At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

It would be comical if the fate of our country and the world didn’t hang in the balance to watch the Democrats and their neoconservative Republican rivals point blame at one another as ISIS assumes the national stage.

Some thoughts on this internecine battle between these two birds of the same leftist feather are in order.

(1)The cold, hard truth of the matter is that the contemporary left, of which Obama is a textbook exhibition, sympathize with the world’s Muslims—including and especially those Muslims who engage in violence.

It’s true that few leftists would want to admit this, even to themselves. But the logic of their worldview demands such sympathy.

Some eminent talk radio hosts’ assertions to the contrary aside, it isn’t America that is the object of the leftist’s scorn; it is white America that enjoys this distinction. And white, American, heterosexual Christian men are at the bottom of the heap, the most ravenous, “racist” “oppressors” to have ever roamed the Earth.

However, most of the world’s Muslims are, well, Muslim: they are not Christian.  Moreover, most are not white, but “people of color.”  Thirdly, Islamic lands are for the most part satellites of the “third world”—i.e. they are decidedly not instances of “capitalist” societies.

Finally—and the importance of this, from the leftist’s vantage point, must not be understated—Islam is a militant religion whose adherents, as we have seen, are strongly disposed to resort to violence, murderous violence, in resisting what the left can only view as the “oppressive” or “imperialistic” treatment to which America—to repeat, white, Christian, affluent America—has subjected them.

Like it or not, beside that of the jihadist, the image of the Islamic terrorist taking up Muhammad’s sword against the Western, American infidel fits nowhere as nicely as it fits in the imagination of the contemporary Western leftist.

(2)Though it is distinct from that of the recognizable leftist, it is not of an entirely different breed. In other words, the neoconservative shares in common with other leftists a utopian/Big Government vision.  The difference between the two is one of emphasis, not of kind: while Obama and company want to grow government for the sake of engineering—“fundamentally transforming”—America, neoconservatives want to grow government for the sake of engineering—“fundamentally transforming”—the rest of the world.

The invasion of Iraq was a catastrophic mistake, one that incurred incalculable costs in blood and treasure. It also cost the Republicans the House, the Senate, and the White House.  If not for the removal of the largely secular dictators that our “democratizing” efforts affected, the Middle East wouldn’t be at the mercy of militant Islamic rulers and terrorists today.

But, the neoconservative now protests, we “won” Iraq.  We established a functional “democracy.” If only Obama hadn’t downsized our troop presence in Iraq, it would’ve remained a reasonably peaceful place.

While it’s true that the immediate cause of the conflagration that is contemporary Iraq is the removal of American troops, the mediate cause was the removal of Saddam Hussein.

At least as important, we “won” nothing.

Let’s suppose that you hire someone to build you a house. This person assures you that it will cost only X amount of dollars, and that the house will be built no later than such-and-such a date.  But, your contractor promises you, he will build you the greatest house that you could ever imagine.  You accept.

Yet time rolls on and the deadline for completion comes and goes. New deadlines are set and ignored.  The exponential increase in the passage of time is accompanied by an exponential increase in the funds that you wind up spending.  All the while, your contractor continues to assure you that he’s closing in on completing the mission.

Finally, he comes to you one day and announces the good news: He’s done it. The house is finished.  Relieved, you eagerly plan to relocate to your new home.

But when you arrive, you notice that your contractor is camped out in your living room propping up your roof with some of his tools. He explains that if he leaves now, your roof will collapse.  He doesn’t know how long he will have to remain there—maybe forever, or at least as long as it takes to prevent your house from imploding in on itself.  In the meantime, though, you will have to continue paying him.

No one in their right mind would view this as success.

Yet this was our situation in Iraq: As soon as we left, the whole country was reduced to a cauldron of violence.  Insofar as American lives and taxpayers’ monies had to remain in Iraq in order to prevent a takeover from ISIS or any other terrorist organization, many things could be said of this circumstance, but that it was a success was not one of them.

The truth—not the ideology, but the truth—of the matter is that both leftist Democrats and leftist neoconservative Republicans are responsible for the mess that is Iraq.


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