Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Dilemma of Terrorism

In 1987, author Tom Clancy published a novel titled “Patriot Games”.  It was a story about an ex Marine who witnesses and ultimately thwarts an attempted abduction of a prominent member of the English Royal family by a renegade wing of the Irish Republican Army, ie: terrorists.  In the book, Clancy makes an interesting observation about terrorists and alludes to the reason why they are difficult at best to fight in today’s political realities.  Although written 23 years ago and before our current conflict with terrorists, the words jumped out at me as if written just last week.

From Clancy’s novel:

“They can fight their kind of war, but we can’t recognize it as such without giving up something our society needs.  If we treat terrorists as politically motivated activists, we give them an honor they don’t deserve.  If we treat them as soldiers, and kill them as such, we both give them legitimacy and violate our own laws…  The pure elegance of the concept is stunning.  Terrorists can fight a war and be protected by the diplomatic processes of their enemy.  If those processes were obviated, the terrorists would win additional political support, but so long as those processes were not obviated, it is extremely difficult for them to lose.  They hold a society hostage against itself and its most important precepts, daring it to change.  They move around at will, taking advantage of the freedoms that define a democratic state, and get all the support they need from a nation state with which we are unable or unwilling to deal effectively.” *

On the international level, terrorism is a form of war that does not interrupt normal diplomatic relations between nations.  Here in the US, terrorism is treated as a crime and not an act of war.  Terrorists are “arrested” and put on trial in civilian courts and given “rights” under the civil proceedings and the Constitution.  This is done even if the terrorist is captured on a battlefield in a foreign country such as Iraq or Afghanistan by our military forces, but especially if captured here in the US.  Take the Times Square bomber as a case in point.

I would define the dilemma as follows:  We are well prepared to fight the “last war”.  We have built our international relationships based on the lessons learned during the last century of warfare.  The Geneva Convention, as well as the United Nations, is the culmination of two world wars and numerous regional conflicts of the 20th century.  We have an intimate understanding of the “rules” of modern warfare and have signed an international treaty agreeing to abide by them even if our enemies do not.  We have out grown the concept of a war waged on religious or purely ideological grounds, leaving such thing to the dark ages of Europe, believing they have no place in a modern society.  Yet our current adversary persists in waging a religious based conflict.

Built into our constitution and case law are the things our society needs, things that lift us up as individuals and as communities.  Freedoms and liberties, unprecedented in human history, have contributed to a society where the rights of each individual are held to high regard.  Liberties that we recognize as God given are now spelled out in our Bill of Rights for the world to see.  These liberties as practiced in a free state are unique in all of human history.

We have no means in our domestic or international law to deal effectively with terrorists groups capable of wrecking havoc on a level previously limited to states.  Terrorist organizations do not have geographic borders.  They do not issue passports to their “citizens”.  They do not have a standing army in uniform.  They do not have any form of commonly recognizable government.  For these reasons and others, we are incapable of fighting them with any expectation of success so long as we stick with our present methods and abide by our current systems of international diplomacy and cooperation.

Terrorist organizations and renegade states, states who would otherwise directly challenge and attack other states for their own selfish reasons and ambitions of their perhaps psychopathic leaders, have learned the important lesson of working hand in hand to exploit the short comings of our Western democracies.  They have learned to effectively use our very liberties against us.  Their leaders are not elected.  They can not be voted out of office or their terms of office are not constitutionally limited.  They are experts in manipulation of a willing western free press to guide public opinion to their cause.  They have filled up our institutions of higher education and learned how our liberties work.  They have recruited sympathy among students and faculty.  They understand our constitutional freedoms better than we do and have learned to use them and our democratic process against us.  They have learned from our own history that we do not tolerate a protracted conflict and absolutely will not abide many casualties on our side as in Vietnam where we won every battle, but lost the war because of public opinion and a hostile press.  They see us as weak and decadent compared to their culture, and on their religious level, worthy of elimination.

We must find a way to work around our current, antiquated and inadequate world diplomatic system to beat an enemy that is operating outside of the “rules” we were so careful to put in place in the last century. We were attacked on September 11th 2001 in much the same way we were on December 7th 1941. But this new enemy comes from many nations, doesn’t wear uniforms or have one acknowledged leader. So how do we fight this enemy and stay within our current political boundaries?  That is the dilemma.  How can we win without fighting on their terms at least to some extent?  Our constitution is not a “suicide pact”.  It was never intended to protect an enemy of our American values and founding principles.  It was designed to grant the individual citizen rights and liberties never before experienced in human history.  An enemy on the battlefield has no rights under our constitution, especially one captured on a foreign battlefield.  We must find a way to declare war on an enemy that is not defined by geographic borders, because this enemy has already declared war on us.

שלום ברוך
Shalom and Be Blessed
Dan & Brenda Cathcart

* Patriot Games.  Pages 337-338, Berkley Novel paperback Copyright 1987 Jack Ryan Enterprises, LTD.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The land called Palestine

The land that the Arabs call Palestine has for most of recorded history been controlled by outside interests. In ancient times this land was an important crossroads in international commerce. It has been fought over more times in history that most of us can count. The “modern” conflict took shape in the late 1800’s. Then in the aftermath of WW1 and the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1922, the balance of power in the Middle East took a dramatic turn.

The Ottoman Empire stood for nearly 700 years from 1299 to 1922. After WW1, England took over all that area, because they had won the war, and called it “Palestine” just as the Romans did 2000 years earlier. It included all of what is now Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Israel and Iran. A big area. The Jewish people who lived IN THE LAND petitioned England for a Jewish state. England agreed but later reneged on the agreement at the request of the Arabs. (See the Balfour Declarations of 1917 and 1926 and pay careful attention to the land area set aside for the Jewish state)  None of the people in the region, with the exception of the Jews, had at any time, since the Hasmonean dynasty (140-37 BCE) experienced self-rule. Before that brief period following the Maccabean revolt, one must look all the way back to the Assyrian Empire (20th to 10th centuries BCE) to find self rule in the region by anyone other than the Jewish people.

In case you think England had no right to make such decisions, remember this was conquered territory as a result of a defensive war. The result of WW1 left a large amount of territory in Eastern Europe and the Middle East in the hands of the victors. Following this war, the nations of Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and several others were determined in Europe by the League of Nations. None of these countries existed prior to WW1. England maintained control of the Arab territories under their colonial authority.

Again, after WW2, the promise was made to give the Jews a state in "Palestine" when the territories were being divided up. This is when the current nations of Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon were formed. THEY DID NOT EXIST PRIOR TO WW2! These are all Arab states formed from the region the English called Palestine. The Jewish people had always had a broad population throughout the region with their primary center in what is now Iraq (old Babylon) and had suffered persecution there as they had everywhere else. They asked for the land of Israel, their original ancestral home land for two thousand years before the exile to Assyria and Babylon, as a modern home land. The land of Israel was sparsely populated at the time and there were very few Arabs to displace. Read Mark Twain's account of visiting Israel in the 1920's! It was only AFTER the Jews were granted the territory by the United Nations in 1947 that the Arabs moved in in any significant numbers.

The Arabs were given 5 states in the land of Palestine and the Jews were given one very small portion of land that was pretty much desolate. The entire nation is about the size of New Jersey! Until the 6-day war of June 1967, when Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt attacked Israel, those people living in the Gaza area and east of Jerusalem and the area that became known as the West Bank, held Egyptian and Jordanian passports. They were and are Egyptians and Jordanians by birth and not "Palestinians." The term “Palestinian” was not coined until after the Yom Kippur War in 1973.

The land that was captured was done so in a defensive war; Israel was the one attacked. By all international standards, territory captured in a defensive action belongs to the nation defending itself. By the way, in all of recorded history, England and the United States are the only countries to EVER give back territory won in a defensive war. The US returned Germany and Japan in 1949 to the native people to form their new countries. Second, this area is critical to Israel's continued self defense. The area is the "high ground" which overlooks all of Israel (about the size of New Jersey, remember?). If hostile forces had possession of the high ground, they could and would bomb any and all parts of Israel at their leisure. As they do now from the Gaza strip into the towns and farms of the Western Negev. There would be no safety anywhere in Israel. It would be certain suicide if Israel were to give up the so-called West Bank. This is exactly what the Arabs actually want; not an independent state, but access to the mountains where they can once again lob missiles into any part of Israel and launch invasion forces. Notice that they are using world opinion and pushing for and gaining a certain amount of autonomy in the West Bank. This gives them the foot hold of the high ground that they really want.

The terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah have refused to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist and do not recognize it as a legitimate country. They refer to the State of Israel as “occupied Palestine” and have vowed publicly over and over to “kill every Jew” in this “occupied” land. When they publicly chant and shout “free Palestine”, they are speaking not of the West Bank and Gaza, but of all of Israel! Three times since Israel was reestablished as a state in 1948, the Arab countries have waged an all out war to annihilate the Jewish people. Three times they have lost in dramatic fashion! Now they have changed their tactics. Now they work through a fabricated proxy people called the “Palestinians” who were, so recently, Egyptians and Jordanians. They hide behind and abuse their own people with a propaganda machine that would make Adolph Hitler green with envy. And the ignorant Western press and cowardly Western political leaders have bought into the whole thing because, for numerous reasons, God forbid they should insult or tic-off the Arabs.

Israel is a declared state just as ALL of the modern Arabs states are. We must not be ignorant of 20th century history. Israel is in its historic land. There is NO history of Arab autonomy in Palestine. There is NO mention of Jerusalem in the Koran. By any standard, modern or ancient, take your pick, Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish state right where it is! Israel will not, and should not be forced to, “commit suicide” by giving back land that is rightfully theirs by any universally applied international standard.

שלום ברוך
Shalom and Be Blessed
Dan & Brenda Cathcart

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Wings of His Garment: Numbers 15:37-41

By Dan Cathcart

When we pray, many of us put on the talit and many of us wear the tzitzit as commanded in Numbers 15:37-40.  This has been an important part of Jewish tradition for millennia, since the time of the exodus and the giving of the Torah.  It is a tradition that has been lost in the Christian community for centuries and, I think should be reintroduced.

The talit and the tzitzit were a major part of the life of Jesus (Yeshua).  Remember the story of the woman with the issue of blood healed by touching the hem of His garment.

Mark 5:25-29 MKJV 25 And a certain woman who had had an issue of blood twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and had not been bettered any, but rather came to worse, 27 having heard about Jesus, she came in the press behind and touched His garment. 28 For she said, if I may but touch only His clothes, I will be cured. 29 And instantly the fountain of her blood dried up. And she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.

The woman knew that if she touched his clothes she would be healed.  But there was a specific type of outer garment that Yeshua wore, and a specific part of that garment that she touched.  Jewish men, Yeshua being among them, would have worn a long, four cornered garment called a talit.  It was wrapped about the shoulders and draped down below the knees near the ground.  On its outer edges were fringes and in the corners were tassels called in Hebrew tsiytsith (tzitzit.)

Numbers 15:37-41 NIV 37 The LORD said to Moses, 38 "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. 39 You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the LORD, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. 40 Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God. 41 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the LORD your God.'"

The English word “tassels” in this passage is the Hebrew word tzitzit:

From the Strong’s Concordance and Dictionary  #6734.  tsiytsith,  tsee-tseeth'   feminine of #6731; a floral or wing-like projection, i.e. a forelock of hair, a tassel:--fringe, lock.

Although the Bible only describes the Tzitzit as containing one blue cord, saying nothing about other colors or how to tie it, Jewish tradition has them as consisting of 3 cords of white and 1 blue.  This is the part of Yeshua garment that the woman would have touched.  This is important because she would have been very familiar with the messianic scriptures (especially those of the prophet Malachi) concerning the healing abilities of the Messiah.

Malachi 4:2 MKJV 2 But to you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness shall arise, and healing will be on His wings…

The Messiah would have the characteristic of “healing in His wings”.  Another word used in the Numbers passage above is “corners”.  Some English translations use fringes or borders.  This is translated from the Hebrew word “kanaph”

#3671.  kanaph,  kaw-nawf' from #3670; an edge or extremity; specifically (of a bird or army) a wing, (of a garment or bed-clothing) a flap, (of the earth) a quarter, (of a building) a pinnacle:--+ bird, border, corner, end, feather(-ed), X flying, + (one an-)other, overspreading, X quarters, skirt, X sort, uttermost part, wing((-ed)).

The word kanaph means the wings of a garment, which are the corners, and the commandment in Numbers 15 was to place the tzitzit at the corners of the talit.  The woman would have understood that Messiah had “healing in His wings” because of the Malichi passage and the place she would have touched was the corner or kanaph, specifically the tzitzit on His talit.

In Matthew 9:21 it records what the woman said:

Matthew 9:21 NKJV 21 For she said to herself, "If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well."

This adds further meaning to Yeshua’s statement in the following verse:

Matthew 9:22 NKJV 22 But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, "Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well." And the woman was made well from that hour.

By touching the corner, tassel or tzitzit, the woman was asserting not only faith that by doing so she could be healed, but that the faith that healed her was faith in the Messiah!

We believers can choose to wear the talit with the tassels or tzitzit as a visible reminder of our Messiah who is now seated at the right hand of God.  The tzitzit reminds us to remember Yeshua’s commands and do them, as well as to live a holy life.

John 14:15 NKJV 15 "If you love Me, keep My commandments.

Numbers 15:39 NKJV 39 "And you shall have the tassel, that you may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the LORD and do them, and that you may not follow the harlotry to which your own heart and your own eyes are inclined,

1 Peter 1:13-16 NKJV 13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."

The tzitzit are a beautiful picture of Messiah.  And reminds us that it is in His wings that we are healed.


שלום ברוך
Shalom and Be Blessed