Should War Policy Be Changed?

By Garner Ted Armstrong

The oft-repeated Bush and Blair government’s policy in prosecuting the war against Iraq is double-pronged; the disarmament of Saddam Hussein, and regime change.

Intrinsic in this policy are the rules of engagement, which are to target only regime and military targets with the much-vaunted precision weapons; to spare infrastructure important for the well being of Iraqi civilians, such as water, electricity, bridges, mosques, schools and hospitals, and to avoid at all costs civilian casualties.

As I have written in the past, this is tantamount to once again demanding that the military forces fight a war with one hand tied behind their backs.

I was surprised therefore, having made that point several times in my commentaries, to see both the host and guests on the “O’Reilly Factor” make this same statement, pointing out the difficulties this presents to coalition forces; facing Saddam’s Fedayeen and regular army units who change into civilian clothes who appear willing to surrender, and then ambush US and UK soldiers.

Surprisingly, O’Reilly brought up both Korea and Vietnam just as I have often done.

Fighting “limited” wars is not easy. In the cases of Korea and Vietnam, the limits imposed upon the military resulted in a useless stalemate in the former case, and a humiliating defeat in the latter.

Now, in spite of all the coalition forces are trying to do, word comes that a stray missile, perhaps two of them, landed in a crowded civilian marketplace.

Here is the dilemma, compounded.

First, as has been demonstrated by a bank of more than a dozen video monitors in Kuwait, many Arab and other television stations are broadcasting a virulent stream of propaganda, twenty-four hours a day, showing images of dead and wounded women and children; a mother wearing head bandages is besought by an injured child – a beautiful little girl – lying in a hospital bed; residential buildings in a shambles; a US helicopter shot down; US prisoners paraded; US soldiers’ bodies piled in a morgue; the haunted eyes of two US helicopter pilots darting back and forth as they are put on camera.

Along with all of this comes a spewing out of hate-filled propaganda against “Satan.” They actually lace their broadcasts with phrases like “Satan tried to advance against the holy forces of Islam, but Allah smote them with a powerful sand storm.”

The teeming millions of Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Gaza, Indonesia, Albania, the Philippines and other Islamic countries are not watching the major US or British networks or cable news channels like Fox and CNN. As hard as Fox tries to present “fair and balanced” news, showing all sides (and even the American left accuses them of a conservative bias), those few among the leadership of such countries ridicule every US and UK broadcast as lies and propaganda.

Meanwhile, the Islamic populations believe, in their hearts, that the coalition is DELIBERATELY TARGETING CIVILIANS! No amount of presenting “the truth” to them via US television is going to throw doubt on that conviction! They believe it with passion!

Catch-22. Hanged if you do, and hanged if you don’t.     

In the light of this fact – and it is a fact – should the policy being pursued be changed?

Karl von Klauswitz said, “If war is part of policy, policy will determine its character. As policy becomes more ambitious and vigorous, so will war, and this may reach the point where war attains its absolute form... Policy is the guiding intelligence and war only the instrument, not vice versa... No major proposal required for war can be worked out in ignorance of political factors...”

The US Commander in Chief, in consort with the British Prime Minister, has adopted the moral and compassionate policy of attempting to prosecute a war with surgical precision, like a brain surgeon trying to take out a malignant cancer which has spread through the gray matter of a brain, and desperately trying to avoid snipping any neurons which will turn the patient into a vegetable, or kill him. Even trembling fingers can mean disaster.

Here are the factors which might eventually have to be considered which mitigate that moral and compassionate policy:

(1) The civilian population is far more anti-American than many have been led to believe.

(2) Saddam has armed huge numbers of his civilian population as militia.

(3) Regular Iraqi army soldiers are discarding their uniforms, dressing as civilians, waving to US and UK troops as they pass by during the day, then attacking them at night.

(4) Iraqi soldiers are dressing in US uniforms, pretending to take the surrender of Iraqi troops in and around Basra, and then executing them on the spot.

(5) Saddam has, for many years, been working on blending his military and civilian installations together; a tank was discovered inside a hospital complex, together with soldiers, arms, and ammunition stockpiles. A MIG was towed into a cemetery. As reported, the Baghdad TV facility is atop a day care center. We do not know how many weapons of mass destruction are buried deep beneath schools, hospitals, or private homes.

(6) While coalition troops fight to spare Iraqi infrastructure, Saddam’s forces deliberately destroy it. They have set fire to several oil wells, filled ditches around Baghdad with oil and torched them, wired well heads with explosives, mined harbors, and are allegedly wiring major bridges with explosives – bridges which coalition forces have spared, and which are vital to the well-being of the citizens of Baghdad.

In the light of these and many other considerations, how effective and how rational is the policy being pursued? Is it in fact requiring the military to fight yet another “limited” war; a war with “one hand tied behind their backs?” Some are already saying so.

The ghastly truth is: War is evil. It is horrible. It often knows no difference between the professional soldier and the innocent civilian, whether man, woman, or child. Even “smart” bombs go astray. Even precision missiles can be blown off course by 50 and 60 mile per hour gusts of winds laden with blinding sand.

Therefore, since the teeming populations of the Islamic world firmly believe the coalition is deliberately waging war against civilians, and since no amount of proof to the contrary is ever going to convince them, is there any rationale in the prosecution of war which says they may as well believe the truth, as to believe a lie? They believe, in either event!

Is there any precedent in the Bible for total war against total populations for total stakes?

Yes, there is. There are many examples of just that. When Elohim (I use the Hebrew term advisedly, because of the truth revealed in John’s 1st chapter that the One who became Christ is in fact the God of the Old Testament) told Israel to exterminate their enemies, such as the Hivites, Jebusites, Amalakites and Philistines, He told them not to spare any!

“Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt;

“How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God.

“Therefore it shall be, when the LORD thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it” (Deuteronomy 25:17-19).

Notice what God said to Saul, when he failed to follow God’s commands, “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.

“Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

“And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah.

“And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and laid wait in the valley.

“And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye showed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites.

“And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt.

“And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.

“But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly” (1 Samuel 15:2-9).

Saul’s unwillingness to obey God completely cost him his throne and his dynasty.

God said, “It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night.

“And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal.

“And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD.

“And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?

“And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.

“Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on.

“And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel?

“And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed.

“Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD?

“And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.

“But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal.

“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

“And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.

“Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD.

“And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel” (1 Samuel 15:11-26).

There are those who will judge God.

There are many who are, in their own minds, more “righteous” than God Himself. There are those who can never bring themselves to see the REAL Jesus Christ as a vengeful, angry, returning, conquering KING, who will WAGE WAR (Revelation 19:11-20).

They should ponder the question: “If the situation were reversed, and if it were Muslims who were attacking a nation of “infidels” they call “the Great Satan,” would they be carefully attempting to destroy only the leadership, while avoiding, even at great human cost in loss of lives to themselves, any “collateral damage?”

You need only envision Islamic armies advancing on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to come up with the obvious answer.

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