by Jason B. Ladd
In the early stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld dismissed a rash of deadly attacks on U.S. troops as the last throes of a small group of “dead-enders.” Early tactical victories during the war led some to believe that these dead-enders, comprised of members of Saddam’s former Baath Party, Fedayeen paramilitary, and other loyalists, would be quickly rooted out, captured, or killed. Planners assumed that once the dead-enders found their end, peace and stability would become a possibility for the region.
Eleven years later, Iraq is again devolving into turmoil. Many Iraqi insurgents were indeed dead, but we are far from the end of Iraq’s struggle to overcome centuries of regional conflict. The Butcher of Baghdad is gone, but the floodgates he controlled with his violence and intimidation burst open, and a new river of unimaginable evil is now rising.
Fighters in Iraq in opposition to the U.S. vision for Iraq turned out to be anything but dead enders. They were more like “alternate-routers.” This
should not come as a surprise. Does a fleeing criminal give up when he runs into a cul-de-sac? No. He jumps a fence, cuts through a backyard and escapes into the night.
While it is unwise to label military opponents as dead-enders, perhaps the term more adequately describes worldviews which fail to answer life’s biggest with logical consistency, empirical adequacy, and experiential relevance. These worldviews can take you for an exciting ride, but sooner of later you’ll end up staring at a wall, wondering where you made the wrong turn. A worldview is defined by Ronald Nash in Worldviews in Conflict: Choosing Christianity in a World of Ideas:
“A worldview, then is a conceptual scheme by which we consciously or unconsciously place or fit everything we believe and by which we interpret and judge reality.”1
Author and apologist Ravi Zacharias notes that all spiritual questions ultimately seek to answer questions in four arenas…
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