Tag Archives: al-Qaida

Remembering Evil’s Threat—a lesson for 9/11’s 10th anniversary

In the days leading up to the anniversary of the terrorist attack on New York’s Twin Towers the news media are full of stories about how our lives have changed as result of that deadly event. Make no mistake about it. Much has changed, and not for the good!

Even in Canada, which was not directly in 9/11’s crosshairs, the costs have been high. Economist David MacDonald estimates in a report published by the Ottawa-based Rideau Institute that we’ve spent an additional $92 billion on the various Canadian national security organizations. For instance, the Canadian military’s budget has practically doubled since the Al-Qaeda attack in 2001.

Now, however, Osama Bin Laden is dead. And we’ve stopped our combat role in Afghanistan. So, the Rideau Institutes wonders aloud why Canada should continue to spend this estimated extra $10 billion a year on our national security?

I guess the simple answer is… because Al-Qaeda and its ilk have never said they’re sorry for targeting and killing some of our own people who were in the Twin Towers that day as well as thousands of our neighbours who also happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Al-Qaeda and its various franchise Islamic terrorist organizations have expressed no remorse, admitted no guilt, and sought out no forgiveness from those families whose loved ones were blown to bits or burnt alive. So how can we as a people afford to just “forgive and forget” what continues to be a clear and present danger?

I suspect David MacDonald, the Rideau Institute, and other liberal “progressive” types are morally confused about when it is appropriate to forgive and forget past sins.

Alexander Pope wrote that “to err is human; to forgive, divine.” So if forgiveness is a divine character trait—and indeed it is—then we would do well to consider how and when God applies it.

There was once an ancient Middle Eastern people who deliberately sowed terror amongst their neighbours. They were sort of like Al-Qaeda today, but militarily that ancient people were far more dangerous in comparison to the modern terrorists. They were the Assyrians—renowned in antiquity for their cruel, blood-soaked terror tactics. You can still see some of what the Assyrians did in nauseating graphic detail preserved such as skinning their captives alive in a series of startling wall-carvings that formerly decorated the Assyrian king’s palace walls in Nineveh and are presently at the British Museum in London .

According to the Scriptures, the God of the Bible eventually had enough of the violent Assyrians, and sent His prophet Jonah to give them 40 days to clean up their act or face a divine “shock and awe” campaign (cf. Jonah chapter 3). Surprisingly, the Assyrian leadership listened to this denunciation of their violence and felt guilt for their actions, and took the warning by the prophet seriously. As the Scriptures noted, the Assyrians “turned from their evil way” (Jonah 3:10).

The Assyrians repented. This means they actually changed their behaviour and made an attempt to do what was right rather than what was wrong. In response to that change in attitude and behaviour, God decided to abort His plan to destroy them during that generation.

As this example demonstrates, there is a price for divine forgiveness. That price is a change in attitude and action by the guilty party. With repentance and a real effort to change one’s actions, there can be divine forgiveness for any sin including that of terrorism or any other form of murder-inducing hate.

On the other hand, the whole story of Noah, the Ark, and the Flood illustrates that God’s mercy doesn’t extend to the morally corrupt and violent who refuse to acknowledge their transgressions and who refuse to change their bad behaviour (cf. Genesis chapters 6 & 7).

Yet we have the spectacle occasionally played out in our media by some who would forgive a murderer who has expressed no remorse and made no effort to atone for his or her sin. There are far too many who fail to understand that the moral act of forgiveness is not the automatic entitlement or right of those who committed an immoral act—unless such forgiveness is earnestly asked for and sought by the offending party who committed the wrong.

Forgiving people who don’t personally atone for their sins makes the statement that, “Repentance isn’t really necessary.” Can anything be more immoral than encouraging evil by refraining from any condemnation of those who commit it?

The day after the Columbine High School massacre, a group of students announced that they forgave the killers. A short while after the Oklahoma bombing, some people put out a call to forgive Timothy McVeigh. And on September 12th, on several American campuses, college groups pleaded for forgiveness for the terrorists responsible for the horrific events of the previous day.

These weren’t just misguided gestures of compassion. They were serious sins with potentially tragic consequences. Evil unchallenged is evil condoned. To forgive and forget, as Arthur Schopenhauer so well put it, “means to throw valuable experience out the window.” And without the benefit of experience’s lessons, we are almost certain to be doomed to repeat them. http://www.aish.com/ci/s/911_Forgive_and_Forget.html

Clearly it must be understood that forgiveness is not indifference to wrongdoing or evil of all sorts whether major or minor. Forgiveness is not wishful thinking. Rather, under the correct conditions, forgiveness can be a catalyst to effect real, positive, spiritual change for the good. Forgiveness can be a means of reconciliation between the one who did wrong and the one who was wronged.

Read carefully this instruction by Jesus of Nazareth concerning when it is appropriate to extend forgiveness:

Jesus said to his followers, ‘Things that cause people to sin will happen, but how terrible for the person who causes them to happen! It would be better for you to be thrown into the sea with a large stone around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to sin. So be careful!
‘If another follower sins, warn him, and if he is sorry and stops sinning, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in one day and says that he is sorry each time, forgive him” (Luke 17:1-4 New Century Version).

It is sad to note that a significant percentage of the Islamic terrorist prisoners (approximately 20%) who initially supported the September 11, 2001 attack, and were later released from U.S.’s Guantanamo detention facility returned to Al-Qaeda’s ranks to fight once more. Some of these have subsequently been killed in firefights with Western soldiers in Afghanistan. They saw no need to repent and ask for forgiveness for starting the cycle of pain and suffering that began at the Twin Towers ten years ago. So the fight against evil must go on.

We must remember that the sort of forgiveness that Jesus envisioned required a desire to change and grow, a desire to live in the light rather than darkness, to embrace good and not evil. Forgiveness should only be granted upon genuine repentance. Otherwise you’re only aiding and abetting an evil-doer.

Replacing brute force with the rule of law


Was the killing of Osama Bin Laden by the Navy SEALs, who were acting under the orders of President Barak Obama, justifiable? Or, as decorated WWII war veteran and sole surviving prosecutor at the Nuremberg genocide trials, Benjamin B. Ferencz, asks, was it a pre-meditated illegal assassination?

Ferencz, now 92, would like our world to be more humane and secure. His hope for a better future has led him to be a strong supporter of the work being carried out by today’s International Criminal Court. Ferencz wants to see the world’s present political ethos favouring the “rule of force” replaced by “the rule of law.” Consequently, the former Nuremburg prosecutor would have greatly preferred seeing Osama Bin Laden put on trial for mass murder rather than summarily dispatched with a couple of bullets to the head. He notes:

Nuremberg taught me that creating a world of tolerance and compassion would be a long and arduous task. And I also learned that if we did not devote ourselves to developing effective world law, the same cruel mentality that made the Holocaust possible might one day destroy the entire human race. http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/es/article.php?ModuleId=10007155

However, Michael Newton, a Vanderbilt University professor, argued in a CBC interview broadcast on May 12, 2011, that the killing of Bin Laden was both appropriate and justified under the International law and the customs of armed conflict, i.e. the Geneva Convention, etc. These laws of warfare hold that a party to an armed conflict can’t summarily execute prisoners of war in custody, but may kill opposing participants to the conflict in battle.

Despite their differing opinions on the best way to have dealt with the al-Qaida terrorist mastermind, neither Ferencz nor Newton have any doubt about Bin Laden having the blood of innocents on his hands.

Osama Bin Laden kept a personal journal in which he contemplated how to kill as many Americans as possible, including possible terrorist attacks against Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C., according to U.S. officials…. The official described the private journal as full of planning ideas and outlines of potential operations, aspirational guidance on how to kill the maximum number of people, rather than specific proposals or plots. Ken Dilanian and Brian Bennett, Times Colonist, May 12, 2011.

Frankly, I don’t know what safeguards and legal procedures the United States security/intelligence/special ops services have to follow before they can authorize a “hit” of a major target. But from what I understand, Israel’s Mossad actually holds a clandestine trial to weigh the evidence before members of its legal department to determine guilt and sentence of specific high profile enemies. Only then, will a kill order be authorized. If I’m wrong about this, I’m willing to be corrected by someone who knows. But when it comes to hauling a 21st Century Terrorist Shadow War combatant into court to face a standard criminal trial like some garden variety of murderer, well, this war isn’t being fought on conventional battlefields by soldiers in uniform. And even in the Second World War there were plenty of spies and traitors who were quietly but fatally put to rest in dark places.

Nevertheless, the biggest problem with the Ferencz’s idea of replacing the “rule of force with the rule of law” is that there is no consensus, for instance, between the Muslim world and the Western world as to whose law should be supreme and authoritative.

For Osama Bin Laden and millions upon millions of similar-minded people only Islam’s Sharia law can be authoritative and morally righteous. For such people Western secular law is a joke with only immoral brute force to back it up. The fact is, the Islamic world looks at some of our “politically correct” social policies enshrined by our more recently enacted legislation and both the radical jihadis and the average religiously conservative Muslim can only feel disgust for such laws and the societies that pass them.

The liberal Western secular democracies and decent people like Benjamin Ferencz are going to have an ever more costly fight on their hands if they try to force the Islamic world to embrace what are seen as decadent Western legal codes as the authoritative worldwide standard of behaviour.

So who does have the right to authoritatively define what is right or wrong? Surprisingly, the ancient prophet Isaiah addressed the liberal Western secular democracies and the Islamic world about this very issue.

What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil,
 that dark is light and light is dark, 
that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. 
What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes 
and think themselves so clever.
 What sorrow for those who are heroes at drinking wine
 and boast about all the alcohol they can hold.
They take bribes to let the wicked go free,
 and they punish the innocent. Therefore, just as fire licks up stubble 
and dry grass shrivels in the flame, so their roots will rot 
and their flowers wither.
 For they have rejected the law of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies; they have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 5:20-24 NLT).

If we want to have a more peaceful and secure world, then we are going to have to return to the source of the true gold standard of justice as defined by the Judeo-Christian scriptures. Justice, one true justice for all humans and nations will eventually come to administered throughout the whole earth in the World Tomorrow. It will come neither through the International Criminal Court at the Hague, nor by Islam’s Sharia, nor by the brute force of the liberal Western secular democracies! But come it will by divine providence!

In the future, the mountain with the LORD’s temple
will be the highest of all. It will reach above the hills;
every nation will rush to it. Many people will come and say,
“Let’s go to the mountain of the LORD God of Jacob and worship in his temple.”
The LORD will teach us his Law from Jerusalem, and we will obey him.
He will settle arguments between nations. They will pound their swords and their spears into rakes and shovels; they will never make war
or attack one another (Isaiah 2:2-4 Contemporary English Version).

Picture this… the Second Coming of Osama Bin Laden

In a CBS News interview yesterday, U.S. President Barak Obama rejected releasing grisly death pictures of the al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden, saying,

“We don’t trot this stuff out as trophies… The fact of the matter is, this was somebody who was deserving of the justice that he received, and I think Americans and people around the world are glad that he is gone. But we don’t need to spike the football” (referring to the iconic athletic enthusiasm exhibited by American footballers when they score touchdown points).

Yes, Bin Laden was indeed worthy of the death penalty as he led the terrorist organization responsible for the massacre of many thousands of innocent people. As the Judeo-Christian scriptures explicitly teach in the Law:

However, if someone deliberately kills another person, then the slayer must be dragged even from my altar and be put to death (Exodus 21:13 New Living Translation).

A few bullets to the head administered by a Navy SEAL, however, is just the beginning of the justice process for Osama Bin Laden.

In this, President Barak Obama, a self-professing Christian, seems to be ignorant. While acknowledging in the CBS interview that some people will indeed deny the certainty of Bin Laden’s execution without the release of convincing pictures, Obama asserted:

There is no doubt that Osama Bin Laden is dead. Certainly there is no doubt among al-Qaida members that he is dead…There are going to be some folks who deny it. The fact of the matter is, you will not see Bin Laden walking on the Earth again (Sheldon Alberts, Postmedia News, May 5, 2011).

Well, the real fact of the matter is, and this will be news to President Obama and perhaps many readers, Osama Bin Laden will yet again walk on the Earth! Yes, you read that correctly. There will be a “Second Coming” of this killer. And I’m not just talking metaphorically as when some other murderous Muslim fanatic commits similar crimes under the inspiration of Osama Bin Laden’s example.

How can I make such an assertion? Well, the fact of the matter is, as explained in multiple places in the Holy Scriptures, such a “Second Coming” is precisely what is going to happen to Osama Bin Laden. Notice this biblical prophecy foretelling what shall take place in the End Time:

“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people [He is one of God’s archangels]. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:1-2 English Standard Version).

Even the New Covenant’s Apostle Paul asserted that bad men like Bin Laden will come to life again and walk on the Earth:

…there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust (Acts 25:15 ESV).

Why would God bother to bring back the bad guys? Well, God has a plan for every mortal human being including you, and me:

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27 King James Version).

Jesus Christ himself, the Son of God, taught there is indeed coming a time of reckoning for all who have ever lived, including wicked men like Osama Bin Laden and all his al-Qaida crew of cutthroats:

Do not be surprised and wonder at this, for the time is coming when all those who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and they shall come out–those who have practiced doing good [will come out] to the resurrection of [new] life, and those who have done evil will be raised for judgment [raised to meet their sentence] (John 5:28-29 Amplified Version).

The fact of the matter is, the real judgment day is still to come when Bin Laden will stand in the docket to fully answer for his behaviour. I’m looking forward to having a courtroom seat to witness such an event. But in the meantime I’m making it my business to be among those whom God will call righteous rather than unrighteous. How about you?