11 Jul, 2011
America’s Addiction to War Spending
Drug addiction creates many regrets. One of the most frequently cited remorse is all the money that drug addicts blow to finance their habit. The lead singer of the rock band Aerosmith, Steven Tyler, said in a recent interview that he spent more than $20 million on drugs in the eighties. “I spent more than $20 million on drugs. I sold my Porsche, I sold my personal jet, I sold my house in that waste of alcohol and drugs, and all of this made me feel lost,” Tyler admitted in his autobiography.
In recent years, there have been a growing number of signs that America has a compulsion that puts Mr. Tyler and every other rock star to shame. Uncle Sam has an addiction to war spending. Our involvement started out as a defensive action in response to the 9/11 attacks, and over time, the effect has degenerated into a mindless obsession. We spend billions of dollars each month on campaigns that have no real goals.
Commentator Pat Buchanan gave a good description of our situation. He said on the “Morning Joe” program, "The United States is strategically overextended worldwide. What are we doing borrowing money from Japan to defend Japan? Borrow money from Europe to defend Europe. Borrow money from the Persian Gulf to defend the Persian Gulf. This country is overextended. It is an empire and the empire is coming down."
President Barack Obama has certainly not lived up to the standards of the Nobel Peace prize he was given a couple of years ago. Since Obama had only been in office ten months, the committee gave him the award for all the things he would do in the future.
Rather than being the great peacemaker, the president has gotten us involved in three more conflicts. We are now fighting in Libya, Yemen, and Northern Pakistan. We are still stuck in Afghanistan and Iraq. Last week, Obama announced that he has a new plan to leave 10,000 U.S. troops in Iraq indefinitely, beyond the scheduled December withdrawal date.
It was just last year that I mentioned a report that put the total cost of the war in just Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan at $1.2 trillion. A new assessment by Brown University 's Watson Institute for International Studies comes up with a much higher tab. According to their research, the final bill will run at least $3.3 trillion--and it could reach as high as $4.4 trillion.
In the ten years since U.S. troops went into Afghanistan, we have spent $2.3 hunting al Qaeda leaders. The costs will continue to rise, even if we left today. An often-overlooked cost is the long-term obligations to wounded veterans. We now have more than 44,000 individual soldiers that have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their care will add another $1 trillion in just the next eight years.
It is possible for a country to extract itself from the Middle East conflict. Canada has just formally ended its combat mission in Afghanistan after years of being on the front lines. In May, Britain ended its military mission in Iraq. America seems to be the only nation that lacks an exit strategy.
It would be a different matter if the U.S. had a surplus of money that it could use to fund the War on Terror. Our nation is on the brink of bankruptcy, and no one in Washington is willing to consider our war cost as part of the problem.
A major cause for the fall of the Roman Empire was its spending on constant wars. Money that could have been used to maintain the empire went instead to fielding a large army. The citizens of the Roman Empire believed so strongly in their greatness that they lacked the ability to assess the danger caused by their own excess.
I think America suffers from the same delusion that blinded the Romans. We are the world’s sheriff, and we’re going to stay on the job until every villain is defeated. Because sin is a basic part of the human condition, I don’t think we could accomplish this goal if we had $100 trillion.
Sometime in the near future, our national credit card is going to come back rejected. Our role in all these military endeavors will come to an end as we find ourselves short of cash. Since Bible prophecy has no direct mention of America, it seems to support this scenario. The Antichrist will be the world’s greatest military leader. America’s sudden departure from the field would indicate the way is being cleared for his arrival.
Turkey’s Magog Moment
It seems at least forty years ago that I read Salem Kirban’s novel, 666. A major portion of the fictional account of the times at the end of the Church Age dealt with the Ezekiel chapters 38-39 Gog-Magog attack into the Middle East by Russia and all of the nations the prophecy foretells will storm toward Israel to destroy that nation and plunder the land.
Ezekiel prophesied a vicious coalition of anti-God, Israel-hating hordes that will rage in full fury, taking peace from the earth. Among the chief people mentioned who are to be part of that assault is “the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands” (Ezekiel 38:6b).
Author Kirban portrayed with powerful imagery, I thought, the warlord the Bible calls “Gog” and many of the other characters God’s Word forewarns will attempt to inflict murderous damage on the chosen nation and on the world. His account was particularly interesting, in retrospect, because he seems to have been somewhat prescient with his fictional presentation that the attack would be undertaken with ancient, not modern, weaponry--i.e., Kirban’s novel account had the Gog-Magog forces storming over the land using the literal war-making tools Ezekiel reported in his vision of that future invasion.
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. (Ezekiel 38:1-3)
I say Kirban was seemingly prescient, because his novelistic scenario included a technological breakthrough, as I recall, that had neutered conventional weaponry. The engines of modern warfare–as the author would have it— could no longer be employed. It was something along the lines of what has come to be known as EMP (electromagnetic pulse) technology–a weapon touted to have the capability of frying the electronic circuitry of modern machinery.
So, in the author’s story, Gog led his forces down toward Israel, where, of course, the evil ones met their complete destruction when the Lord intervened, as the prophecy says He will do when the actual attack occurs.
Turkey‘s history is replete with accounts of its cavalry exploits. Its armies are famous–or in some cases infamous--for their use of horses in warfare. Its horsemen are legendary in, for example, firing arrows while at full gallop. Even today, some of the finest horseflesh is found in the region Ezekiel calls Togarmah.
While I find fascinating the fact that Kirban could look a bit into the future to anticipate progression of modern weaponry, I’m still of the opinion that the weaponry Ezekiel saw in the vision God gave him was the weaponry of today, not actual horses and accoutrements. As a matter of fact, I’m not fully convinced that EMP truly is capable of doing what I’ve read time after time in emails it will one day do to, for example, America’s power grids and its sophisticated tools of war.
Such "warnings” have been issued as attacks about to strike for decades. I’m not saying some such things can’t happen, but it’s becoming akin to the little boy who cried wolf. It is incumbent upon us who are watchmen to weigh carefully things that are shaping that will likely be prophetic in nature--then report with responsible accuracy.
Certainly, Turkey has the history and the ability to raise a cavalry that could do battle if modern war machinery was rendered useless. Does that scenario look to be the likely unfolding of Bible prophecy regarding the Gog-Magog assault? I, at least, don’t think so. The world is facing a truly massive event as given in the Ezekiel 38-39 prophecy. Any threat horseflesh might present seems puny in comparison to the horrendous carnage described.
One development that should be most mesmerizing to the observer of things taking place for the wind-up of this present dispensation does involve Turkey, the region Ezekiel called Togarmah. Until very recently, Turkey was one of a few of Israel’s friends in or around the Middle East. The relationship has changed in ways that can only be described as portentous. A report by Joel Richardson begins as follows:
With Prime Minister Erdogan's Islamist AK party having seized its third landslide election victory in Turkey, many throughout the international community have been watching to see what will be next on the Turkish agenda.
Now there are strong indicators in the Turkish media that Turkey is planning on literally doubling the size of its army–this coming from the nation that already has the largest army in Middle East and the second-largest army in NATO, second only to the United States. Presently, Turkey's army has over 500,000 troops. Its army is larger than France, Germany and England combined. And now Turkish media are reporting that they are planning on adding another 500,000 paid soldiers. (Joel Richardson, "Turkey to Double Size of Its Army," http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=318757, 7/5/.11 Thanks to Mike Hile)
It is a legitimate question to ask: Is Turkey in the process of preparing for the fulfillment of its Magog moment?