Prime Minister Maliki is a good guy, a good man with a difficult job, and I support him. And it's not up to politicians in Washington, D.C. to say whether he will remain in his position -- that is up to the Iraqi people who now live in a democracy, and not a dictatorship.You may have heard that sound bite in the news earlier this week, as the news outlets reported on President Bush's speech to the VFW in Kansas City. It apparently was the only "newsworthy" comment he made that day, because I haven't heard any other comment on the speech.
The speech, in its entirety, was an excellent history lesson on the difficult justification of our recent US wars, at the time they were being engaged, and the outcomes, both good and bad, of each. Unfortunate that the press doesn't share with us this part of the speech...
I want to open today's speech with a story that begins on a sunny morning, when thousands of Americans were murdered in a surprise attack -- and our nation was propelled into a conflict that would take us to every corner of the globe.The President then goes on to draw parallels between our current conflict and its predecessors, beginning with our commitment and sacrifice in WWII. And he reminds us...
The enemy who attacked us despises freedom, and harbors resentment at the slights he believes America and Western nations have inflicted on his people. He fights to establish his rule over an entire region. And over time, he turns to a strategy of suicide attacks destined to create so much carnage that the American people will tire of the violence and give up the fight.
If this story sounds familiar, it is -- except for one thing. The enemy I have just described is not al Qaeda, and the attack is not 9/11, and the empire is not the radical caliphate envisioned by Osama bin Laden. Instead, what I've described is the war machine of Imperial Japan in the 1940s, its surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, and its attempt to impose its empire throughout East Asia.
At the outset of World War II there were only two democracies in the Far East -- Australia and New Zealand. Today most of the nations in Asia are free, and its democracies reflect the diversity of the region. Some of these nations have constitutional monarchies, some have parliaments, and some have presidents. Some are Christian, some are Muslim, some are Hindu, and some are Buddhist. Yet for all the differences, the free nations of Asia all share one thing in common: Their governments derive their authority from the consent of the governed, and they desire to live in peace with their neighbors.This freedom fosters an environment in which Christianity has an opportunity to be shared, even alongside the predominate faiths of each country. And as long as His Word is shared, we know that He will prevail.
Especially relevant is the President's discourse on the of post-war Japan.
There are other critics, believe it or not, that argue that democracy could not succeed in Japan because the national religion -- Shinto -- was too fanatical and rooted in the Emperor. Senator Richard Russell denounced the Japanese faith, and said that if we did not put the Emperor on trial, "any steps we may take to create democracy are doomed to failure." The State Department's man in Tokyo put it bluntly: "The Emperor system must disappear if Japan is ever really to be democratic."Lord, help our President and his team disseminate their insight to our country, and help our brothers and sisters receive these lessons in the spirit of Hope. For while we place all our trust in You, we know that You act in accordance with Your plan and our faithfulness. And that our efforts in faith will reap the rewards of our hope.
Those who said Shinto was incompatible with democracy were mistaken, and fortunately, Americans and Japanese leaders recognized it at the time, because instead of suppressing the Shinto faith, American authorities worked with the Japanese to institute religious freedom for all faiths. Instead of abolishing the imperial throne, Americans and Japanese worked together to find a place for the Emperor in the democratic political system.
And the result of all these steps was that every Japanese citizen gained freedom of religion, and the Emperor remained on his throne and Japanese democracy grew stronger because it embraced a cherished part of Japanese culture. And today, in defiance of the critics and the doubters and the skeptics, Japan retains its religions and cultural traditions, and stands as one of the world's great free societies.
Lord, we pray that our brothers and sisters in Iraq see the spark of freedom through our soldiers, contractors, and volunteers, and that they in turn receive that spark and kindle it into a blazing righteousness of indignation of the terror that has been imposed on them. And that they will rise up to cast off Satan in his all his ways, and that they and their children will ultimately find peace in You.
Sir Chuck, in Awe of God's Leadership