What President Bush Doesn’t Know

Rumors of war are increasing as the U.S. builds its case against Saddam’s Iraqi regime. But there is a fundamental problem in these plans and calculations—and it is obscuring the real threat to America!
From the November 2002 Trumpet Print Edition

As rumors of war increase, questions loom like thunderclouds. Grave questions of right and wrong, life and death. Questions about the future of peoples and nations. Should the United States attack? Will it attack? Will it act alone or in league with other nations? Will Saddam fall? How would that affect Iraq’s future—and that of the Middle East? How would this war affect the war on terror? Will the world really be a safer place as a result?

If you were sitting in the U.S. president’s chair and had to choose whether or not to order the attack, what would you do?

Assessing the Threat

U.S. President George W. Bush is clearly voicing his concerns and his intentions. On October 7, for example, in a largely untelevised address to the nation, he eloquently made the case for the use of force. He spoke of an Iraq enslaved by “a homicidal dictator who is addicted to weapons of mass destruction,” an Iraq bristling with chemical and biological weapons and actively seeking nuclear weapons, armed with ballistic missiles and “manned and unmanned aerial vehicles” capable of long-range delivery—an Iraq not above using its arsenal to support anti-American terrorism. The U.S. must strike quickly, he said, explaining, “[T]he longer we wait, the stronger and bolder Saddam Hussein will become.”

The argument to strike Iraq is compelling, and the reasons are sound. The Trumpet does not take sides in political issues, but an objective look at the facts highlights the very real nature of the Iraqi threat and the potentially disastrous consequences of failing to contain it. Few Western nations contest this, at least in principle.

What is interesting, however, is how isolated the U.S. is in making such brash statements about Iraq. While many nations acknowledge that Saddam Hussein’s regime is a problem, the U.S. is virtually alone in its insistence that decisive action be taken swiftly. In fact, many nations are viewing the U.S.’s confrontational approach with a certain contempt.

Why? The answer is startling. This is much more than simply two reasonable points of view butting heads.

Regardless of which view is correct, the differences in opinion create a real problem. In fact, the Trumpet can state with certainty that these differences portend the ultimate failure of any American action in Iraq—as well as the ultimate end of America’s leadership role in the world today.

The media are saturated with facts and information regarding the Iraq situation. But they cannot tell you the real meaning behind what you see developing!

The U.S. government is thoroughly informed, conscientiously considering the various arguments for and against this or that course of action. But they are doing so in complete ignorance of the grand purpose being worked out in these events, and where they are destined to lead!

You now have the opportunity to see this prophetic picture—to grasp what is ignored by the great majority.

Power to Prophesy

Though many people believe in the God of the Bible, they are unclear whether, or to what degree, or just how He influences the flow of events in this world.

But the Bible is clear on this point!

The Creator God does influence—even control—certain events and circumstances. He has done so throughout mankind’s history—and not arbitrarily, but for specific, thoroughly reasoned purposes.

God inspired the Prophet Isaiah to quote Him as saying, “… I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand …” (Isa. 46:9-10). Here God refers to His singular ability as the omnipotent Creator and Sustainer to forecast future events and then bring them to pass!

“Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them” (Isa. 42:9).

This is in fact the one irrefutable proof God gives us of the veracity of the Holy Bible!

In the 1980 version of United States and Britain in Prophecy, Herbert W. Armstrong explained, “Through His inspired prophets, the great God caused to be written, some 2,500 years ago, and preserved in writing to our time prophecies filling approximately a third of the whole Bible. In them, He named every city of consequence of that time on Earth—and also every nation! And He foretold precisely what would, through the years, happen to every city and every nation! In every instance the prophecies came to pass!

“What was prophesied happened to Babylon, to Tyre, Sidon, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron; to Egypt, Assyria, Chaldea, Persia, Greece and Rome. There has not been a miss! Those prophecies were accurate.” This is simply a matter of the record of history.

Mr. Armstrong concluded, “And now, in other prophecies, the same supreme God has foretold precisely what is going to happen to the United States, the British nations, Western Europe, the Middle East, Russia!”

How? How can God ensure that His prophecies unfold just as He said, millennia ago, that they would?

Daniel 4:25 says, “[T]he most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.” Romans 13:1 confirms this by saying, “[T]here is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” God oversees who is put into offices of authority, whether He personally selects someone or allows the result of an election, appointment or political coup to stand. But if for whatever reason a potential leader would not serve His overall purpose, God ensures that person never makes it into the office he or she would seek.

Moreover, God can sway and influence the minds of those in office whenever necessary. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will” (Prov. 21:1). As an example, Ezra 1 depicts God moving the mind of the great Persian King Cyrus to help the captive Jews.

Make no mistake—every person has free moral agency and the power of choice in his or her individual life. But God guides the overall flow of events and ensures that it follows the pattern He has prophesied, to demonstrate His power and supremacy over the affairs of humankind!

Throughout history, God has proven His power to prophesy accurately. We only must believe in faith what God has revealed will occur in our day.

And God has already exposed in His Word the ultimate outcome of the Iraq situation!

What is it? And where does this leave President Bush in the current conundrum facing the U.S.? Only after we understand God’s view can we correctly evaluate the present circumstances.

Blessings and Curses

God made some astounding promises to ancient Israel and its descendants. We must understand that these promises apply to modern-day America. Our free booklet The United States and Britain in Prophecy will prove to you the fact that the U.S. descended from one of the 12 tribes of the biblical nation of Israel.

One conditional promise God made concerns our success or failure in conflicts with other nations: “If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them … I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid …. And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword” (Lev. 26:3, 6-7)—among a host of other blessings for obedience.

But, God warns on the other hand, “[I]f ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments … I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror …” (vv. 14, 16)—along with other specific curses God will bring upon the nation for disobedience.

The Prophet Isaiah declared, “Behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, shall lop [off] the bough with terror: and the high ones of stature shall be hewn down, and the haughty shall be humbled” (Isa. 10:33).

Unpleasant as it may sound, it is a fact: America—spurning God’s commandments and proudly seeking its own way in the world—is cursed. What blessings it does possess (which are great and numerous) are here in fulfillment of other, unconditional promises God made to righteous Abraham and specific certain of his descendants. But as was prophesied in Leviticus 26, America is not only suffering from an absence of the blessings God promises to the nation that looks to Him for guidance and protection. It is suffering specific and increasing curses that are handicapping its effectiveness among nations!

It is for this reason that the U.S. is finding itself in such a difficult position today—and not just with Iraq.

A Hated Nation

Before the September 11 terrorist attacks, America was quickly losing respect in the eyes of the rest of the world.

Bill Clinton’s presidency had been marred by scandal and impeachment, and concluded with failure in Middle East peace initiatives. Bush’s presidency began with a series of foreign-affairs blunders and shocks—a U.S. sub surfacing under a Japanese fishing boat, a U.S. spy plane colliding in midair with a Chinese fighter pilot; Bush cancelling or boycotting summits and pulling out of international negotiations and agreements. “It looks like total unilateralism, saying ‘we don’t care at all what is happening in the rest of the world,’” complained one German specialist in transatlantic relations.

In the aftermath of September 11 there was a quick surge of sympathy from abroad. “We are all Americans” was the message. The U.S. used the opportunity to construct painstakingly a coalition of nations to fight terrorism.

But sympathy quickly turned to skepticism, and then to hostility over the way President Bush began executing the war. His “you’re either with us or against us” ultimatum and “axis of evil” declaration were poorly received. Nations acted as though they would have been more impressed if the U.S. had merely turned the other cheek to the terrorists.

Victor Davis Hanson wrote in the October 2002 issue of Commentary, “What seems beyond denial is that, from the Atlantic coast to the Balkans, there has been a rise in the level of truculence [hostility]. … As for governments, no less indisputable is that most of them have greeted with disapproval or distaste nearly every major American foreign-policy initiative of the past two years.”

As “A Target for Criticism” (below) points out, the superiority of American power—and the uneven or unpredictable manner in which it is often used—has engendered a strong and growing desire among other nations to topple the world’s most powerful country. The disdain that developed when the U.S. was governed by a peace-and-appeasement administration has become too strong to contain; it has only grown more virulent since a more muscular government has come to power.

Most Americans, receiving their news from only U.S. news sources, would be shocked at the level of anti-Americanism and hatred being expressed overseas.

Though they are more than willing to draw on aid from the States militarily and monetarily, other nations are also quick to heap scorn upon virtually every aspect of U.S. foreign policy. Whether or not that criticism is justified, many countries—in the Middle East and Europe particularly—walk a precarious line between needing and seeking help from the U.S. and, at the same time, pursuing policies that undermine its preeminence.

This paradoxical strategy is certainly in evidence on the Iraq question. Today, though the Bush administration is trying passionately to convince the rest of the world of the need for decisive action in Iraq, the rest of the world remains unconvinced. The “coalition against terrorism” has proved to be paper-thin, and now, not even a year old, lies in tatters.

A Lonely War

Time has already shown that last September’s terrorist strikes (themselves borne of violent anti-Americanism) did nothing to improve America’s standing in the family of nations.

Now the U.S. faces the prospect of attacking Iraq again, but this time—unlike the 1991 Gulf War, for which there was broad international support and much of the expense was absorbed by coalition partners (including Gulf states Saudi Arabia and Kuwait)—it will be virtually alone.

The president speaks as if the U.S. is perfectly willing to act alone if necessary. But questions abound. Will a Bush administration truly commit the resources necessary to complete the job? The fact that Iraq is a problem today shows that, just 11 years ago, the answer to that question was no.

The costs of launching an offensive such as America is contemplating are great. The real costs of a unilateral strike on Iraq, however, are not financial, but political. Such an action would only agitate the anger and resentment of the international community over what it perceives as American arrogance and bullying.

The farther out President Bush sticks his neck over Iraq, the more apparent it becomes that the United States is being hung out to dry. And that is just fine with a world that doesn’t want to have to follow the U.S. anyway.

Such is the fate of a nation being cursed by God.

Broken Will

Let’s consider another of the specific curses God promised to send upon a disobedient nation. Despite America’s aggressive talk, we must look at the facts plainly and conclude that the U.S. is in fact a victim of this divine proclamation.

In the same chapter of Leviticus 26, God warns, “I will break the pride of your power” (Lev. 26:19).

We often refer to this prophecy in the Trumpet and point out as its specific fulfillment the weakness in American foreign policy—its failure to act swiftly and decisively. Concrete examples include not only those instances where America was threatened or attacked and did nothing (such as the series of pre-9/11 terrorist attacks over the past decade on U.S. embassies and overseas interests, and the 1993 World Trade Center attack), but also those cases where America did act, but in an indecisive manner (such as the Gulf War that left Saddam in office and his malevolent will intact).

President Bush is talking tough. He has already proven himself inclined to use America’s military power more forcefully than the previous administration. But does this mean the United States has strong pride in its power—and a strong will touse it decisively? Far from it!

It was in January that President Bush labeled Iraq part of an “axis of evil.” It is approaching a full year since then—a year of endless discussion over a possible military strike—with no action taken, as of the time of this writing. And, because of this prophecy, the Trumpet can predict that if the U.S. does strike Iraq, the action will not have sufficient strength to deter future militarization on the part of this enemy. Even if it succeeds in dismantling Saddam’s regime, other prophecies, which we will shortly examine, show that the outcome will ultimately work against the U.S.

God did not say that America would not have power, but rather that its pride in that power—its will to decisively and effectively use that power—would be broken. In fact, God further prophesied that America wouldexercise its military strength! But He warned, “your strength shall be spent in vain” (v. 20).

Whatever war efforts America undertakes in Iraq will prove shortly thereafter to have been spent in vain! Not necessarily because they were unjustified, or poorly planned, or incompetently executed—but because America is cursed!

The Outcome in Iraq

The U.S. government is devising its war plans. But God has a greater plan. “The Eternal … brings to nothing what the nations plan; but the Eternal’s purpose stands for ever, and what he plans will last from age to age” (Ps. 33:10-11, Moffatt).

God makes and unmakes nations—the American president does not. God “increaseth the nations, and he destroyeth them: He enlargeth the nations, and he leadeth them captive” (Job 12:23; American Standard Version). “Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance …. All nations before him are as nothing …” (Isa. 40:15, 17).

So what will the outcome of the present struggle over Iraq be? God has determined it in advance!

The Trumpet has often spoken of a prophesied “king of the south” (Dan. 11:40) likely being a potent Middle Eastern country leading a coalition of nations united by radical Islam.

Is Iraq the king of the south? As much as Saddam Hussein wishes otherwise, his country is not looked to as a leader among Mideast nations. It was crippled by the Gulf War, it has languished under sanctions and low-level military strikes ever since, and it may soon be incapacitated even further by another major U.S. strike.

So who is the king of the south? Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has been pointing the finger at one Middle Eastern nation in particular for almost a decade: Iran!

A major concern, should Iraq be taken out as a power in the Middle East, is the destabilizing of the region. If Saddam is removed with no clear, strong successor, Iran would come to the fore even more. Read what Mr. Flurry wrote eight years ago: “The most powerful Arab country in the Middle East is Iran. Can you imagine the power they would have if they gained control of Iraq, the second-largest oil producing country in the world? If so, there seems to be little doubt that Iran would lead the king of the south” (Trumpet, Dec. 1994).

Thus, in its very attempt to neutralize the threat from the Middle East and stabilize the region, America will very likely help create and aggravate an even worse problem!

President Bush is acting upon the possibility that Iraq may attack the U.S., possibly via terrorist cells, with biological, chemical or even nuclear weapons. This truly is a possibility, outlined in prophecy (see p. 12). Request a free copy of Mr. Flurry’s book Ezekiel: The End-Time Prophet and study the prophecies depicting a full one third of Americans being killed in plagues of violence and burning such as may be inflicted by terrorists!

But the indication is, Iraq is far from being the greatest of threats to the States. In fact, when all is said and done, in retrospect it will be seen as a fatal distraction from the real threat!

Within the Middle East, all indications are that Iran will pose the much greater problem in the long run.

The Outcome in the Middle East

Should America, then, go after Iran? Perhaps. However, no Bible prophecy speaks expressly of a direct conflict between the U.S. and the king of the south. Prophecy instead explicitly tells of the demolition of this Mideast power by the “king of the north”—the European Union.

Realize what this means: The U.S. won’t be the victor in its present war on terrorism. Europe will!

Prophecy affirms the imminent rise of the European Union to dominate the global political scene. And when Europe turns its hand to address the problem of Mideast terrorism, it will do so through decisive blitzkrieg warfare!

We must implant this firmly in our minds in order to understand the significance of the U.S.’s present effort. This is God’s sure forecast of the ultimate end of the forces of Mideast terror. Read it! Believe it! “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south [Iran] push at him: and the king of the north [Europe] shall come against him like awhirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. He shall enter also into the glorious land [Israel and Jerusalem], and many countries shall be overthrown …” (Dan. 11:40-41).

Europe will not single out specific terrorists. It won’t put its sights on a single dictator within one country. It won’t be squeamish about civilian casualties. Europe will come in a storm of fury! It will “overflow”—meaning inundate, cleanse, drown, conquer. Whole countries will be “overthrown”!

This is how the war on radical Islamic terrorism will end. In fact, this is the only way this war could end! President Bush has talked about a vast network of terror that must be rooted out. The network is so vast that nothing short of a sudden, furious and indiscriminate whirlwind will get rid of it!

The inescapable conclusion we must draw, then, is that the U.S. will fall short of its stated goal—and Europe, watching from the sidelines, will learn the lesson. They won’t make the same mistake!

We must also deduce that there will soon come a point when the U.S. won’t even be a factor in this war. In fact, numerous other prophecies foretell a crushing downfall for the world’s currently most powerful country. The United States and Britain in Prophecy details many of them.

Understand: The Trumpet staff would like as much as anyone to see America conquer terrorism. But prophecy shows that it is, regrettably, underestimating its enemy. If we take a dim view of present U.S. efforts, it is because we know the Bible’s stated outcome!

However, astoundingly, it is possible for America to repent and turn to God—to actually turn the curses and prevent the prophecies from being fulfilled! God reveals Himself in the Bible as being prepared to change His mind based on the fruits of repentance. Witness Nineveh: “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not” (Jonah 3:10). Astonishing precedent from a God of love who has absolutely no desire to see a single person die unnecessarily (Ezek. 33:11).

But whether the nation does or not, you can repent individually. God is providing you this warning to give you that very opportunity. God is giving you the opportunity to see the prophetic picture, ignored by the great majority—to stir you to action!

With the country currently deploying ships and planes and personnel, America may appear strong to some. These actions may even be temporarily holding the next attack at bay. But on the whole, they are not acts of courage, but of fear. And they are not complete or savage enough to eliminate the threat.

Sadly, that will take a whirlwind from the north—the same whirlwind that will deliver the decisive blow to America.