allah by make good his promise to "wipe Israel off the map."

No matter how much the west avoids facing the reality of Islamic extremism of the Middle East, the west cannot hide from the fact that the same Hamas and Hezbollah that Israel is fighting over there, are of the same radical Islamic ideology that has fomented carnage and death through terrorism that America and the world are fighting. This is the same Hezbollah that Iran is threatening to unleash in America with suicide bomb attacks if America tries to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapon. They have cells in over 10 cities in the United States. Hamas, has the largest terrorist infrastructure on American soil. This is what happens when you turn a blind eye to evil for decades, hoping it will go away."

Suzy Goldy insightfully writes:

"It has been a continual downhill fall, from their fundamentally flawed Oslo Plan to the dances of Arafat, to giving weapons to the Palestinians to getting out of Lebanon and allowing Hezbollah to arm for years with 12,000 missiles, to getting out of Gaza while uprooting and abusing peaceful Jewish Farmers and on and on until their incompetent handling of the current war with Hezbollah.

It is unbelievable but it has taken the Israeli Leftists and intellectuals over 55 years of wars, terror attacks and Oslo to finally realize the Arabs mean what they say – that they want to destroy (D-E-S-T-R-O-Y) Israel!!! Even Amos Oz and the "Peace Now" think-tanks finally get it!!!!"

Rachel and Moshe Saperstein formerly from Neve Dekalim in Gush Katif write:

"Moshe and I have the remains of a Kassam rocket which exploded near our home in Neve Dekalim. The words Al Kuds were printed on its tail fins. Al Kuds is Arabic for Jerusalem. The message is quite clear. The war was not about Gush Katif. It was about Jerusalem. Just as the war in the north is not about Lebanon. It is a war to destroy Israel. Last year the people of Israel and Jews from abroad chose to ignore the message. They let Gush Katif fall. Today our country is in ruins.

Last week a plot to destroy airliners from Britain to the United States was foiled. The message is clear. The war, of which ours is a part, is of the east determined to destroy the west. The west chooses to ignore the message. Just as Gush Katif led straight to Lebanon, so the war against Israel will lead straight to the war against the west.

While the war rages in the north, we have been receiving signals that Syria is stockpiling huge quantities of weapons along its border with Israel. The weapons are deadlier and have a longer range. Yet our prime minister still speaks of his 'convergence' plan to remove 100,000 Jews from Judea and Samaria and to give our Biblical homeland to our enemies, bringing the heartland of the country into the range of enemy weapons. Win or lose, the Arabs win. Is it any wonder that we, the refugees of Gush Katif, are still angry, hurt, bewildered and horrified by the results of our expulsion?

Excuse me if I'm still crying. When we see the direct results of this horrible crime of expulsion against us now visited on the entire people of Israel, of course I cry. When I recall that our rabbis and political leaders worked with the government to commit this crime, yes I cry. When I recall that our soldiers and police chose to carry out this crime, I cry. And today I cry as I see innocent Israelis left without food and water in bomb shelters. And when our young soldiers are killed and wounded, I cry.

When we begged, pleaded and warned the Jewish world that this is what will eventually happen if we are expelled, we were met with indifference. The Jews would not listen to us. Today they rush to raise money for the refugees of the north huddled in their shelters. Monies that will largely disappear into organizational coffers as did most of the funds raised for us.
T
o those who criticize my outcry, my "whining", my despair, please understand I do it for you, the next victims of Islamic hatred. The Sudden Jihad Syndrome shooting in Seattle will be repeated many times over.

No more prizes to our enemies! No Convergence Plan!! At stake is not the survival of Judea and Samaria. At stake is the survival of Israel. At stake is the survival of our world."

And the forthright courageous journalist Ari Shavit wrote in Ha'aretz August 13th 2006:

"A simple thing happened: We were drugged by political correctness. The political correctness that has come to dominate Israeli discourse and Israeli awareness in the past generation was totally divorced from the Israeli situation. It did not have the tools to deal with the reality of an existential conflict. It did not have the tools to deal with a reality of an inter-religious and inter-cultural conflict. That is why it focused entirely on the Palestinian issue. It made the baseless assumption that the occupation is the source of evil. It assumed that it is the occupation that is preventing peace and causing unrest and perpetuating the instability.

On the other hand, the Israeli elites of the past 20 years have become totally divorced from reality. The capital, the media and the academic world of the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century, have blinded Israel and deprived it of its spirit. Their repeated illusions regarding the historical reality in which the Jewish state finds itself, caused Israel to make a navigational error and to lose its way. Their unending attacks, both direct and indirect, on nationalism, on militarism and on the Zionist narrative have eaten away from the inside at the tree trunk of Israeli existence, and sucked away its life force. While the general public demonstrated sobriety, determination and energy, the elites were a disappointment.

Instead of being constructive elites, in the past generation the Israeli elites have become dismantling elites. Each in its own area, each by its own method, dealt with the deconstruction of the Zionism enterprise. Step by step, the top 1000th percentiles abandoned the existential national effort.

They stopped doing reserve duty, they stopped sending their sons to the fighting units. They mocked those officers who warned about unilateral withdrawals. They mocked those officers who warned that the emergency warehouses were emptying out and the enemies were becoming stronger. And they deceived themselves and those around them that Tel Aviv is in fact Manhattan.

Israel tried with all its soul and all its might to be Athens. However in this place, in this era, there is no future for an Athens without a speck of Sparta. There is no hope for a society-of-life that does not know how to organize itself to deal with death. Therefore, after decades during which the right and the left and the center took Israeli power for granted and wastefully exploited it, now there is no escaping the need to place the renewed building of Israeli power at the top of the agenda. We are returning to the encounter with our fate; returning to what is decreed by the reality of our lives."

And a courageous journalist in Beirut wrote: (English – Translated from the French by Llewellyn Brown)

"The politicians, journalists and intellectuals of Lebanon have, of late, been experiencing the shock of their lives. They knew full well that Hezbollah had created an independent state in our country, a state including all the ministers and parallel institutions, duplicating those of Lebanon. What they did not know - and are discovering with this war, and what has petrified them with surprise and terror - is the extent of this phagocytosis.

In fact, our country had become an extension of Iran, and our so-called political power also served as a political and military cover for the Islamists of Teheran. We suddenly discovered that Teheran had stocked more than 12,000 missiles, of all types and calibers, on our territory and that they had patiently, systematically, organized a suppletive force, with the help of the Syrians, that took over, day after day, all the rooms in the House of Lebanon. Just imagine it : we stock ground-to-ground missiles, Zilzals, on our territory and that the firing of such devices without our knowledge, has the power to spark a regional strategic conflict and, potentially, bring about the annihilation of Lebanon.

Lebanon a victim? What a joke!

Before the Israeli attack, Lebanon no longer existed; it was no more than a hologram. At Beirut innocent citizens like myself were forbidden access to certain areas of their own capital. But our police, our army and our judges were also excluded. That was the case, for example, of Hezbollah's and the Syrians' command zone in the Haret Hreik quarter . A square measuring a kilometer wide, a capital within the capital, permanently guarded by a Horla army, possessing its own institutions, its schools, its crèches, its tribunals, its radio, its television and, above all_ its government. A "government" that, alone decided, in the place of the figureheads of the Lebanese government - in which Hezbollah also had its ministers! - to attack a neighboring state, with which we had no substantial or grounded quarrel, and to plunge US into a bloody conflict. And if attacking a sovereign nation on its territory, assassinating eight of its soldiers, kidnapping two others and, simultaneously, launching missiles on nine of its towns does not constitute a casus belli, the latter juridical principle will seriously need revising.

Thus almost all of these cowardly politicians, including numerous shiah leaders and religious personalities themselves, are blessing each bomb that falls from a Jewish F-16 turning the insult to our sovereignty that was Haret Hreik, right in the heart of Beirut, into a lunar landscape. Without the Israelis, how could we have received another chance - that we in no way deserve! - to rebuild our country?

Like the overwhelming majority of Lebanese, I pray that no one puts an end to the Israeli attack before it finishes shattering the terrorists. I pray that the Hebrew soldiers will penetrate all the hidden recesses of southern Lebanon and will hunt out, in our stead, the vermin that has taken root there.

I will end this all with a very serious and alarming quote from another Arab Youseef Ibrahim on August 7th, 2006.

"For years, Israel claimed that its survival was at stake, surrounded as it was by Arab armies. In fact, it had already destroyed each of them, in a matter of days. Now, however, anyone can see that Israel is indeed facing an existential threat ­ call it death by a thousand paper cuts. Israel's economy and a million of its citizens in the north cannot survive a war of attrition. Unless it is reinstituted with extreme ferocity, Israel's aura of invincibility will give way to a feeding frenzy of Jihadi sharks and the collapse of a peacefully inclined but weak Lebanese government.

The apocalyptic scenario of an enemy within and a Shiite militia without comes with impressive numbers to back it up. Together with Hezbollah's sister Lebanese Shiite militia, Amal, and 1 million Shiites in Lebanon, Iraq and Iran's combined Shiite population of 100 million looms large. This huge force is poised to fight foes selected by the Hezbollah leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, and his masters.

I am not an alarmist, just an egoist. For after these jihadi hordes finish their work in Lebanon and Iraq, they'll come for the rest of us: moderate Arabs, secular Arabs, Christian Arabs, Kurds, Armenians, Druze, and eventually the Sunni Muslims (whom they are already cutting to pieces in Iraq).

In this "Spartacus"-like Shiite uprising, which began with the Iranian Revolution of 1979, those hanging on crosses all the way to the gates of Rome will be all the non-jihadists among us. This time around, the barbarians at the gate aren't just coming for the Jews, but also for what is left of Arab secularism and liberal Islam. That, again, is why a cease-fire will not do."

If we were to affix red pins to wherever jihadists are operating today on a map of the Middle East, red would be the color of Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Algeria, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. So, once again, a cease-fire will not do.

If the mythology of Hezbollah survives the war in Lebanon without a demonstrable humiliation or defeat, the notion will spread that jihadists don't need armies, just some fighters and a bit of momentum.

That momentum has spread to Al Qaeda, which is now rallying to Hezbollah's side, as well as Hamas; the Muslim Brotherhoods of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria; Iran's mullahs, and all the jihadi franchises around the world. This is why a cease-fire will not do in the Israel-Hezbollah war."

What can one add to all these words of outrage and of sorrow? I feel like crying like Jeremiah: "O my soul, my soul I am pained in my very heart. My heart makes a noise in me. I cannot hold my peace, because You have heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war." Jeremiah 4:19

Only G-d Himself can save Israel out of her present predicament! May we all fervently pray for that to happen pleading His mercy which endures forever!
_________________________________________________________________

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME?

Shape of Things To Come?

Most who watch the news in light of Bible prophecy agree that the world has moved into a time of birthpang-like convulsions. While such contractions have been observable for a long time, they seem now to be only minutes apart, rather than months and years apart, like in previous decades. It is with this frame of reference I would like to do some scenario postulating.

By doing so, I am setting myself and raptureready.com up for severe criticism, I realize. So, I want to preface this in the strongest possible terminology. Please read carefully: This is from the thought process of Terry James, not from the mind of the Creator of all things. While I do believe the Lord gives discernment in the areas of things to come (prophecy yet future), He no longer reveals new prophetic truth in the sense He revealed prophecy to Old and New Testament prophets--i.e., God has given His Word, and there is nothing left to be given, so far as prophetic truth is concerned. Now, we who study the prophetic Word can get enlightenment and discernment. I base the following on that premise –that I sense possibilities, based upon prayer, study, and observation. What follows is postulation from a human being in God’s family (through belief in Jesus Christ as Savior). It is speculation, but, I believe, speculation that has been placed in my mind by the Holy Spirit. It is not a “word of knowledge,” as some would have it. It is an assiduously studied and prayed-over speculative insight, I believe.

It is with that understanding that I would like to look deeply into things to come.

The prophet Zechariah comes most specifically to mind, when beginning these ponderings: "The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (Zech. 12: 1-3).

Israel appears to be headed toward exactly the isolation outlined in Zechariah’s prophecy for the end of human history. The tiny Jewish state is being more and more blamed by the international community for its retaliation against incessant attacks from its enemies. While terrorists are given shelter and endless supplies from countries like Syria and Iran, they are given time to resupply, rebuild their losses in terroristic forces by people like U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, with the cease-fire resolutions which, even if implemented, are kept only by the Israelis, never by the Hezbollah or Hamas murderers.

The latest convulsion brings to mind the question: Might this be the time violence will reach the level that is dangerous to the point world diplomats will become so terrified at the prospect of nuclear conflict they will demand peace above all other considerations? Here’s an interesting scenario:

Israel continues to step up military pressure, putting troops into the regions of northern Lebanon, near the Syrian border. Thus to cut off Hezbollah forces, who would then be trapped between the Israelis –and cut off from supplies coming from Syria and Iran. (This apparently is actually in the process of happening.) Israel becomes increasingly isolated in its determination to eradicate these terrorists who have bedeviled them throughout their modern nationhood.

Even within the U.S., there is an increasing cry for Israel to desist from its aggressive actions –which is exactly how the ever-present “peace” purveyors view the actions by Israel. Syria –with the covert assistance of Iran—makes disguised attacks on Israeli troops deployed near its southernmost border. Israel strikes into southern Syria to protect its back and flanks. Syria screams that Israel has invaded.

The tide in America turns more and more against Israel, while world media and the international community castigate the Jewish state at every turn. Israel’s only true friends are Christians in the United States who believe Israel is God’s chosen people and nation. While those Christians don’t approve of every action and everything Israel does, they continue to believe that Israel has the right to exist, and more than that, that Israel (the Jews) continues to be the heir to all of the land God granted it. The Lord has never gone back on His land covenant. "If his sons forsake My law, and do not walk in My judgments, if they violate My statues, and do not keep My commandments, then I will visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. But I will not break off My loving kindness from him, nor deal falsely in My faithfulness. My covenant I will not violate, nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David. His descendants shall endure forever like the moon, and the witness in the sky is faithful" (Psa. 89:30-37).

Just as the war is about to explode into an uncontrollable conflict, the rapture of the Church occurs.

One can only faintly imagine the fear that will result. Every supporter of Israel’s right to exist, because of the belief that it has a God-given right to the land He gave it, has suddenly vanished without a trace –except for the material possessions left behind. Israeli leadership –especially the military leaders –panicked because of complete loss of this support, and with Washington and all of Israel’s key U.S. supportive structure gone, seeks to neutralize its enemies as quickly as possible.

They destroy Damascus with a tactical nuclear strike because that city is headquarters for every significant terrorist organization in the Middle East. Damascus, known as the oldest city of continuing existence in the world, is reduced to radiation-contaminated rubble: “The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap” (Isa. 17:1).

Now the international community of nations is in sure enough distress, with perplexity! Israel has made itself a cup of trembling, and a burdensome stone.

Peace is the word most often heard, while the diplomats, and even the dictators, scream for Israel to be brought into subjection. But, Israel still holds the Samson Option (to bring everyone and everything down around it with all-out nuclear war, if it appears the Jewish state faces annihilation).

America is in chaos, having lost a sizeable portion of population, including many who were in key positions of government and business. Who will pay the taxes? Who will pay off the tremendous personal debt that has been charged over the months and years preceding the disappearance?

America’s leadership looks for any solution to the chaos. The infrastructure is still there, but the nation is fumbling for any semblance of restoration to its former status as the world’s lone superpower.

The world searches for peace. America seeks desperately for something –someone, anyone—to restore its former glory. Israel faces destruction, and the diplomats in the know realize the Jews have vowed “Never again!”

Just as the world seems destined to come apart, a man of unusual diplomatic acumen and charisma is shoved forward out of the crowd of EU nations. He explains that Europe, unlike the U.S., hasn’t sustained the degree of loss of people. He has some answers to the itching ears and terror-stricken minds of everyone around the globe.

With America’s basic infrastructure of technology and nuclear arsenal still in tact, he proposes the western world, with the EU at its center, restructure, bringing America under the umbrella of the Europeans’ governmental capability. He proposes a redistribution of the wealth of America –the wealth of those who disappeared-- thrown into the mix to raise the unfortunates of the western world out of poverty. It will be a superstate to end all superstates!

Israel, he proposes, will have the complete protection of this burgeoning superstate. The caveat is that it must agree to disarm –to turn in its nuclear arsenal. It will be assured of its existence, and will be restored to favorable status within the community of nations.

There is no option for Israel other than this brilliantly conceived resolution. Israel accepts, and the agreement is made, based upon peace efforts that have been in process for years. It is a peace based upon the constructs of man’s capability to create the most magnificent society in history. Every person, once electronically documented, will be part of the new order. Terrorists and all others of diabolical bent will become manifest, and easier to eliminate.

Oh, well… Then I awake from my scenario-ponderings. As of this writing, there is a cease-fire being proposed that is apparently acceptable to most parties involved. Whether any cease-fire will hold for an extended period is doubtful, based on decades of past experience. Thus it could be the next such wave of the ongoing conflict that will turn the scenario into reality. Or, such a scenario might not be the shape of things to come at all. But, our hourly headlines should nudge us to consider the possibilities.
--Terry