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ELECTION TOMORROW

So Anthony weighs in, he’s a reluctant Bushie! It’s nice to hear your thoughts, I think you are probably right about both of the candidates. It’s sort of weird for me, I’m not sure how to think these days because my political ideology and theology are both on the table.

I believe there is a war going on in the Muslim faith between the moderates who wish to practice their faith ardently and peacefully, and the extremists who wish to practice their faith ardently which to them demands that they fight. I get where they are coming from.

What I think most Americans misunderstand is that these extremists will not stop until the “streets run red with the blood of Americans.” They are not satisfied with 3000 dead on 9.11 – that was a warning shot. They want millions of us dead…millions. This has been an accelerating threat over the past 10 years and the Clinton administration did not deal with it. Clinton did a lot of damage to our credibility in the mid-east – see Somalia. He made 9.11 possible because he gave the extremists every reason to believe that we are a weak people.

The European Socialists may have loved Clinton, but they did us no favors. They would love Kerry in the same way, but we’d deal with the same issue: a fundamental misunderstanding of the threat that faces our country and a Europe who will sacrifice their own well being in order to get rich off UN programs like the Oil for Food program, which lined Kofi Annan’s son with hundreds of millions of dollars.

We had 7 good years under Clinton where we got drunk on the tech boom, then the bottom dropped out, as Clinton knew it would. Then Bush spent his first two years dealing with the hangover from Clinton’s drunken prom night, and trying to fight a war on terror at the same time.

Now the economy is really turned around and growing, the debt is not a threat (give me a break guys, I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, I know debt), the war on terror has completely changed our situation with regards to terrorist threats. There is only one issue left. Jesus was a peacemaker. Bush took us into a war in Iraq and Kerry tells me he can “win the peace.” They are both ready to fight war. To the no war activist, a vote for Kerry is an exercise in hypocrisy.

This is what Bush can’t tell you. He had to open up a front for the war on terror somewhere. The terrorists wanted it to be in the US, Bush tried to get them to fight in Afghanistan but they would not fight there. So he had to pick another front. He needed an open battle ground to fight the terrorists within the Middle East – a place where the terror organizations would all come out of the woodwork, flood into that country and engage us in a fight. That is why we got into Iraq, that and the fact that Saddam’s middle finger flying in the air in our general direction was a perfect symbol of the new found confidence that middle eastern dictators and terrorists were starting to feel toward the US after Clinton.

I think the peace proponents, basically the elitists on college campuses and in the media and government who think they are smarter than everyone else, fundamentally misunderstand what they are proponents of. This is no longer a world where we can appease those who wish to harm us and hope they go away while we pay them off. It is a global society now, and if someone is looking for a fight, you either fight or get killed. To take a pacifist stance insures our downfall. We live in that kind of world – sorry, but the fall happened. I am not a war hawk, I hate that we are in this situation, but this is not the president’s doing – in fact more blame should go to Clinton. He appeased and bought off countries so we wouldn’t have to fight. He made them bolder and stronger and more resolved to take us down. Bush has had to fight a total uphill battle against enemies abroad and his enemies as home, the intellectual elitists.

The irony is that I think Bush has a better understanding of the world situation that the intellectual elitists, and I believe that he is listening to God. I believe Kerry thinks about what’s best for him in next week’s polls and I think he cares way too much about what the Western European’s think of him. I won’t vote for him. I’m voting for Bush.

About Tim Suttle

Find out more about Tim at TimSuttle.com

Tim Suttle is the senior pastor of RedemptionChurchkc.com. He is the author of several books including his most recent - Shrink: Faithful Ministry in a Church Growth Culture (Zondervan 2014), Public Jesus (The House Studio, 2012), & An Evangelical Social Gospel? (Cascade, 2011). Tim's work has been featured at The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Sojourners, and other magazines and journals.

Tim is also the founder and front-man of the popular Christian band Satellite Soul, with whom he toured for nearly a decade. The band's most recent album is "Straight Back to Kansas." He helped to plant three thriving churches over the past 13 years and is the Senior Pastor of Redemption Church in Olathe, Kan. Tim's blog, Paperback Theology, is hosted at Patheos.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08040527410433185496 Anthony

    Nice summary of the current situation in the Mideast! I recall seeing a documentary by New York Times writer Thomas Friedman a few months ago which made similar points regarding the real purpose of our going into Iraq. He suggested that we were sending an unambiguous message to the radical Muslim world that the United States was willing to pay a huge price to ensure that these kinds of terrorists knew that we weren’t going to allow them to build up their capabilities and move about the world freely, as they had before 9/11. It amazed me at the time that a fairly liberal NYT writer like Friedman would actually understand the situation so well. My concern now is that Americans have reassumed a pre-9/11 mindset, and no longer seem willing to fight this battle over the long haul in order to diminish these terror networks. Today’s elections will be a good indication of where Americans really are, as Kerry to me is the embodiment of self-indulgent, short-term thinking.

    I wouldn’t say that I’m reluctant to vote for Bush. I do question the depth of his understanding sometimes, but am confident that Cheney more than adequately fills the void. Happy voting!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02271967359036667997 N8

    Hey Tim nice blog about the war on terror. The Iraq “terrorist magnet” theory is interesting, one I certainly haven’t heard before. I just hope it isn’t true. Most terrorists – like those 19 Saudi’s on 9-11 – aren’t in Iraq, and they never will be. They are in every single country in the world, around every corner, writing on blogs, going to normal jobs – everyday normal people except for the fact they hate America and Western culture and are willing to give their die for thier cause. It is not a traditional war like we are used to. The front lines are not Iraq – they are in the hearts and minds of the Islamic people. This is nothing new – the Islamic faith has been violent and opposed to Christianity since its founding. I think that W and his posse are operating on another thoery. I think Bush is saying exactly what he is trying to do – they are operating on a long-term plan to instill peace in the Middle East. It is called democratic peace theory and it comes from the influential realm of International Relations. They think that if they can create a “zone of democracy” in the Middle East, things will be just peachy keen, because democracies don’t fight each other and they certainly don’t breed terrorists. I think they are somewhat right and if in 100 years from now it works they will be considered brilliant. I just personally don’t think it will work. Islamic countries, when given a chance – do not want democracy in the sense that we are used to. If anything – they want a combination of pluralism and Sharia Law (in other words – representative theocracy). The problem is, the US is the wrong country to lead this process. We have meddled in Mid. East politics for so long, in such a hypocritcal fashion (instilling brutal dictatories numerous times since WWI) that we are not credible. That is why they hate us. And besides, The Mid. East dicators have a much better system than we do – it is called the carrot and the stick – give the fundamentalists a little, and if they abuse it, the stick comes down. Look at Jordan, Egypt, etc. An open Western system does not work for Islamic countries. We have created another Algeria – and these things don’t end nicely. Our best bet is to tap Alaska, slowly ween our dependence on Mid. East oil, sufficienly guard borders in the meantime, and get the hell out of the Middle East. But alas, this will never happen and it is utopian in my mind to think it will. My question is – what next? What happens after Iraq? Will terrorism disappear? Will the world finally be safe from Islamic fundamentalists? Dude, we have to be smarter.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10974397437648079481 Tim Suttle

    Hey N8,

    I only know a little about the Democratic Peace Theory…isn’t the problem that the countries have to be a real democracy or it won’t work – and it’s one of those associations that you don’t really know if it’s a real relationship or not? Two democracies have never gone to war against each other, but is that because they are democracies and their voters wouldn’t stand for it, or has it just not happened yet? Democracies en mass are relatively new in terms of civilization, and they are mostly a western phenomenon. Who knows if it will work in an Eastern Society and culture?

    My question is this, what’s the competing idea? What else is there except that we hang an American flag over Mecca? It seems like you pick the Democratization of the Middle East because it’s the only way you don’t have to conquer the territories yourself.

    The really interesting thing that’s happening right now is Arafat, because if he’s gone, then the Israelis lose their excuse with our government. They’ve been saying that he’s not an honest broker, but he still holds the cards for the Palestinians. If Arafat dies, then the Israelis have to either move forward with a Palestinian state or they’ve got to find another excuse. You know they are going to find another excuse, so my question is what will W. do? He’s going to have to force them to the table. The Democratic Peace Theory won’t work unless the Palestinians have their own democracy and right now they don’t even have a state. I know that there is enough blood to go around, but I think it’s time for Israel to get serious about a compromise. What do you think? What else can you tell me about this stuff?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02271967359036667997 N8

    Tim – Democratic Peace Theory is based on the fact that democracies rarely fight each other. This has been debated in IR circles, because of definitional variations of democracy, the rarity of war in the first place, etc. But the fact remains, it hasn’t happened often. The reason given is the similar idealogies democracies share, the checks and balances in the system that make war more difficult, and public opinion factor. It is an interesting idea that makes sense, especially when things are going good. Just wait until some massive crisis happens like another great depression or a global disater – then I think you can throw the theory out the window. I think the competing idea is exactly what you described in your first post. It is fighting on an open battle ground – traditional war – state v. state. The problem is, as we all know, terrorists are groups – not states.
    As far as Arafat, he is a crook and terrorist – the Israelis are right. He is also a dictator, the Palestinians have had chances at democracy, but he wouldn’t allow it. He also blew the best chance we had at peace under the Clinton Admin in 1998. Arafat single-handidly blew that deal. The deal was set and he walked away from the table because what would he do once a deal was made? It doesn’t seem like you think much of Clinton, but his diplomacy is the only reason they were at the table, and that it went so far. Another sticky point is that big mosque stitting on the Temple. Neither side will budge on that issue. What happens when he is gone? You are going to have several different terrorist organizations vying for power (Hamas, Hezbollah, Arafat cronies). I’m not looking forward to what that will look like. It will probably help Israel more than anything. And now we have a near-nuclear Iran in the picture! This looks like a recipe for disaster to me. I pray WWIII doen’t break out.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02271967359036667997 N8

    Oh and I forgot – W. He has no “political capital” in the Mid. East. He is out of the picture for several reasons.

    1) Iraq
    2) http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1192206,00.html

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08040527410433185496 Anthony

    I have serious doubts about “democracy” even being a viable form of government in the Middle East. To me, a successful democracy requires, first and foremost, a somewhat educated public. It also is important to have a population that, for the most part, values human life. In many countries of the Middle East, these values are not as commonly held as they are here in the West. In countries that favor an Islamic fundamentalist view, democracy and liberty are not values that are even understood by most people, much less systems to be desired. I believe that it is much more likely that the United States will have to maintain a long-term military presence in Iraq, and will use this country as a base from which to exert its influence in the Middle East. As a result, the Iraqi people will develop an economic dependence upon the US, and eventually, will begin to become “westernized.” Over twenty years or so, Iraqis will decide that the economic benefits of a continuous US military presence is far superior to life under a brutal dictator. This notion that we would train the Iraqi’s to defend themselves and then we would get out of Iraq was little more than a necessary political campaign tool, used wisely by Bush to defeat Kerry. Now that the election is past, I suspect that Bush will order the US military to take on the insurgents much more forcefully. Once a state of order is established, then the process of educating the Iraqis and rebulding Iraq can begin again. This was the original intent of the Bush administration, until the insurgent uprising put the rebuilding efforts on hold. Dennis Miller made an interesting prediction on his CNBC show the day after it became clear that Bush had won reelection. Expressing his newly found neoconservative credentials, Dennis said, “Now that Bush has won, all you terrorists prepare to die!” Dennis realized that the effort in Iraq had to be tempered over the past few months, in order that it wouldn’t cost Bush reelection. Kerry and the media somewhat successfully turned the American public against the war effort. But I suspect that Bush, fresh off his strong showing in his reelection, will now crank things up again militarily in Iraq, and possibly elsewhere in the Middle East. And I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see Iran’s little nuclear project taken out soon, either by the US or by Israel.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02271967359036667997 N8

    Here is a great article by Richard Haass that is in the Economist outling the foreign policy issues W will have to face in his next term. I find it so amazing that we live in such a uni-polar world – The US is expected to lead and solve every world issue. I guess that is what comes with power.

    http://www.economist.com/opinion/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3352924

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10974397437648079481 Tim Suttle

    It sounds like you could be right, anthony. Looks like the U.S. forces are getting ready to attack Fallujah. God help us.

    Hey N8, I agree with you about Clinton’s diplomatic ability. What do you think about Bush? Clearly the French, Germans and Russians are a bit suspect but if you believe Powell and the state department, that has more to do with the oil for food program and the underhandedness of the UN.

    I’d really like to hear your take on what you think Bush will be able to do in the next four years in the Middle East. Also, what do you think of the UN?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02271967359036667997 N8

    Now that Arafat is dead, I think we have a brand new game in Palestine. That is a tough situation to crack. I don’t see Israel giving up much in the West Bank, so it could get ugly again if negotiations break down. As far as Bush goes, I really don’t know how involved he’ll be. I can’t see peace happening without the US, but I can’t see the Palestinians trusting Bush. But Bush has been using the right language lately calling for a two state solution. If you read that article I posted that was in the Guardian you’ll see that Bush has already compromised his diplomatic position. I was disappointed this week to see the Europeans leading the way on the Iranian nuclear situation. That is one area where W has really dropped the ball. If Iran gets nukes, the Middle East could be in big trouble. I think the next four years will be considered a success if we can get the hell out of Iraq (at least on the surface) and get the country somewhat stabilized. If this means another dictatorship – so be it. We also need to keep Iran nuclear free. As far as the UN goes, great idea, but until it has some actual power of its own (i.e. not controlled by the US) it is worthless. They have been atrocious in dealing with real issues – see the current situation in Sudan. Anyway, those are my humble rants – what do you think?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08040527410433185496 Anthony

    I think that just about anyone will be better than Arafat, since he had become the primary symbol of anti-Israeli sentiment in the Arab world, and also since he would never favor any treaty which allowed Israel to continue its existence.

    Bush, for his part, has consistently called for a two-state solution, but made it clear in the second half of his first term that Arafat was not a leader that his administration would deal with. I think that Bush was wise in this sense, since Clinton had to learn the hard way that Arafat was not a person with whom the U.S. could deal with effectively. Hopefully, a new breed of leadership will develop within the Palestinian ranks that accepts the continued existence of the State of Israel, and which rejects terrorism as an acceptable means by which foreign policy may be influenced. I still have a hard time believing that Arafat won the Nobel Peace Prize.

    I agree with N8 that it will be a major failure of the Bush Administration if Iran is allowed to develop a nuclear capability. I still believe that either Israel or the U.S. military will take this capability out in the near future, probably soon after the elections in Iraq are held. This is one area where Bush will spend some of the “political capital” that he said he earned as a result of the recent election.

    I’m not a big supporter of the UN. Not only has it been incompetent in everything other than certain humanitarian projects, but its performance in most global security issues has been awful. Any body which even appears to give a legitimate voice to countries like Syria and Cuba on issues of international security and human rights is an organization which lacks credibility at the most basic level. I would like to see the UN transition to becoming specifically chartered to deal with humanitarian issues only. Let security issues be dealt with in a new body which is totally separate from the UN. Just my two cents.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10974397437648079481 Tim Suttle

    Here’s a pretty interesting article on Kofi Annan and his reaction to the Oil for Food scandal. Russia, France and Germany are coming out looking pretty bad on this one.

    http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/cRosett/?id=110005904


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