ASK Commentary
April 9, 2003 

Wars and Rumors of Wars, Part 4

Commentary for April 9, 2003 - Endgame and Symbolism

While the war in Iraq is not yet over, it has now become clear that the Coalition forces (comprised chiefly of the military of the United States and Great Britain) did not attack Muslim populations in Afghanistan and now in Iraq. The Coalition forces liberated the populations of two Muslim countries. That liberation could not be accomplished by the people of those countries without outside assistance.

The professionalism, caution, care and humanity with which Coalition forces conducted military operations will affect the attitudes of Iraqis.

Symbolism

I just viewed the toppling of the large 40-foot statue of Saddam Hussein with his right hand raised in a fatherly gesture in Firdos Square in central Baghdad. There was interesting symbolism (not intentional or prophetic) within that act that compared to the entire situation of the change of regime in Iraq.

After United States Marines and armored vehicles entered the square (after an amphibious assault across the Tigris River) where the statue of Saddam stood, a few minutes after fighting nearby had stopped, a crowd formed around the statue and three men began to drape a large rope cable around the statue of Sadaam. It was wonderful to see the cheering crowds. The intention was to pull down the statue. The rope was not long enough for them to do so.

Next someone brought a sledgehammer and a large, strong man began pounding the base of the statue with the hammer. Then others took up the hammer and began hitting the base of the statue to topple it. (I think it would have succeeded, eventually, but they were impatient.) Those men on the statue were not able to get enough play on the rope to have the crowd below pull down the statue. The Iraqis were not able to do the deed by themselves.

Then someone asked the United States Marines to help. An M88 tank retrieval vehicle was called in. A cable was put around the neck of the Saddam statue, attached to the M88, the slack was removed and the statue began to bend over. Then more slack was removed and the statue pulled off from its pipe stems holding the statue to its legs. The Saddam statue fell to the ground head first. The people immediately began to cheer and celebrate. The head was separated and a small group of Iraqis dragged the head of the statue through the streets, hitting it with their shoes (a great insult in that culture). Crowds went into the streets as darkness came upon the free people in that portion of Iraq's capital.

The symbolism to me was ironic and poetic. The people of Iraq were not able to pull down the regime represented by the statue. Those who tried were butchered, all too often literally so. They tried and failed. Neither were they able to pull down the statue by themselves. Their efforts had no effect.

As one Iraqi government employee said to a newsman, "Fear is our food." Iraq was an ultimate example of absolute power corrupting absolutely - with horror for all too many of its own citizens.

1. Was the war fought to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction? Yes.
2. Was the war fought to attack bases of terrorists? Yes.
3. Was the war fought to liberate Iraq from a brutal regime? Yes.
4. Was the war fought to support the dollar versus the Euro? Yes.
5. Was the war fought as an example to other totalitarian nations? Yes.
6. Was the war fought for oil? Yes.

All of the above. The third reason will turn out to be the most important. Today 25 million people are more free than they were yesterday, whatever the problems of the future.

Post-Mortem of the War

It will be charged (as it was in the 1991 Gulf War) that the Iraqi army did not fight. The Iraqi army did fight, but they fought ineffectively because they were outmatched primarily by the superb training and by the excellent equipment of the Coalition forces. Some Iraqis fought fiercely with poor training and Russian weapons, but died in the attempt. Those who did not fight (and there were thousands) were killed, captured or retreated for safer places. Many removed their uniforms. Many removed their uniforms to continue the fight in civilian clothes, but most removed their uniforms to go home.

The drive for representative government will advance all over the world, continuing a trend that has expanded since World War II. Just as Western Europe was liberated and those countries liberated to include representative governments, just as Eastern Europe was liberated by a steadfast western alliance of nations that held the line against the Soviet Union until it collapsed internally, incapable of holding Eastern Europe hostage. Nations in South and Central America are slowly, and on the whole peacefully, removing dictatorships and replacing them with representative governments of various quality. Likewise the nations of the Middle East one-by-one will gain representative governments, most of them bringing back kings to assist with social cohesion.

The Future

Some have written and said that representative government in Iraq is not possible because of hostilities between ethnic and religious groups in Iraq. In other words Iraqis are not capable of representative government. This is ridiculous. This elitist attitude says that the Iraqis are somehow inferior, somehow unsophisticated and unable to control fanatical emotions. It is sad that people think this way.

Violence will continue. There will be looting. There may be revenge killings against former officials from the Saddam government. There will be health problems among the population of Iraq, perhaps plagues. The humanitarian problem in Iraq will be the greatest that the world has ever seen. The welcome may end for Americans in Iraq as they keep the peace, if the short-term occupation is mishandled. Do not expect perfection. New evils will arise. But life will be better materially for the people of Iraq. The stage is being set for end time events.

Biblical Comparisons

It is interesting to note the comparison between the toppling of the statue in Baghdad of Sadaam Hussein (who frequently compared himself to Nebuchednezzar) and the destruction of the statue of the Babylonian system in Daniel chapter 2. In neither case were the people able to topple the statues, and the power they represented, without outside help to do so. Iraq needed the Coalition forces to destroy the power of Saddam Hussein's regime. The people of the world will need God through Christ to destroy Nebuchednezzar's image. The Iraqi people could not liberate themselves. Humankind cannot liberate themselves.

"Thou, O king, saw, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou saw till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth."

* Daniel 2:32-35

This representation shows the similarity and the difference. Freedom will result in Iraq as symbolized by the toppling of Saddam's statue. Likewise freedom will result to the entire world when the Babylonian system is destroyed by the power of God.

"Forasmuch as thou saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure."

* Daniel 2:45

The world has seen the liberation of Iraq by the Coalition. All creation awaits the liberation by God.

David Sielaff
david@askelm.com

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