Who Won?

Israel and Hezbollah both claimed victory. One of them is dead wrong.
From the October 2006 Trumpet Print Edition

The noise and blaze of war engulfed the Middle East for 34 days in July and August before settling down under a fragile cease-fire. Both sides immediately claimed victory. Hezbollah’s leader crooned, “We are today before a strategic, historic victory, without exaggeration.” Israel’s leader boasted, “[T]he [Israeli Defense Forces] warriors always had the upper hand.” America’s leader concurred: “Hezbollah suffered a defeat in this crisis.”

These versions of this war cannot both be true. Events will soon put the lie to one of them, as it becomes clear whether Israel or Hezbollah took the hardest hit and grew most vulnerable.

But even the facts of what really happened during those 34 days reveal much.

Hezbollah proved its mastery of the missile attack, firing 4,000 rockets in 34 days. Israel proved itself helpless to stop them; the fiercer Israel’s retaliation, the heavier the rockets came.

Hezbollah garnered the sympathies of the press and the international community, taking on legendary heroic status among Muslims worldwide. Israel became almost universally condemned for defending itself; the world branded its offensive—which was so restrained the enemy never seemed even daunted—as “disproportionate and excessive.”

Syria and Iran, Hezbollah’s sponsors, despite all the funding, training, weaponry, tactical support and manpower they supplied, emerged after 34 days without having suffered even a whiff of punishment. Israel, on the other hand, looks like it is due for another trying political shake-up at the highest levels.

Who won? In many ways, the war couldn’t have gone worse for Israel—nor better for Hezbollah, Syria and Iran, and the general forces of Islamist extremism.

The gravity of this historic moment can hardly be overstated. The Israel of wars past—winning decisive, lightning-fast victories over multiple Arab states—has been visibly replaced by an Israel that failed to defeat a fighting force of only a few thousand well-prepared terrorists.

Step back and you see that, for Israel, this is but a step on the road to ruin.

A Tough Year

The last 12 months have been a chamber of horrors for the Jewish state.

It was only last summer that Israel undertook the painful project of forcibly evacuating all Jewish presence from the Gaza Strip. In return for gifting the Palestinians this territory, Israelis were treated to the sight of Palestinian terrorist rallies and marches of celebration and victory, with masked gunmen firing assault rifles into the air and burning Israeli and American flags. The different groups made clear their commitment not to disarm but rather to move their armed struggle against Israel to its next battleground: Jerusalem.

Just months later, the entire political scene in the region flipped on its head. In January, Israel’s government plunged into disarray when the nation’s stalwart leader, Ariel Sharon, suffered a massive stroke. Hints of conspiracy still linger concerning what may have triggered this event. His vacant office was filled by Ehud (“we are tired of fighting, tired of winning”) Olmert. The same month, the terrorist group Hamas (“jihad is our path and dying as martyrs for the sake of Allah is our biggest wish”) won an election to become the political voice of Palestinians.

Ashes from that political explosion have been settling on the landscape ever since. The government has continued to deal with Palestinian suicide bombers blowing themselves up in Israel’s streets and residential areas. Gaza, flooded with terrorist weapons and manpower since Israel vacated, has served as a staging ground for Palestinian terrorist groups and a launching pad for their rockets. In June, Hamas tunneled into Israel and attacked an Israeli military post, killing two soldiers and taking one captive. And in the background, through it all, has been the voice of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, issuing weekly or daily pronouncements about wiping Israel out or moving it to Europe; about overrunning Israel and the United States with tens of thousands of martyrs; about obtaining nuclear technology that could easily become nuclear weapons; about hastening cataclysmic world war in order to bring about the return of the messiah of Islam.

How can such a crushing litany of crises not take its toll on a nation’s outlook—even its will to survive? In March, a study showed 63 percent of Israelis willing to give up parts of Jerusalem in exchange for “real peace” with the Palestinians—with 75 percent of those open to such concessions admitting that real peace with the Palestinians is impossible. Evidently war-weariness and simple logic don’t coexist easily.

As Israel jadedly hoped for an end to the trouble, its enemies took this as their cue to ramp up its troubles even more.

Starting a War

On July 12, Iran unleashed Hezbollah. The terrorist group, camped out on Israel’s northern frontier, captured two Israeli soldiers and ignited a rocket campaign against Israeli towns and cities. The fact quickly became painfully clear that Hezbollah had meticulously planned for the resulting war.

From the beginning, Hezbollah’s strategy was tactically defensive. Dr. George Friedman analyzed it this way: “The group created a network of fortifications in southern Lebanon that did not require its fighters to maneuver and expose themselves to Israeli air power. Hezbollah stocked those bunkers so fighters could conduct extended combat without the need for resupply. It devolved command to the unit level, making it impossible for a decapitation strike by Israel to affect the battlefield. … Hezbollah acquired anti-tank weapons from Syria and Iran that prevented Israeli armor from operating without prior infantry clearing of anti-tank teams” (August 15). In essence, it was a war of survival, perfectly calibrated to exploit Israel’s weaknesses and force it into just the kind of high-casualty conflict Prime Minister Olmert had hoped to avoid. Apparently Hezbollah had been taking notes during his “we are tired of winning” speech and had sought a way to indulge him with an opportunity to experience losing.

The sophistication of Hezbollah’s weaponry was also impressive. A few examples tell the story. Israel was supposedly surprised to learn on July 14, when an Israeli missile boat off the Lebanese coast was almost sunk, that Hezbollah possessed a radar-guided c-802 anti-ship missile that Iran had acquired from China. One of the anti-tank weapons Dr. Friedman mentioned above has a greater range than that of Israel’s anti-tank weapons. Hezbollah rockets reached as far as the town of Afula, about seven miles south of Nazareth; Israeli Defense Forces claim they were Fajr-5 rockets, which have a 200-pound warhead (double that of the Fajr-3 rockets that hit Haifa, further north) and a 45-mile range. And one cannot ignore the sheer volume of rockets Hezbollah’s warriors launched: 4,000 in 34 days—enough to fire them almost indiscriminately (as the Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Henninger wrote, they used “unguided artillery Katyusha rockets like bullets”)—and there is the awful possibility that even more powerful armaments have been kept in reserve.

In this round of war, however, Hezbollah wanted only to avoid defeat—something no enemy of Israel has ever managed to do. In that respect, it scored a great triumph. Hezbollah successfully launched and survived Israel’s longest war since the War of Independence in 1948, proving itself a more formidable enemy—at least, to the Israel of today—than all the Arab states Israel has ever faced.

War Weariness

By itself, any single war of the type Israel waged with Hezbollah would tax the resources and capabilities of any government. Trouble is, Israel is dealing with a whole handful of such problems: threats from Gaza, internal terrorist groups, Syria, Iran and elsewhere. Of all the crises it has faced since becoming a state in 1948, it has never seen so many simultaneously.

Israeli leaders and citizens simply cannot continue to operate under such pressure without the onset of severe political and mental fatigue—which gives birth to other problems such as national disunity, lack of willpower and internal conflicts.

With lethal missiles arbitrarily dropping from the sky, Israelis in northern Israel hid and fled. The streets lay deserted as a million people holed up in shelters and over 300,000 flooded south, seeking refuge with relatives or in hotels. The government even offered state-sponsored four-day holidays to northerners, a project Olmert described as being “without precedent in the history of the State of Israel.”

In past wars, Israelis have shown considerable resolve in staying put despite such threats. Associated Press, which called this characteristic stoicism as a “traditional Israeli resistance to mass flight by its citizens in the face of war,” commented that “a month of war and thousands of Hezbollah rockets appear to have ended that stigma” (August 8).

One can hardly fault people for running from danger—in this case, a heavy, steady rain of rockets being launched by terrorists. Unfortunately, however, the sight of 300,000 Israelis on the run unquestionably strengthened Hezbollah’s reputation in the Muslim world. And running isn’t a viable response to rocket attacks for long, considering how tiny Israel is. There simply aren’t many hiding places.

The physical flight was matched by an intellectual flight. Though Israelis flocked to support their government’s actions against Hezbollah early on, a month of war exposed cracks in Israel’s unity and resolve. Voices of protest over the ground campaign began to emerge from leading intellectuals and politicians; the numbers at antiwar protests started to swell. As Israeli casualties mounted and images of bloodied and dirty soldiers saturated media reporting on the war, it became more apparent that many Israelis are simply tired of the fighting.

“We are getting lost in pursuit of a victory that is not there,” wrote mainstream columnist Nahum Barnea in the Yediot Aharonot daily. “There is no point investing in a lost cause,” he wrote, urging Olmert to “take what they’re offering you … and run.”

At the same time, the fractures that became evident among the citizenry were magnified within the leadership.

Divided Leadership

Though the Israeli government has traditionally seen politicians across all party lines (and there are a lot of those in Israel) pull together in time of war, during this recent war, however, politicians and military leaders sparred so violently over strategy that Israel Insider’s Jonathan Ariel wrote, “Relations between the country’s political and military leadership are at the lowest point in the country’s history, on the verge of a crisis” (August 9).

Ariel was commenting on a dramatic shake-up the previous day in the Israeli Defense Forces (idf), when Northern Command Chief Maj. Gen. Udi Adam was abruptly replaced by Deputy idf Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Moshe Kaplinksy—an awkward and radical change of command in the middle of a war. Some viewed Adam as a scapegoat sacrificed to deflect criticism from leaders higher up. Adam himself remarked that he had been restrained from fighting a truly effective war.

“According to informed sources, there is an almost total breakdown in trust and confidence between the General Staff and [Olmert’s] office,” Ariel wrote. He described a war plan the Israeli military had been perfecting for some two to three years—a swift, multifaceted offensive intended to break Hezbollah in 10 to 14 days—of which Olmert ditched all but certain components of the air attack. “Whatever his reasons, the bottom line, according to these military sources, is that [Olmert] castrated the campaign during the crucial first days” (emphasis mine).

Knowing what we know of Olmert, the fact that a disconnect quickly emerged between him and the military leaders is unsurprising. He was made prime minister by a slim percentage of Israeli voters after having campaigned on a pledge to extract tens of thousands of Jews from West Bank settlements. After winning, he made this inane declaration to Palestinian leaders: “We are ready to compromise, to give up parts of the beloved land of Israel … and evacuate, under great pain, Jews living there, in order to create the conditions that will enable you to fulfill your dream and live alongside us.” His speech last June—“We are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies”—is not exactly the kind of language that fires up the troops for the lethal business of war-making.

Olmert’s jettisoning of the idf’s functional strategy was simply another manifestation of the same wishful thinking that makes the idea of retreating from the West Bank so attractive to him. Ariel continued, “[A]ccording to military sources, Israel finds itself getting bogged down by a manifestly inferior enemy due to the limitations placed on the idf by the political leadership. This has been construed by the enemy as a clear sign that Israel is in the hands of a leadership not up to the task, lacking the required experience, guts and willpower.”

As the UN-mandated cease-fire came into effect on August 14, voices within Israel descended upon the prime minister in crushing condemnation—even demanding he leave office. Haaretz columnist Ari Shavit, for example, wrote, “There is no mistake Ehud Olmert did not make this past month. He went to war hastily, without properly gauging the outcome. He blindly followed the military without asking the necessary questions. He mistakenly gambled on air operations, was strangely late with the ground operation, and failed to implement the army’s original plan, much more daring and sophisticated than that which was implemented. And after arrogantly and hastily bursting into war, Olmert managed it hesitantly, unfocused and limp. He neglected the home front and abandoned the residents of the north. He also failed shamefully on the diplomatic front. … Post-war battered and bleeding Israel needs a new start and a new leader. It needs a real prime minister” (August 11).

Sadly, however, Israel has no strong leaders to fill the office—certainly none that voters appear ready to rally around. It appears the nation is about to be plunged into yet another political imbroglio—something that will only embolden Israel’s enemies all the more.

Considering the stark contrast between Israel’s impotence against Hezbollah and Israel’s past victories, the most monumental outcome of the war was this: In the minds of Muslims, it evaporated Israel’s air of invincibility.

Hezbollah called Olmert’s bluff, and Israel lost. Decades of decisive Jewish ascendancy over Arab foes melted into ancient history, mere myth. The sense of Israel’s military pre-eminence shattered into a thousand shards. To Muslims, the unthinkable became viable; the impossible, inevitable.

The door is open for the next attack.

A Broader War

In one sense, speaking of this 34-day war as a victory for Hezbollah is misleading. Why? Because it was not an end in itself. Hezbollah’s missiles were less about killing Israelis than about laying the groundwork for future, deadlier operations.

Truly, these rockets achieved much for the forces of Islamist extremism. They manifestly chipped away at the willpower and political, mental and physical fortitude of the Israeli government, military and people. They also helped solidify Iran’s position as the pivot of the Middle East’s balance of power. “The Iranians,” wrote Stratfor, “have taken their desire to emerge as the regional hegemon to the next level” (August 9). “Activating Hezbollah in Lebanon and exposing Israel’s weakness—when no Arab state dared to confront the Jewish state militarily—has only reinforced Iran’s ability to reconfigure the balance of power in the Middle East in favor of the Shia” (August 15). Quite a triumph for the enemies of Israel.

But you can be sure they won’t just sit around patting each other on the back for long. They drew blood—their ranks are flush with new recruits—they are eager for more. The foundation has been laid for a broader, more direct conflict. There is a distinct feeling among millions of Muslims that the time for Israel’s destruction has arrived.

Fatigued by crisis and geopolitically isolated, Israel is on the threshold of breakdown. Iran, Hezbollah and radical Islamists, on the other hand, are on the opposite end of the spectrum: They believe they are on the threshold of achieving their greatest goal. The more exhausted the Jews become, the more energized and excited their foes grow.

At the beginning of January—when Ariel Sharon was still prime minister and Israeli politics still relatively stable; when Hezbollah was quietly burrowing into Lebanon’s landscape; before Hamas had taken over the Palestinian leadership—Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote a letter to certain Trumpet subscribers in which he warned that a crisis of massive proportions could erupt in Israel by the end of 2006. “You need to watch Jerusalem as never before. We are going to see one half of that city fall very soon. It could happen this year—2006!” he wrote. Based on a prophecy in Zechariah 14:2, he outlined a specific event about to occur in Israel: the Palestinians taking half of Jerusalem.

Iran, which sponsors Hezbollah and has strong ties to Hamas, has long held the goal of taking control over the Holy City. Could developments over the past year, culminating in Hezbollah’s war with Israel, be preparations for Iran and the Palestinians to conquer half of Jerusalem?

Keep your eyes on Iran. It will be central to any crisis that occurs in Israel. “Over the years, Tehran has worked hard to position its henchmen in and around Israel,” Mr. Flurry wrote in January. “Its efforts are paying off. Hamas now controls the strategic Gaza Strip and major parts of the West Bank—and dominates Palestinian politics! Hezbollah has grown into a highly organized, well-armed, well-financed organization in neighboring Lebanon. To the south, in Egypt, the Iran-friendly Muslim Brotherhood is growing increasingly popular.

Iran has a passion to seize control of Jerusalem—and now it has Israel surrounded! The Jewish nation is being ‘besieged’ (Deuteronomy 28:52).

“Iran has surrounded and infiltrated Israel. Now the city of Jerusalem is on the verge of destruction!” Perhaps nothing demonstrates Iran’s new boldness better than its having unleashed Hezbollah in this latest war. And with Israel now being reigned in by the international community in the form of a UN cease-fire, Iran can gear up to fight another day.

The crisis in Israel is not about to end. It is about to intensify.

Everything is gearing toward Iran and radical Islamists igniting a broader, more destructive crisis in Israel, specifically Jerusalem. The Trumpet warned about it earlier this year, and now Hezbollah’s rockets have laid the groundwork for it.

The Trumpet has said it before, but it is worth repeating: Watch Jerusalem.

A Changed Region

This war altered the geopolitical reality of the Middle East in many ways.

Israel is a changed entity. It concluded 34 days of operations seeking protection from an international peacekeeping force, hoping the terrorists would oblige the UN and stop firing missiles. No longer is it the feisty, self-sufficient power of yesteryear.

Make no mistake: Any notion the Hezbollah threat has been permanently eliminated is wishful thinking. Lebanon immediately announced it would not forcefully disarm the group, expecting Hezbollah to disarm itself. The UN wasn’t even charged with the job.

The fact that Israel agreed to this weak sham of a plan shows that it has stopped looking for a long-term solution to this problem. It is content with just buying time.

The Middle Eastern Muslim world is also profoundly changed. “In Lebanon, Hezbollah has emerged as a massive political force,” wrote George Friedman. “Syria, marginalized in the region for quite a while, becomes more viable as Hezbollah’s patron. Meanwhile, countries like Jordan and Egypt must reexamine their own assumptions about Israel. And in the larger Muslim world, Hezbollah’s victory represents a victory for Iran and the Shia. Hezbollah, a Shiite force, has done what others could not do. This will profoundly [affect] the Shiite position in Iraq—where the Shia, having first experienced the limits of American power, are now seeing the expanding boundaries of Iranian power.

“We would expect Hezbollah, Syria and Iran to move rapidly to exploit what advantage this has given them before it dissipates. This will increase pressures not only for Israel, but also for the United States, which is engaged in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in a vague confrontation with Iran. For the Israelis and the Americans, restabilizing their interests will be difficult” (op. cit.).

Israel may feel it dodged a bullet this time—but the next time is coming, and soon. Columnist Mark Steyn well summarized the greater challenge facing Israel by quoting a warning from the Irish Republican Army, after it tried and failed to kill Margaret Thatcher in the Brighton bombing: “[We] only have to be lucky once,” the terrorists said. “You will have to be lucky always.”

Cursed

Why has everything gone so wrong for the Jewish state? The Everest of crises that overshadows it cannot simply be blamed on poor strategy, weak soldiery or bad pr. Its problems preceded its present government, and they will continue even if Israelis undertake the messy business of installing a new government. Israel is at a dead end, and it simply does not have the means to free itself.

As we wrote last month about the United States (“How to Lose a War”), Israel’s basic problem is spiritual. The nation has turned its back on God, spurned His commandments, and trusted in itself. And as a result, it is now under a curse. Read Leviticus 26:15-32.

Anciently, when the people of Israel obeyed God, He would fight and win their battles for them. As Psalms 124:1-5 state, if not for God, Israel would have perished. But when Israel rejected God, it repeatedly suffered the curses of defeat and captivity.

Today, the times and dates have changed, but the story is still the same. If the Jews would only turn to God and repent of their national and personal sins, God would hear their cry and deliver them from all their enemies. That is the only durable and sustainable solution. Every humanly devised solution will prove to be just another curse.

Biblical prophecy spells out just what Israel’s immediate future will look like if it continues on its present course. God pleads, “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?”

A detailed biblical explanation of Israel’s future can be found in our free booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy.

Has a Disease for Your Problems Been Marketed Yet?

More disorders are being diagnosed than ever before. Is there actually more disease, or is the medical field just expanding the definitions of disease?
From the October 2006 Trumpet Print Edition

Mental and physical illness is a real and increasing problem in today’s society. But there is also another problem: an escalating trend to highlight a rare disease, proclaim that it affects large numbers of the population, and then prescribe medication to treat it.

Call it disease-mongering.

In the last few decades, advertising has made the public aware of such afflictions as social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, menopausal disorder, erectile dysfunction and obesity disorder. Other ailments that have been found in recent years include irritable bowel disorder, restless legs disorder and hypertension. Researchers have now even identified as a disorder “pre-hypertension,” the condition of being in danger of developing hypertension (New England Journal of Medicine, April 20).

Many people now readily accept these conditions, originally unheard of or thought of as extremely rare, as being mainstream.

Disease-mongering is a successful money-making strategy and is “being increasingly refined by the pharmaceutical industry and its colleagues in the advertising industry,” says Peter Lurie, deputy director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group (United Press International, April 10). Drug advertisements constantly bombard people with, “One in five have this illness …” or, “If someone you know or love is suffering from these symptoms …” (followed, of course, by a pitch for the miracle cure). Advertisers propose solutions to conditions you may not have even realized were problems!

According to Ray Moynihan, author of the book Selling Sickness, a classic example of disease-mongering is how pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline turned the formerly little-known “social anxiety disorder” into a huge market for its anti-depressant drug Paxil. He credits Paxil’s marketing slogan, “Imagine being allergic to people,” for expanding the drug’s sales. The Paxil website actually claims that “more than 12 million Americans suffer from this disorder in any given year” and consoles prospective clients by telling them that “some people find comfort just by learning that social anxiety disorder is a medical condition.”

In the case of bipolar disorder, a looser definition has resulted in some experts claiming that up to 10 percent of the population is affected—as opposed to the past estimation of 0.1 percent. U.S. children as young as 2 years old are being started on two or three treatment medicines, even though the classic definition of the illness says that symptoms “don’t usually show up until the teens”—not to mention that, according to Dr. Jon McClellen at the University of Washington in Seattle, “there isn’t even any evidence that any of them work in children” (Business Week, May 8).

In this diagnosis-happy climate, every complaint or tendency one might possibly have becomes a symptom of a disease.

Some physicians and health-care professionals are now speaking out against this mass-marketing of ailments. However, in terms of public awareness, their criticisms are drowned out by the infomercials equating mild or loosely related problems to symptoms associated with rare and serious disorders.

One Example: IED

A blatant example of disease-mongering has recently been publicized across America. Some medical specialists say Americans are commonly afflicted by an ailment called Intermittent Explosive Disorder (ied). They declare that it “is not the rare occurrence that psychiatrists had previously thought” (Chicago Tribune, June 6). Dr. Emil Coccaro, the University of Chicago’s chief of psychiatry, says, “Our new study suggests ied is really out there and that a lot of people have it.”

Those who agree with Dr. Coccaro claim that a recent nationwide study shows 1 in 20 (or 16 million) Americans have symptoms of ied, characterized by recurring outbursts of extreme anger and violence as seen in cases involving road-rage or spousal abuse. Their study asserts that approximately 5 percent of Americans have “physically assaulted someone, threatened bodily harm or destroyed property in a rage an average of five times a year” (ibid.). The average monetary damage resulting from these super tantrums, the study purports, averaged $1,359 per person, or about $21.7 billion nationwide—annually!

Interestingly, the ied study also showed that while diagnoses are rising among teenagers, they are much more rare among people in their 40s, and even more so among individuals over 60. “[O]lder people tell us they’ve never had it,” said Ronald Kessler, a professor of health-care policy at Harvard. It is young adults, teens and children who most often exhibit the “symptoms” of outbursts of verbal and physical violence.

Most individuals diagnosed with Intermittent Explosive Disorder report that anger episodes first occurred during childhood or adolescence, and increased rapidly in their teenage years. “In most situations, he is relatively affable, calm and very responsible,” says Jennifer Hartstein, a psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, of a newly diagnosed 16-year-old. But when in stressful situations at home, he “explodes and tears apart his room, throws things at other people”—to the point that his parents have called the police (Connecticut Post Online, June 6).

A generation ago, people would have considered this a case of a rebellious teenager throwing a temper tantrum after being punished for disobeying his parents. Today, the medical establishment labels it a “disorder” and believes it has found a biomedical fix.

Dr. Daniel Deutschmann, a psychiatrist and clinical professor at Case Western Reserve University, says he has found medicating aggressive ied patients with anti-epileptic drugs to be successful (Plain Dealer, Cleveland, June 6). Meanwhile, Coccaro believes medicines such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (ssris) and mood stabilizers should be included in treatment to “increase the threshold at which people will explode” (Ascribe Newswire, May 31).

Such treatments are recommended despite study results showing that among people classified as having this disorder, 81.8 percent were also diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and alcohol or drug abuse disorders—“disorders” that are strongly or entirely related to lifestyle choices.

Treating the ied symptoms with medication will not treat the sources of these disorders; in fact, it will probably impede the lifestyle changes that would truly improve health and well-being. By classifying temper tantrums and other supposed conditions as diseases, medical specialists are telling an affected individual that without medication, nothing can change: he or she is fated to have impulse control disorders and health problems indefinitely. What a discouraging and hopeless message!

And where does that leave people who, as in the case of ied, cannot afford the ssris, mood stabilizers or other medicines that are supposedly needed?

Denying Responsibility

Overall, this characterization of emotional outbursts and lack of self-control as symptoms of pharmaceutically treatable disease represents another major shift in thinking regarding what defines behavioral and lifestyle choices, and what defines biomedical proclivities. It also revolutionizes our ideas on what our responsibilities are to society.

Instead of teaching and training our children to control their emotions and impulses, and spending time making sure our children become stable, productive members of society, drug companies have found that people will pay for the seemingly easy, responsibility-free solution: medicating our kids. Moreover, adults are readily embracing that remedy for themselves as well.

In our society, it is acceptable to have a “disorder.” The prevailing attitude is, no one can be blamed for being sick. After all, biological problems can’t be helped.

Or can they? In reality, although much illness is caused by factors outside our control, it is our own choices that generally affect our health the most. The human body and mind was not designed by our Creator to be sick or uncontrolled.

As society searches for biomedical solutions for all its problems, it increasingly sends the message that it is all right to have symptoms of disorders—even violent impulse control problems—with the catchall excuse, “It’s because I am sick.”

That is the crux of the problem with disease-mongering: It promotes the idea that everybody has a biomedical excuse for the consequences of poor health and lifestyle choices. It absolves people of guilt for their actions and of responsibility to change the underlying cause of their problems by just taking a pill. Consequently, bad behavior gains legitimacy.

What other impulses that we do not feel like controlling will become diseases? What about crime? After all, crime has long been called an epidemic! Now, because of disorders like ied, criminal expression is actually being classified as a disease.

Americans love their quick-fix, labor-free culture—which is why they embrace pharmaceuticals. But people aren’t looking at the causes of problems—their family relationships, work habits, mental outlook, diet and so on. Changing is hard. It’s inconvenient. It is much easier to believe a pill will make everything better.

Let’s face it: New drugs are not a solution, but a mask. They will not mend the shattered lives of young children whose parents fight or separate, fill the void of a missing father or mother, teach parents how to properly rear their children, teach people the value of healthful living, or end man’s hatred toward his neighbor. Drugs will never remove the cause that has brought about the effect of physical or mental disease.

The question we should be asking is: What is causing our ills? Then the challenge is to really accept the hard answer that we are not living our lives the way God designed us to, and set our minds to fix that. That can truly give suffering individuals and their families hope.

For more reading related to this topic, request a free copy of our two booklets What Science Can’t Discover About the Human Mind, and Human Nature: What Is It?

The Newest Imperialist Power

From the October 2006 Trumpet Print Edition

During the 1800s, the world’s powers fought for control of Africa’s resources. Today the trend continues, only this time an Eastern power is quickly becoming a major African player.

Last year, trade between China and Africa jumped 36 percent to almost $40 billion, according to official Chinese figures (Financial Times, February 23). And if the flurry of high-level Chinese visits to Africa is any indication, China’s trade with the continent is set to take another huge jump this year.

So far this year, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has undertaken three African trade tours. Chinese President Hu Jintao also visited several African countries in April, while in January Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing completed an African trade trip. This November, Beijing will host a major China-Africa summit to promote trade.

This slew of activity represents China’s robust efforts to secure the raw commodities it needs for its booming manufacturing sectors. African oil and minerals have become increasingly important to China, which is in the midst of its fourth year of 10 percent economic growth.

However, China’s move into Africa has caused problems for America.

First, Chinese involvement is inhibiting U.S.-supported African regime change by supplying the continent’s dictators with financial, political and technological support. China has been more than willing to overlook human rights atrocities committed by the African governments that trade with it. “On the political front, China will not interfere in internal affairs of African countries. We believe that African countries have the right and capability to solve their own problems,” explained Wen (Xinhua, June 18).

Second, and perhaps more important, China’s thirst for raw commodities, especially oil, has put it in direct competition with the United States. Although 15 percent of America’s oil comes from Africa, a full quarter of China’s oil imports now come from that continent (Geostrategy-direct.com, August 2).

As China’s demand for oil has grown, so have its efforts to gain political influence in Africa—and its willingness to exploit the West’s queasiness over doing business with Africa’s more unsavory and unstable regimes.

China willingly supplies military equipment to Sudan in exchange for access to its vast oil fields. China commonly uses its veto power on the UN Security Council to block U.S.-led efforts to impose sanctions, which could lead to regime change and thus open Sudanese oil to the international community. A similar situation exists in Zimbabwe, where Chinese investment aimed at obtaining coal and precious metals and selling military equipment provides a lifeline to a corrupt government that has all but destroyed one of the formerly richest countries in Africa.

Consequently, China makes allies and gains a competitive advantage in parts of Africa that America will not enter.

A recent political incident highlights how China’s influence in Africa has grown. In August, the central African country of Chad announced it was switching diplomatic ties from Taiwan, a democratic U.S. ally, to China. “It’s because China’s power and influence is rising on the world stage,” said He Wenping, director of the African Studies Section at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (Agence France Presse, August 7). Today, all but five of Africa’s 53 nations recognize China as opposed to Taiwan, a situation in stark contrast to that in the 1990s. Some analysts worry that Chad’s switching back could cause a “domino effect” with the few remaining countries (ibid.).

Stephen Friedman, a senior research fellow at the Center for Policy Studies in Johannesburg, summarized the situation this way: “The West is very worried about China’s involvement in Africa. … Seeing a new superpower emerging is making it very uncomfortable” (Associated Press, August 8).

Yet, contrary to what many analysts believe, it is not America, but Europe that ultimately needs to fear China. To see what the Bible predicts concerning Europe and China, request our free booklet Russia and China in Prophecy.

Stock Market Welcomes Bad News

From the October 2006 Trumpet Print Edition

U.S. stock markets have been acting very strange of late, and economists worry this may portend serious trouble.

On July 19, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned Congress the economy was slowing down. Investors took that as a positive, and the stock market rose. On July 28, after the release of governmental statistics stating sharply lower economic growth during the second quarter, U.S. stocks again rallied strongly.

It seems strange stocks would go up in value after poor economic news. If this was an isolated incident, it could be written off as a market aberration—but it isn’t. The stock market has lately been rallying upon the release of all kinds of negative economic indicators: weaker-than-expected manufacturing activity and other figures that show a slowdown in the U.S. economy.

Economic analyst Paul van Eeden summed up the ominous market action on July 6: “The reasoning goes that a sufficient slowdown in the economy will cause the Federal Reserve to stop raising interest rates, and since higher interest rates are generally bad news for stocks, then a hiatus in rising interest rates should be good for stocks.

“You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that when the market hopes for bad economic news and interprets them as good news, something is wrong. Since when are falling retail sales good for stocks? Since when is reduced manufacturing activity good for stocks? Are stock traders so obsessed with the Fed’s next move that they forget to look at what is really going on?

“If the U.S. economy is slowing down, as confirmed by tepid retail sales and slowing manufacturing activity, then it is merely a matter of time before corporate earnings come under pressure and stock prices start falling.

“When the market becomes this shortsighted, you should know that we are in a dangerous environment. Anything can happen.”

Whether or not recent market action indicates a pending collapse remains to be seen. But given the plethora of negative economic indicators of late—the unwinding of the yen carry trade; inverted yield curves; rising inflation and interest rates; record negative personal savings rates; record trade deficits and governmental debt; a deflating housing bubble—a stock market bust looms ever larger.

Securing the Horn

Overshadowed by events in the Middle East, tensions grow off the Horn of Africa as nations vie to secure the vital marine passageway of the Red Sea.
From the October 2006 Trumpet Print Edition

Since the National Islamic Front seized power in Sudan in 1989, the United States has eyed the Horn of Africa with increasing concern. Sudan—intent on building a radical Islamist state, sympathetic to Islam’s most extreme factions such as al Qaeda—has operated as a gateway for the free movement of Islamic terror organizations throughout the Horn—a region that embraces Africa’s central north-eastern coastlands including Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea, as well as Sudan.

Over the past 13 years, terrorists have carried out a series of attacks in this region aimed at U.S. and Israeli targets. In Mogadishu, Somalia, 18 American soldiers were killed during a terrorist attack in 1993. Terrorists struck in the region again in 1998, bombing American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; these attacks killed over 200 people and injured more than 4,000. Two years later, the USS Cole was struck by terrorists in Yemen, just off Africa’s east coast, killing 17 American sailors. In November 2002, al Qaeda-supported terrorists targeted Israelis, bombing a hotel full of Jewish tourists and firing a surface-to-air missile at an Israeli airliner near Mombasa, Kenya.

The Horn of Africa is one of the most unstable regions on the planet. Ethiopia and Eritrea continue to spat over border issues. Ethiopia has troops on the ground inside Somalia to protect the country’s nominal government. This is a response to the raging factional battles within Somalia—a country that since 1991 has lacked a functional central government—as the extremist, revolutionary Islamic Courts Council (icc) movement consolidates its power over the weak, U.S.-backed Somali Transitional Federal Government (tfg). Currently, control of the country lies in the hands of various warlords, with the transitional government having little actual authority. In June this year, Islamist extremists took control of the capital, Mogadishu, and began consolidating their hold on various parts of the country, imposing strict sharia law. Reports reveal that a stream of sophisticated arms originating in Iran, Egypt and Libya is reaching the Islamic extremists. Meanwhile, in August, the fragile tfg was further destabilized when the cabinet was dissolved due to various rifts.

Sandwiched between Somaliland, Ethiopia and Eritrea, the tiny nation of Djibouti is of major strategic importance because of its harbor facilities located on the southwestern extremity of the Red Sea. France, the nation’s old colonial master, maintains a strong presence there, as does the U.S., Djibouti being America’s sole African military base. France and the U.S. remain situated in this country in an attempt to monitor and limit the spread of Islamic terrorists—the region of the Horn being a stronghold for and a crossroads between various terror groups moving north and south through the Middle East.

Should Islam gain control of south Sudan (which is currently an autonomous region) and the whole of Somalia, the scene would be set for incursions into Ethiopia—which is already over 40 percent Islamic—with the prospect of imposing an Islamic regime there. If such a situation materializes, the whole of the region bordering the eastern and western perimeters of the Red Sea could fall into extremist Islamic hands. Such a phenomenon would give the Islamic nations total control not only of the geography within which Middle Eastern oil deposits reside, but also of the vital two sea links through which much of this oil is shipped: the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea.

This situation would be untenable for the European Union, China and Japan, and unthinkable for the U.S. in terms of maintaining any semblance of global stability. Nevertheless, this is the scenario currently playing out in the Horn of Africa.

If Somalia yields to Islamic extremist rule, Ethiopia and tiny Djibouti would become the sole remaining bastions of resistance to the spread of radical Islam in the extremists’ push to engulf the Horn of Africa. Thus, the southward spread of Islamic extremism in east Africa is of tremendous concern to the major oil-consuming economies. Most crucially, that concern centers at present on extremist Islamic movements gaining traction in Somalia.

Western nations, notwithstanding the strong French and U.S. troop presence in Djibouti, remain divided in their opinions about what to do to stem the tide of Islamic extremism in Somalia, diverted as they are by ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East, not to mention North Korea’s continuing antics, the risk of recurring violence in East Timor, and the need to secure their own borders from extremist Islamic incursion.

The West has basically left Ethiopia to go it alone in demonstrating any real resistance to what amounts to an Islamic revolution within Somalia. As one source states, this has simply “allowed the icc to advance unhindered, contributed to the breakdown of the tfg and raised the probability of an armed confrontation between the icc and Ethiopia, which would be likely to generate a wave of ultra-nationalism in Somalia that would redound to the advantage of the Courts [icc] and might ignite a regional war” (Power and Interest News Report, July 18).

A regional war in the Horn of Africa would be devastating to the Western alliance. With their troops already stretched to the limit striving to enforce peace on multiple fronts and now a fresh call to supply personnel and hardware in support of an international “peacekeeping” force in the Israeli-Hezbollah imbroglio, the last thing anyone wants is a full-scale regional war in the Horn of Africa.

Yet circumstances are simply going to force the attention of the U.S., Britain and the EU onto this piece of strategic real estate. Somalia’s coastlands border one of the most crucial of the globe’s sea gates—the Gulf of Aden—giving access to the Red Sea, the waterway through which much of the Middle East’s oil is transported.

Cleverly, as part of its long-range plan to sew up control of the globe’s sea gates, China has steadily moved into this region. Already controlling Port Said, the eastern port on the Suez Canal, China is also involved in operations at Port Sudan, located at mid-point on the Red Sea’s Africa coast. China has consolidated its political role in this vital seaway by building arms factories and associated infrastructure for the Islamic government in Sudan, thus aiding that government’s efforts in the genocide of the people of Darfur, a region that impinges on important oil and gas developments in which China has an intense interest.

But there is another nation that eyes the vital sea passage stretching from Suez to Aden, linking the Mediterranean with the Indian Ocean: Germany.

Somalia has figured twice in recent times in the post-unification revival of the German armed forces. In 1994, Germany conducted its first “out of area operation” since World War ii by deploying a naval force to the Horn of Africa in support of the United Nations’ unosom mission in Somalia.

In February 2002, in the largest deployment of German naval vessels since World War ii, the German government dispatched a naval task force to the Horn on a mission that involved the securing of its waters from incursion by terrorists. The Germans stayed. In fact, with the German Navy running security off Gibraltar in the Mediterranean and also off the Horn of Africa, no vessel presently sails through these marine choke points without being under the watchful eye of Germany. This continuing presence of the German Navy at these two crucial sea gates could well, given our understanding of Bible prophecy for those regions, develop into a permanent presence for the foreseeable future. Having taken up such positions, it is highly unlikely that Germany will yield them up to any other nation.

Now, with indications that the German Navy may be called upon to ride shotgun off the coast of Lebanon, Germany’s presence in the Mediterranean, especially the Middle East coastlines, will likely be further strengthened.

Germany and its vassal federation, the European Union, can ill afford to permit the spread of Islam in Africa to interrupt their present process of recolonizing—by trade, aid and “peacekeeping” operations—the politically weak but resource-strong nations of that continent, especially the oil-rich gulf region and its crucial seaways, access to which they need for their spreading global hegemony.

As the situation heats up in Somalia, watch for German interest and involvement in the Horn to heighten.

The Sickness in Britain’s Heart

The Sickness in Britain’s Heart

CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)

The British have enabled extremist Islamism to infect their nation from within. It threatens to do them in.
From the November 2006 Trumpet Print Edition

The soldiers are microscopic, but it’s a war just the same. Under constant assault by pathogens, the human body stakes its life on the multi-layered defenses of its immune system. Every millimeter of a man is a battleground. The border guards, messengers, warriors and generals are skin, lymph, mucus, antibodies, bone marrow and hormones, each with amazingly proficient means of detecting, destroying and dispatching anything that would jeopardize the home they exist only to defend.

If this unseen militia cannot carry out its mission, germs and toxins attack the system and trigger sickness and disease. When immunity is sufficiently disabled, a person faces certain death.

Such is the sick state of Britain today.

The United Kingdom is irreparably infected with a host of pathogens cultural, moral and spiritual. Though many of these hurt the national body, one is particularly deadly: the spread within British borders of aggressive, hate-filled, violence-loving Islamist extremism.

This deep, creeping cancer has grown in Britain’s bowels for decades virtually unnoticed. But on July 7 of last year, it announced its presence suddenly, with a shock of pain: Coordinated suicide bombings killed 52 Londoners on their morning commute. A mere 13 months later, this past August, an attack many times greater—the destruction of 10 transatlantic flights leaving from London—would have slain thousands had not British and Pakistani police busted it.

What was so appalling was, the minds that hatched these murders—filled with incomprehensible, alien hate—were homegrown. In both cases, the villains who deigned to rob innocent British fathers, mothers and children of life did not come from the hot sands of the Middle East, but from the boroughs of Mother England herself. Britain’s deadliest enemies were, in fact, Britons—outgrowths of the nation’s own sickness.

Remarkably, the weak immunity that enabled this sickness to flourish has unmistakably been Britain‘s own doing. The British have systematically neutralized their own national defenses against this malignant infection, thus inviting it, even nurturing it.

A Peek at Britain’s Muslims

Of Britain’s 60.6 million people, at least 1.6 million are Muslim. The disproportionate impact of this minority can be discerned in part by the fact that Islam is Britain’s fastest-growing religion, and its second largest. More people in Britain attend a mosque each week than visit an Anglican church.

Alone, these facts speak more to the crippled state of the Church of England than to any particular threat from Islam. However, peering inside the numbers reveals some startling trends.

Among those 1.6 million British Muslims, a great number identify more with the global body of Islamic believers than with their home country. One third would rather live in the UK under Islamic law than British law, according to a Channel 4 Dispatches poll in August. That figure roughly matches a shocking one from a YouGov poll a year earlier: Almost a third of British Muslims believe that “Western society is decadent and immoral, and Muslims should seek to bring it to an end, but only by nonviolent means” (emphasis mine).

When Muslims speak of bringing Western society to an end, they are talking about making it subject to Islamic law. Nonviolent means of achieving this goal include gradually promoting the spread of Muslim customs and rituals; securing special privileges for Islamic schools, mosques and other organizations; and gradually cracking down on un-Islamic activity. They also include swelling the number of Muslims through immigration, reproduction and conversion. In Britain today, one sees bustling activity by Muslims on all these fronts.

For many, it is a small step to sympathizing with those willing to blow themselves up in subways and on airplanes. The Dispatches poll showed that almost one fourth of British Muslims—and far more among those under age 24—believe the 7/7 bombings were justified because of the British government’s support of the U.S.-led “war on terror.” Thus, the relationship between the host country and a sizable percentage of this particular minority is already an adversarial one.

And among still smaller percentages of those 1.6 million British Muslims, one finds far more toxic attitudes. The YouGov poll cited above found that 1 percent believe the West’s end should come “if necessary by violence.” That equates to at least 16,000 Muslims living in Britain who hate their country enough to want to see it come to a violent end.

In her scorching book Londonistan, author Melanie Phillips documents the unbelievable extent to which the UK has become home to the most extreme elements of Islamism in the world. Because of the freedom with which they are able to operate in Britain, numerous radical groups—including arms of al Qaeda—have planted their headquarters or significant operations there. Says Phillips, “UK-based terrorists have carried out operations in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Israel, Morocco, Russia, Spain and the United States.” Consider this list of infamous Islamists: the murderer of journalist Daniel Pearl; al Qaeda members who sought to target U.S. financial centers; the man who rammed an explosive-laden truck into police barracks in Kashmir; shoe-bomber Richard Reid; suicide bombers who blew up Israelis in a Tel Aviv bar; one of the masterminds behind two attacks in Bali. All these terrorists called England their home.

How could such monsters incubate within what is supposedly America’s strongest ally in the “war on terror”? The reasons are numerous and shocking—and deeply revealing of the nature of Britain today.

Misplaced Blame

Though the malignancy of radical Islamism is spreading in many non-Muslim nations—throughout Europe, North America and Southeast Asia in particular—in Britain the problem is uniquely bad. For its pathetic response to the incursion of militant Islam, commentator Daniel Pipes calls it the “weakest link in the Western chain.”

Official response to the July 7, 2005, terrorist attack in London provided a perfect cat scan of the advanced state of the disease. Reportage of the event quickly produced a politically correct, Islam-free version of the murders: The perpetrators were “bombers,” not “terrorists.” That they were Muslims who had been recruited at a British- and EU-government-funded Islamic youth center known for its radical politics was glossed over.

In the official account, the real victims were British Muslims, who were certain to suffer an increase in “Islamophobia” from ignorant Britons who would naturally conclude from the attack that all Muslims are evil. The deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Brian Paddick, tried to head off public mistrust of Muslims by saying, “Islam and terrorists are two words that do not go together.” The Nottinghamshire chief constable made it his top priority to deal with the problem—not by clamping down on extremism, but by pacifying the Muslim community with gestures such as ordering 20,000 green ribbons for all public officials to wear in a show of solidarity with Muslims.

Prime Minister Tony Blair created a post-7/7 advisory task force to tackle extremism “head on”—made up of the best experts on the subject the government could find: Muslims, some of whom were notorious extremists. Unsurprisingly, the task force’s recommendations entailed appeasing Muslims by bending British culture and policy into closer conformity with Islam. In essence, it pinned the blame for 7/7 not on angry Muslims, but on the state—for making Muslims angry.

That ridiculous idea lies at the core of political correctness: that a minority culture is always a victim of the majority culture—that even its crimes can be understood as having been provoked by the oppressions of the majority. During the cultural revolution of the 20th century’s later decades, Britain swallowed that toxic brew in lethal doses.

Thus, even after Islamists filled London’s public transportation with corpses, British officials read from the script, blaming not Islamism, but Islamophobia. London’s mayor, Ken Livingstone, after initially condemning the attacks, within a couple weeks was saying that the true fault lay in “80 years of Western intervention into predominantly Arab lands because of the Western need for oil.”

Yes—in Britain, one of the most widely used receptacles for pitching blame for Islamism is the war in Iraq. If only Tony Blair wasn’t George W. Bush’s poodle, 7/7 never would have happened, in other words.

The Church of England—deeply infected by liberalism and hatred of the West—put forward its recommendation for protecting Britain from another 7/7: Win the hearts of militant Muslims by prostrating before them. A group of Anglican bishops, in a September 2005 report, proposed that Britain apologize for the Iraq war. Since they didn’t expect Downing Street to do so, they agreed that the church itself should make a “public act of repentance” before Muslim leaders.

British criminologists came up with a unique explanation for what caused 7/7: that the terrorists were just trying to prove their masculinity. Presenting a paper on the subject to the British Society of Criminology, the University of Huddersfield’s Antony Whitehead explained, “It’s a very understandable dynamic. Young Muslim men in the British culture experience a lot of internalized pressure to conform to the idea of manhood—the ideal of courage and standing up for yourself. … We are coming at this from the wrong angle. We are making the assumption that it’s all about Islam.” In truth, virtually no one—at least, no one of influence—assumed it was “all about Islam”; in fact, they tied themselves in knots trying to prove their assumption that it was all about anything but Islam.

What Religion Connection?

British officials give the impression that they are far less afraid of terrorism than they are of being accused of racism or religious discrimination—hanging offenses under political correctness. Thus, they flee from anything that could be remotely construed as such. One of the most common and predictable means of proving one’s credentials as an officially tolerant person is to insist—surely if one says it loudly and often enough it must be true—that the vast majority of Muslims detest what the terrorists are doing, and that violence is anathema to the imminently peaceful religion of Islam.

It is hard to ignore the fact, however, that these statements always issue from white, non-Muslim types—never from the leaders of this supposedly vast body of “moderate” Muslims. “That a silent majority of European Muslims believed in democracy and despised terror was by now a truism,” wrote Bruce Bawer in While Europe Slept. “Observers found themselves thinking, however, that if that silent majority existed at all, it had to be one of the most silent majorities ever.” In fact, polls such as those revealing that one in 10 British Muslims supported the 7/7 attacks—that one in four sympathized with the “feelings and motives” of the attackers—that more than half could “understand” why someone would blow himself up in order to kill innocent people—belied the idea that terrorists are just crazy fringers, motivated by something entirely separate from their religion.

It is interesting that the British are so scrupulous in overlooking the patently obvious religious connection to terrorism. This is not only because they are loath to appear discriminatory, but also because theirs is a deeply secular society. Religion has been almost completely leeched out of British life. Thus, its people can only stare uncomprehendingly at a people so dedicated to and motivated by religious faith.

But by denying Islamist terrorism’s roots in religion, the British unwittingly guarantee that whatever solutions they undertake will absolutely fail to correct the problem. Setting its true causes aside, they are forced to manufacture sham causes. Having misdiagnosed the disease, they must then concoct cures for phantom diseases. As a result, their “cures” only fuel and aggravate the cancer—as much as if they tried to douse a wildfire with gasoline.

Identifying With the Jihadis

It is one thing for Islamists to blame Britain for Muslim rage—it is another for Britain to blame itself. Self-hatred is a sickness all its own. Britain has a raging case of it.

Case in point: The British establishment—including the media, particularly the bbc—is continually serving the British people a potent concoction with two noxious ingredients.

First is an absence of facts regarding the dangers of violent Islamism in Britain and abroad; much is underreported, and what is reported is often stripped of its Islamist context. For example, Prime Minister Blair’s speeches this past summer outlining his war strategy and explaining the seriousness of the danger posed by Islamism were barely reported in the British press. Daniel Johnson wrote in the New York Sun September 7, “If neither his officials, nor his political allies, nor the media are listening, how can he expect the public to hear? His message about the existential threat posed by Islamist ideology has been drowned by the din of speculation about his future.” Blair has been vilified even for what mild attempts he has taken to address the problem. Soon he will be run out of office for them. The nation is interested in other things.

Second is the incessant peddling of the message that Britain is somehow to blame for Islamist attacks on itself. Why? Because it is killing Iraqis to take their oil; because it oppresses British Muslims; because it supports the U.S., which supports Israel, which is the cause of all the world’s problems. These themes occur in various forms in print and on television ad nauseam.

A chilling truth the establishment must face is that its party line, on many specific points of doctrine, falls in lockstep with the radical Muslim view. Another way to look at it is that the Muslim worldview is measurably shaping Britain’s worldview.

Part of the reason for that is the newsmakers’ fear of provoking Muslims and stirring up violence—which in itself shows there is a serious problem that should be dealt with rather than papered over. (After all, what better proves that Islam is violent than the fact that anyone implying this is accused of provoking peaceful Muslims to become violent?) But the more insidious reason is that the leftist media and political personalities agree with many of the Muslim ideas: that the U.S. is imperialistic, that peace in the Middle East is contingent upon Israel moving somewhere else; that terrorism would stop if only coalition forces would pull out of Iraq. In fact, a majority of Britons believe these ideas. A YouGov poll conducted in June revealed that 65 percent of Britons consider Americans “vulgar,” and 58 percent see the U.S. as “an essentially imperial power, one that wants to dominate the world by one means or another.” A strong majority of Britons believe Israel used “disproportionate” force against Hezbollah in Lebanon. In these ways, the British people have more in common with Islamist extremists than with their own prime minister.

British leaders should be challenging the lies propagated by Muslims. Instead they publicize those lies—because they believe them!

As Bret Stephens wrote in the September 5 Wall Street Journal, “[W]hat really ought to terrify Britain’s leaders aren’t the conclusions that divide mainstream and Muslim Britain, but the premises that unite them. From the credence given to people like Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky, to the simplistic derision of the U.S. and the frenzied hatred of Israel, the two camps attend the same church and sing from the same hymnal.”

The irony is that, in purchasing the Islamist bill of goods regarding the evils of Western imperialism and so on, these opinion shapers are forced to overlook the evils of Islamist ideology—predominantly, that killing innocent people is a righteous act; not to mention its blatant contraventions of Western ideals such as women’s rights, monogamy and free speech.

In the end, whatever the reasons, the effect of the left’s sympathy with Islamism is the same: When people—Muslim, Christian, secularist or anything else—are endlessly flooded with such messages, they are bound eventually to have increased hostility, even rage, against the U.S. and Israel, as well as any British policy that aligns with them.

Thus, in yet another way, Britain, rather than treating its sickness, has aggravated it.

Covenant of Security

Of all the aspects of the diseased innards of British society that the nation’s collision with Islamist extremists has exposed, one of the most disgusting has been what is called its “covenant of security.”

This was revealed in the shock that British authorities registered after the 7/7 attack. Many of them simply never expected such a thing to happen there. Why? Even though they had long been aware of the bustling hive of extremist activity taking place in their midst? Even though, for decades, they had simply looked the other way? Why so shocked? In large part it was because of a sinister, tacit agreement they had made with local radicals: to leave them alone as long there were no attacks in Britain.

Melanie Phillips explains, “This bargain, or ‘covenant of security,’ had been the dirty little secret at the heart of the British government’s blind-eye policy” (op. cit.). Never mind the fact that these radicals were successfully masterminding, funding, supervising and carrying out murderous attacks in other countries. Never mind that they were actively recruiting foot soldiers for their evil acts in local mosques. As long as they didn’t do their dirtiest work at home, they could carry on.

And this from a supposed chief ally in the “war on terror”!

Disgusting. Appalling.

Surely Muslim leaders saw through the hypocrisy. Surely they recognized weakness when they saw it. How they must have shaken their heads in contempt at the British authorities, with their hollow religion and empty ideals, talking tough for the cameras and for the Americans, then caving in to Muslim demands—to the hurt of at least 11 other nations whose citizens were killed by UK-based terrorists. In this, and throughout British society, the devout believers in extremist Islamism saw plenty to confirm in their minds the superiority of their violent, uncompromising ideology over Britain’s self-serving one.

Decadence

Abu Abdullah, leader of the Finsbury Park Mosque in London, is a British-born convert to Islam who told cnn in August that it is an “Islamic right” to take up arms against the West, that Tony Blair and George Bush are legitimate targets for violence, that America and Britain should be subjected to further attacks. This man—whose candor in spewing out vileness, and with a British accent, takes one’s breath away—made a notable point in a 2004 interview with pbs’s Frontline. He explained, “The reason that I converted to Islam is because the Western world or the world in general had nothing to offer me other than gambling, sex, killings, etc. Islam gave me hope.”

This is a common argument made by Islamists to justify the idea that Western society should be destroyed: that it is decadent and immoral. Is this a valid charge?

Britain once had a firm sense of its own identity—rooted in biblically based morals and high standards—and of obligation to set an example of uprightness and civility for the rest of the world (see “How Britain Learned to Hate Itself,” page 18). Today, however, traditional British values have been almost wholly replaced by a rabid devotion to the hollow ideals of tolerance and multiculturalism. This “tolerance,” in practice, translates into a violent repudiation of tradition—which, in Britain, includes all scripturally based beliefs and morals. British society has vitiated its people’s sense of identity, of history, of responsibility. As a result, it has become the embodiment of secularism, self-loathing, immorality and loutishness. It seeks money rather than virtue; it worships pleasure rather than God.

Too many of Britain’s politicians, educators and religious leaders have failed to stand and shore up the nation’s defenses against this ravaging plague. A most notable example is Prince Charles’s attitude toward the UK’s state religion. Were he crowned king of England, Charles would be the titular head of the Anglican Church. In a seismic break from Britain’s past—but one thoroughly in touch with the modern values of his people who have turned their back on their founding religion—Charles once proposed that, as king, rather than assuming the title “Defender of the Faith”—that is, of Protestantism—he would be a “defender of faith”—any and all faith!

The ugly truth is, Islamism’s attack on Western decadence would never have gained such traction if the West had conducted itself in a morally upright way, and if it had unapologetically offered its people—of every creed—a firm sense of noble national identity. By trampling on its own sense of Britishness, this nation created a void that was filled on one hand by decadence, and on another by a deep loyalty among Muslims to the Islamic community that, in some cases, included embracing its most militant dogmas.

And because everything respectable that Britain once was is now regarded by many with shame, the nation simply has no answer. Devout Muslims are right to hate the materialism, the immorality and the selfishness. But those are not the things Western society should represent—they are the evils that rushed in to fill the vacuum left by the trashing of the pillar virtues Western society once aspired to represent.

Conservative mp John Hayes, in a scathing indictment of Britain’s moral state in the Aug. 6, 2005, Spectator, made this point—one that would be all-too-easy to dismiss for being too simplistic, but that should be deeply considered: “The most fitting response to the terrorist outrages would be the kind of moral and cultural renaissance that would make Britons of all backgrounds feel more proud of their country.”

That statement touches very close to the only possible healing for Britain in its advanced state of sickness.

Britain’s Sickness

You may be shocked to learn that the United Kingdom’s present diseased condition was prophesied over 2,700 years ago—as was its outcome.

Britain’s history with the God of the Bible is thoroughly documented and plainly evident throughout its system of law and governance, which is rooted in scripture and rich with biblical symbology. (Request a free copy of Herbert W. Armstrong’s book The United States and Britain in Prophecy to examine the historical and scriptural evidence of Britain’s identity.) Its past experience as the tribe of Ephraim within the biblical nation of Israel is clear: When it subjected itself to God’s commandments, it lived in peace, receiving blessings and favor. When it broke those commandments, it suffered from a host of plagues and curses.

Today’s Britain, having trashed that heritage and spurned the God of the Bible, has entrapped itself in this same pattern of curses.

Longtime Trumpet readers are aware that editor in chief Gerald Flurry has pointed to the dangerous Middle East “peace process” as fulfilling a specific biblical prophecy—that of “Judah’s wound,” found in Hosea 5:13. Biblical Judah is the modern nation called Israel, and its “wound” is the process by which Israel is trying to shore up its national security by placing its faith in its enemies—enemies who happen to be Muslims bent on Israel’s destruction.

That prophecy links Israel to Britain in a peculiar way. Here is the verse: “When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.” Ephraim is the biblical name for modern Britain (as The United States and Britain in Prophecy proves). And here, in the same context as Israel’s “wound,” is mentioned Britain’s “sickness.”

Does it not make sense that the wound that drives Israel to seek help from Germany (“the Assyrian”—proved in our booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire, free upon request) would be so closely linked to the sickness that causes Britain to do the same? In both cases they are partly caused by harmful dealings with a radical Islamist enemy.

In this prophecy, Britain at some point recognizes its sickness. This is certainly happening in some British circles already, as commentators like Melanie Phillips and Daniel Johnson send out warnings to the public. At present, they are minority voices. But even among Britons at large, a majority now believe, for example, that Britain’s immigration laws should be stiffer. Laws have been implemented to deny visas to foreign extremists, and to deport radicals who live in Britain (though, with endless appeals, this law is still woefully toothless). Based on Hosea’s depiction, we should expect to see the British increasingly wake up to just how dangerous the sickness they have allowed to develop within truly is.

But once they see that sickness, what will they do about it? It will quickly become clear that the time for self-healing is long past. The disease is too far advanced; the body too weak. But they will not turn to God—the God who first gave them all their national blessings and who alone could restore them to health—not at first, anyway. Hosea’s prophecy is that first, like the Jews, the British will instead turn for help to the Germans. And that, as several dozen other prophecies plainly tell us, will prove to be a fatal mistake.

But the biblical narrative doesn’t stop there! Prophecy also tells us that, once the British have learned the invaluable lesson that those who trust in man are cursed—once they have suffered through the plagues that come as a result of their faithlessness—the remnant of them will turn in heartfelt repentance to God, and He will re-establish them as a strong, robustly healthy nation!