Daily Wisdom

December 25, 2007

Keeping Watch By Night



And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. --Luke 2:8

On this Christmas Day, there are Americans "in that region" of the world, "out in the field", and "keeping watch by night". May God Bless all of those who serve our country far from home and family. During this sacred season, let us be reminded that there are those who put themselves in harm's way that we might enjoy the blessings of freedom and liberty.

Dear Lord, keep them safe we pray, and bring them home to us quickly. Lord, bring peace to that region of the world. Lord, remind us that there is One who keeps watch over us all during this dark night of exile. Come soon Lord Jesus...

Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and for evermore. --Isaiah 9:7


5 Comments:

At 12/26/2007 1:39 AM , Blogger camojack said...

Nice parallel...and beautiful sentiment.

 
At 12/26/2007 6:38 AM , Blogger Beerme said...

Merry Christmas my friend!

 
At 12/26/2007 9:35 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Thanks guys... and Merry Christmas to you too.

 
At 1/05/2008 5:47 PM , Anonymous West Coast Liberal said...

These comments of yours are nothing short of HYPOCRITICAL given what you had written before on people on the left ignoring the news on military progress in Iraq. Your comments are a textbook example of the vast hypocrisy and deceit that permeates conservatives.

In order for the troops to return home, the Malaki-led government has to reach a comprehensive political solution that units Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds. This is something virtually everyone of all political stripes agrees on.

As it is right now, the progress towards that goal is, at best, minimal. At worst, non-existent. Why are some on the left ignoring the military success on the ground? Because the ONLY measure of success that truly counts is when US troops can come home to their loved ones without Iraq going up in flames.

As it is, the result so far point to nothing short of an abysmal failure.

 
At 1/06/2008 5:49 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

WCL,
Forgive me for asking, but what, pray tell, do you find so "HYPOCRITICAL"? No wait, let me try to guess...

On this Christmas Day, there are Americans "in that region" of the world, "out in the field", and "keeping watch by night". Is that it? Have I ever suggested that there were NOT Americans over there? Maybe that's not what you were referring to...

May God Bless all of those who serve our country far from home and family. Have I ever suggested that God should NOT bless those who serve our country? OK, maybe that wasn't it either...

During this sacred season, let us be reminded that there are those who put themselves in harm's way that we might enjoy the blessings of freedom and liberty. Have I ever suggested that Christmastime is NOT a sacred season? Or, that Americans do NOT put themselves in harm's way? Have I ever suggested that I do NOT appreciate our military forces who provide we Americans with liberty and freedom? OK, maybe we haven't gotten to it yet...

Dear Lord, keep them safe we pray, and bring them home to us quickly. OK, maybe this is it. (sarcasm=ON) I'm sure that I must have said a prayer in a previous article where I asked God to kill and maim as many of our troops as possible, right? I'm sure I must have prayed that God would keep our troops in an Iraqi hell-hole for as LONG as possible, right? (sarcasm=OFF)

Or, perhaps you are suggesting that it is hypocritical of me to pray for the safety of our troops or to pray for their quick return, while on the other hand I have rejected bringing them home too precipitously? Well sorry, but that my friend, is NOT hypocritical at all. Why do I say that? Consider what you know about me...

You know that I am a Christian. You know that I believe in God. You know that I believe in prayer. You also know that I am a conservative. You know I support the Global War on Terror. You know I believe that the war in Iraq is a part of the War on Terror. You know I believe that what we are doing in Iraq is correct, and honorable, and now succeeding. You've heard me say that America's military is an all-volunteer force, and that many of those who serve in Iraq joined up after 9/11. You've heard me say that regardless of how we got into Iraq, we must not leave too precipitously. You've heard me reject the claims of people like you and Elroy that we have lost the war in Iraq. Correct?

Ponder this then... I am asking God (in whom I believe), through prayer (in which I believe), to bless and protect our troops (whom I admire), while performing their duties (following orders), for which they have volunteered (and for which I am grateful), to complete a mission (which I believe is correct & honorable), as part of a Global War on Terror (which I support), the aim of which is to provide security in America and any other country that supports the GWOT (which is something I want). I am also asking God (in whom I believe), through prayer (in which I believe), to bring home our troops (who are honorable), as quickly as possible (but without jeopardizing the mission). I don't see any hypocrisy there, do you?

Lord, bring peace to that region of the world. Now, you may suggest that I am hypocritical to ask God for peace when the U.S. brought war to Iraq. But let's be honest. Was there peace in the Middle East ("that region of the world") before the U.S. went into Iraq? No, there wasn't. There wasn't even peace in Iraq. In reality when we invaded Iraq on March 19, 2003, we were still in a state of "cease-fire" (i.e., A temporary cessation or suspension of hostilities). And according to the Joint Resolution for the Use of Force in Iraq, Saddam was "in direct and flagrant violation of the cease-fire". So, no hypocrisy there.

And is it hypocritical to have a desire for peace even when it does not appear imminent? No, it is merely an expression of hope (which I happen to have a bit of). And since you probably know that I believe in "peace through strength", it would follow then that an application of increased strength might result in a better chance for peace in the long run, (which in fact seems to be happening following the 'surge'). So, no hypocrisy there.

Lord, remind us that there is One who keeps watch over us all during this dark night of exile. The "One" of whom I speak is the "triune" God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (in whom I happen to believe). The "exile" of which I speak is our exile from the earthly presence of Jesus Christ (whom I believe to be the Son of God) and His Kingdom on earth. I believe that I am a part of Christ's "spiritual" Kingdom, but when He returns, I believe that He will establish a "literal" Kingdom here on earth. Thus, the call for Jesus to come soon and the quote from Isaiah suggesting that peace will never be truly universal until Christ sets up his earthly government (which statement I happen to believe). It's from the Bible (which book I happen to strongly believe in). So, no hypocrisy there either.

I just can't figure out where I'm being hypocritical. Please show me
where I've gone wrong.
_________________________

Now, to your next statements...

In order for the troops to return home, the Malaki-led [sic] government has to reach a comprehensive political solution that units [sic] Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds. This is something virtually everyone of all political stripes agrees on. Well, I don't know if I agree with that statement. I would argue that in order for the troops to return home, there has to be a stable, viable "situation" in Iraq. It would be nice if the Maliki-led government could reach a "comprehensive political solution", but I don't know if it's absolutely necessary. You are suggesting that the only workable solution is one that is imposed "top-down". That's not surprising, coming from a liberal/socialist like yourself. But unlike you, I see an alternative which is more in keeping with democracy; that is, a grass-roots movement which is grown "bottom-up" (a more typical view for a conservative like myself).

The Sunni "Awakening Movement" in Iraq has in fact generated a lot of reconciliation from the bottom-up. The NY Times on Friday, January 4th had an article about Iraqi Shi-ite leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim praising the Sunni Awakening Councils on Thursday before a large gathering of Shia followers. The NY Times reporter described his comments as "surprisingly conciliatory remarks". Consider for a moment the following scenario: peace among Iraqis works its way up from the local level up to the national level; the politicians at the national level continue to bicker amongst themselves while no one else does; the national politicians who are now in office were elected from a slate of almost total "unknowns"; new elections are held and the Maliki government is removed; new people are elected who actually represent the people at the local level; the reconciliation process which started at the local level now continues at the national level.

As it is right now, the progress towards that goal is, at best, minimal. At worst, non-existent. You were right the first time... it is "minimal" versus non-existent. Here are some bright spots...

"On October 3, 2007, the Iraqi Council of Representatives (CoR) passed an amendment to the Unified Retirement Law. This law allows former civil servants to combine years of public service with those while in the private sector and has the potential to advance reconciliation by allowing former regime elements (i.e., Sunni Ba'athists) to retire and draw pensions (from a Shiite-dominated government). While the law was returned to the CoR to address concerns from the Presidency Council, it was finally passed on November 19, 2007...

"Additionally, the Accountability and Justice Law (de-Ba'athification reform) was introduced into the CoR and has received its first and second reading...

"The package of hydrocarbon laws awaiting action by the CoR has the potential to promote political unity by implementing a legal and regulatory framework that maximizes the value of the nation's oil and gas resources while ensuring that all Iraqis benefit equitably from hydrocarbon revenues. While there is, at present, a de facto sharing of the revenue from Iraq's hydrocarbon resources, it is important that legislation be enacted to codify the joint administration of these resources by the central government and regional and provincial governments as well as the specific revenue sharing formulas."

Why are some on the left ignoring the military success on the ground? Because the ONLY measure of success that truly counts is when US troops can come home to their loved ones without Iraq going up in flames. I would disagree with that statement whole-heartedly. First of all, many on the left are ignoring the military success on the ground because: a) they don't want to give credit of any kind to George W. Bush out of sheer hatred, b) they previously said the war was "lost", and do not now want to admit that they were wrong, c) they are running their campaigns on a platform of "change", but nobody wants to "change" from success, d) they are invested in defeat, and e) they are practicing partisan politics.

Second, I would disagree that "when US troops can come home" is the "ONLY" measure of success. It may be one measure of success, but it is far from the "ONLY" measure of success. For example, we still have troops in South Korea and if those troops left tomorrow, there is no guarantee that South Korea wouldn't "go up in flames" with a North Korean invasion. Would you consider the presence of US troops in South Korea an indication of US failure? Think carefully before you say "yes". The presence of US troops in South Korea has: a) prevented an invasion from the North, b) allowed South Korea to establish a democratic government, unlike the dictatorship to the North, and c) allowed South Korea to prosper, unlike the failure of communism in the North.

As it is, the result so far point [sic] to nothing short of an abysmal failure. Again, I completely disagree. An "abysmal failure" in Iraq would consist of: a) a complete military rout of US forces, or b) no measurable progress against Al-Qaeda in Iraq, or c) violence and bloodshed continuing to spiral out of control (versus reductions of 60-80%), or d) the Iraqi government begging the US to leave, or e) the Iraqi government asking the UN to intervene on their behalf against the US. There is no way that you can consider the current situation there an "abysmal failure". The most you can say is that the previous US military strategy was not working and it took the Pentagon way too long to recognize it and change it to the one that is now working.

 

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