THE US — SPREADING TOO THINLY?
As the United States and its allies continue to struggle to bring about a resolution in Iraq, many leading experts warn that there are not enough “boots” on the ground. They caution that America must provide more soldiers, more money and a much greater commitment to this effort if there is to be any success. USA Today reported on August 27, that “Iraq will need tens of billions of dollars in contributions from overseas in the next year to fund the reconstruction effort,” according to the top U.S. civil administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer. The article continued, “Bremer said it would cost $2 billion just to meet current electrical demand and an estimated $16 billion over four years to deliver clean water to all Iraqis. The figures, which must be added to the $4 billion the Pentagon spends each month on military operations in Iraq, offer the latest evidence that the price of the Iraqi occupation is growing substantially.”
In addition, American soldiers are being killed in Iraq almost on a daily basis. More American soldiers have already died in Iraq since the end of combat, than while in combat. When the war broke out, Germans were quoted as saying: “They are now spending billions of dollars to blow Iraq to pieces, and then they will spend billions of dollars to rebuild it. What insanity!”
In the meantime, China is hosting a conference concerning North Korea. Along with Russia, efforts are being made to ease this potential powder keg. For their part, the North Koreans are playing nuclear blackmail in an attempt to establish a more friendly relationship with the United States and Japan. In answer to this threat, the U.S. is planning a “war game” that will specifically prepare its navy to interdict the export of weapons from countries such as North Korea. USA Today commented on Wednesday, “Policy experts see no good solutions. A diplomatic breakthrough is unlikely; a war on the peninsula would be so destructive as to be unthinkable; and regional diplomats warn that the status quo is unsustainable.”
Then, there is still Afghanistan. As USA Today reported on Wednesday, “American and Afghan forces killed about a dozen insurgents Wednesday and recaptured a mountain pass in southeastern Afghanistan — the scene of heavy fighting and U.S. bombardments this week.” The article continued, “The battles follow a series of strikes by suspected Taliban against Afghan police and government officials in recent weeks, particularly in the south and the east of the country. The assaults have created new doubts about how much progress has been made by the U.S.-led effort to secure and rebuild the war-battered nation.”
As if all of this was not enough bad news, it even gets worse for the U.S. Der Spiegel Online reported on August 27 that, according to the “Congressional Budget Office,” the government deficit will likely have grown by 2013 to 5.8 trillion dollars — even if the U.S. economy were to show great progress within the next five years.
The United States now finds itself in a role that is clearly headed for disaster! With more and more “hot spots” presumably requiring U.S. involvement, the tasks will eventually overwhelm America’s resources. That these international quagmires are draining the might and the will of countries like Great Britain and the United States relates directly to their national character and to their sins which are separating them from God’s blessings.
Long ago God warned the people of Israel and their eventual descendants that He would punish them if they rejected Him and His ways. These warnings can be found in Deuteronomy 28 and in Leviticus 26, but note this scripture in particular: ” ‘I will break the pride of your power…’ ” (Leviticus 26:19). Unless our nations who have been so richly blessed by God turn back to following His ways, the dire warnings of national punishment will come about in ever increasing fulfillment–until we truly do repent!
Reports from Rene Messier:
Memo, dated August 22, 2003, 7:40PM:
Our power, phone etc. has been out since 4:00PM this afternoon. I do not know if it will go out again. This was caused by a fire south of here. So far 15 homes were burnt in the Kelowna area and the fires are affecting 10,000 people. We are OK but it is smoky by the lake. This is the worst this province has had to go through. Some facts: 850 fires now burning, 673 caused by lightning, 177 by people. 1615 square kilometers have been burnt since April 1. 3450 people are fighting the fires, cost per day $6,000,000.00 — and rising since the fires are getting bigger. We are presently the only ones in the area with power.
Memo, dated August 22, 2003, 8:53PM:
Our daughter just called from Kelowna and informed us that 30,000 people are now directly affected by the fire in East Kelowna. They are either evacuated or on the alert. She was crying because she said it was so awful.
Memo, dated August 23, 2003, 8:23PM:
It has been a quiet day, winds have died down and the fire has been easier to work on by the crews. The official count of homes burnt is 203, with 26,000 evacuated and 16,000 on notice. The fire south of us is moving in the mountains, not populated so no one is in danger at this time.
Memo, dated August 27, 2003, 8:19PM:
In the last few days people were allowed back to their homes — except for 6500 which are still not able to go home because of potential danger. The fire in the north — near Kelowna — is still not contained, but it is burning away from populated areas. The fire south of here is burning south-east. Some people have been evacuated, but I know of no homes burned. The count of homes burnt in the Kelowna area and south of Kelowna is just over 250. The smoke in the air has subsided and it looks promising at this point in having both these fires contained soon.
GERMANY AND ISRAEL
The following includes experts from a speech by Joschka Fischer, Germany’s Foreign Minister, on receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Haifa, Israel, on 29 May 2002. The speech was published in its entirety by the German Federal Foreign Office on May 29, 2002. Mr. Fischer’s comments made over a year ago appear as relevant today, as they were then:
“… Germany, my country, cannot separate itself from its history, cannot leave it behind, cannot forget it. It is our history. We have no other. And responsibility for Auschwitz, for the genocide against German and European Jews, that horrific crime against humanity, is forever part of our history. German democracy has accepted this historical and moral responsibility. The very special relationship between democratic Germany and the State of Israel, which began with Konrad Adenauer and David Ben Gurion, is based on this. The people of Israel can trust in democratic Germany as a reliable friend and partner, both today and in the future. That is not a question of changing political conditions. It is and will be a permanent and solid feature of German politic…
“The responsibility for our history does not vanish or disappear. I am ashamed when Jewish Germans have the feeling that they are left alone again. And I am even more ashamed when German Jews today seriously discuss whether is was not a mistake to stay and live in Germany. This must never happen again, not in democratic Germany. Therefore, the question whether Jews are safe and feel ‘at home’ in Germany is the crucial question of credibility for our German democracy. A question which we Germans have to ask ourselves time and again…
“Our own history teaches us: all forms of anti-Semitism have to be met with our determined opposition. What Hitler and the Nazis did to German Jews, they did first and foremost to Germans, Germans of the Jewish faith. The Holocaust monument in Berlin will also be a symbol of this tremendous loss which is still so painfully felt in my country and its culture…
“We Germans not only have a historical obligation here but also, as Germans and Europeans, our own security interests. We are direct neighbors of the Middle East. War and peace in this region affect us directly, and for that reason we also feel compelled to help the peace process in your region for very egoistical reasons. We regard the current situation with great concern. For many months now, the hope, indeed the expectation, of a substantial peace settlement has given way to new rounds of terror and violence. This week a year ago I was witness to the horrific attack on the “Dolphinarium” during my visit to Tel Aviv. I witnessed the horror and the anger provoked here in Israel by this carefully calculated terror. I do not know how many times since then I have seen television images of new attacks — also here in Haifa only a few weeks ago. Images of horror and grief and of desperate relatives – and then, time and again, images of innocent victims also on the Palestinian side…
“What will the road to such a peace settlement look like? How can we move closer to this goal? One thing seems to me to be more certain than ever: there is no viable military solution. Only a political agreement can bring and guarantee lasting security and peace…
“The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Coalition has a wonderful programmatic statement, which I want to quote in concluding my speech this morning: ‘We are each other’s most important allies in the struggle for peace.’ We should never forget that you don’t have to make peace with your friends, but with your enemies. Just like war, peace begins in the minds of people. Peace begins with the recognition of and respect for the dignity of my enemy.
“Thank you. Shalom.”
TEMPLE MOUNT COMPOUND REOPENED
The WorldNetDaily reported on August 26, 2003, about a clash between Israeli police with Muslims on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem after the compound was reopened to Christians and Jews. The article continued: “Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat ordered the site closed to non-Muslim visitors when riots erupted between police and Muslim worshippers a day after Ariel Sharon, now the Israeli prime minister, visited in September 2000 — a visit Arafat used to rationalize the current terrorist uprising, or intifada, that has resulted in more than 5,000 casualties… Last week the Israeli government announced it would reopen the complex to Jewish and Christian visitors for two hours every morning. The Waqf, or Muslim council, which oversees day-to-day affairs at the compound objected, complaining it was not consulted… The compound is known to Jews and Christians as the Temple Mount, having been the site of two Biblical Jewish temples. To Muslims it is the Haram al-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary. Within the complex is the Dome of the Rock, or Al Aqsa mosque.”