Tag Archive | Iraq

When Brothers Don’t Get Along

On December 4, 2015, the B’Ney Yosef Region 35 Conference convened at Camp Copass in Denton, Texas, for the purpose of bringing together people in the central part of the United States to seek YHVH’s direction about His Kingdom work at this time.  The initial concept was to continue in the spirit of the First B’Ney Yosef National Congress in the interest of building Ephraimite (Israelite) identity among believers in Messiah Yeshua.  The Holy Spirit quickly expanded that concept into a call for repentance within the Hebrew Roots/Two House movement and reconciliation with other parts of the body of Messiah, particularly with our Christian brethren.  That was the motivation for this address which opened the conference.

BFB151204 MNF-IThe best boss I ever had was the man under whose supervision I served the last time I was in Iraq.  He was also the most profane man I have ever met.  The name of Jesus Christ was for him but one weapon in a formidable arsenal of expletives.  Not a single day passed that some outrage did not fall from his lips, causing my ears to burn and my heart to wonder how long I would have to endure such offense.  And yet I continued in his service, not merely because I had no choice (both of us, after all, were soldiers assigned to serve together), but because God gave me grace to look beyond the offense to see and benefit from the substantial qualities he possessed.  Those qualities included an encyclopedic knowledge of intelligence functions and procedures based on decades of hard experience.  He possessed as well a dogged determination to persevere through all opposition and achieve success in whatever goal he or his superiors established.  That determination sprang from his undying loyalty to the United States of America, and to his belief in the ultimate good of our mission in Iraq.  Yet none of that would have mattered in the least had this man lacked the greatest quality of all:  he regarded every person as having intrinsic value, and as a potential ally in achieving the goals set before him.  He may have spoken roughly, and even in private moments vented his frustration and anger, but he never diminished the value of the human beings in his charge, nor of those under whom he served.

We had occasion to work with military and civilian officials from a number of services and agencies.  Whether they were Army like us, or Marines, Air Force, or Navy, they were all “great Americans” in my boss’s opinion – if for no other reason than because they had volunteered to wear the uniform and be deployed to a Middle Eastern war zone.  He could not call our British, Australian, and German colleagues “great Americans”, but he did hold them in high esteem – while at the same time recognizing that the highest priorities for each of them were the interests of their own nations, not those of the United States.  The true professionals among us, regardless of nationality, recognized this.  We knew that at times there would be questions we could not ask and answers we could not give, but whenever and wherever possible we helped one another.

That “great American” description did extend to the civilian intelligence professionals we encountered.  Those men and women represented nearly all of the 16 agencies of the U.S. Intelligence Community.  The ones you would expect were all there:  each of the agencies of the military services, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA), the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the State Department.  Our office dealt mostly with the CIA, whom my boss lovingly called, “Klingons”.  Like our foreign counterparts, they, and all the other intelligence agencies, had their own priorities which were not necessarily the same as ours in the Department of Defense.  Their vision of how to support the national interests of the United States sometimes clashed with ours, and the means and resources at their disposal often put them at an advantage over us.  We had much reason to distrust them, but we had even more reason to work with them – just as the Start Trek heroes found reason to cooperate with the Klingons to defeat their common enemies.

We laugh at the description of the CIA as Klingons, but long before I arrived in Iraq I understood exactly what my boss meant.  Early in my tenure in Washington, DC, I had occasion to work with the CIA on a joint project.  Most of the people with whom I worked were intelligence analysts, people not very different from myself.  They were well educated, often from privileged backgrounds, highly academic (a reflection of the CIA culture), and professionally courteous.  As part of our project we had to consult with a different type of CIA employee.  This person was not an analyst.  Intelligence analysts look at information from various sources and put it together in different ways to understand what it means.  They are the friendly face of the CIA.  There is another face, however, and it is not very friendly.  That face belongs to the operators, the men and women who go about the difficult business of collecting the information.  They are consummate professionals, very good at what they do, but they are not the kind of people you would want in your social circle.  Quite often the name by which they introduce themselves is not the name their parents gave them at birth.  In the course of their duties they will have to do some questionable things, and perhaps even some very unpleasant things, to acquire information their agency has commissioned them to gain.

This was the kind of person with whom we met in that office on the CIA campus in Langley, Virginia long ago.  He was an impressive man, and one whom I admired for his courage and devotion to his country.  I could tell without asking that he had suffered much personal loss in service to the nation, and that my own poor service paled in comparison to his.  Yet we could not be friends, and we would have difficulty working together as colleagues.  His world was one I could not enter, and my world was one he would not find comfortable.  Nevertheless, my work could not continue without him, and without me his work would have no meaning.  That is why I have never forgotten the man, although our paths have never crossed since that day.

BFB151204 US Intelligence CommunityWhat would happen if this vast intelligence community in the service of the United States of America ceased to function as designed?  What if the various individuals and organizations within it forgot that they were all Americans, and instead placed their own personal agendas, or the name and reputation of their own agencies and services, above the interests of the country?  That is not a rhetorical question; I can tell you what would happen.  I have seen it.  What happens is a fragmentation of the national intelligence establishment. 

For the most part that establishment consists of good, honest people trying to do the best they can with limited resources and time.  They have a tendency to focus exclusively on the work right in front of them, whether it is office administration, counterterrorism analysis, national technical means of information collection, the number of tanks in the Russian Far Eastern Military District, or poppy production in Afghanistan.  They forget that there is a wider world out there, and that their work is but one small piece in a very, very big puzzle.  It does not take much to convince them that their piece is the most important.  Once convinced, it is but a small step toward competing with others to gain a greater share of attention and resources.  Having entered that arena, it is nothing to begin pushing others aside in ever more aggressive ways, taking resources and people away from them so that one’s own piece of the puzzle grows in size and importance, and the competitors’ pieces shrink, or disappear altogether.  In time the picture that emerges is distorted at best, magnifying certain things to the extreme, diminishing others, and ignoring important bits that would otherwise tie together the seemingly contradictory reports from various sources.  That is the picture which goes before high level decision makers like the commanders of our forces in the Middle East, and even the President himself.  Is it any wonder, therefore, that we have national disasters such as the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001?

My lesson from this should be clear.  National defense is a team effort.  I know my part of the effort, and my job is to do it to the best of my ability.  I do not know most of the millions of others involved in the effort, nor do I understand what they do.  I could not do what most of them do, nor could most of them do what I do.  Very few of them could be considered my friends, and most of them would probably never want to associate with me anyway.  Nevertheless, we need each other:  every warrior, every clerk, every mechanic, every technician, every lawyer, every cook, every aviator, every logistician, every sanitation worker.  If we do not find a way to cooperate, then this living, breathing organism we call the National Defense Establishment will fail, and with its failure the United States of America fails.

Is this any different from the living, breathing organism known as the Body of Messiah?

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Foundations of Ephraimite National Identity

Bney Yosef National Congress BannerThe first day of the Bney Yosef (Sons of Joseph) National Congress has concluded with great promise.  The delegates gathered at Ariel, Israel, among the hills of Samaria, are united in the understanding that the time has come at last for the Lord God to fulfill His promises to restore all of Israel in preparation for Messiah’s coming to establish His throne in Jerusalem.

It was my honor and privilege to present the first address to the Congress.  This presentation on Israelite identity met with a positive reception from the assembly.  I share it here as a glimpse into the matters we are deliberating.


Foundations of Northern Israelite (Ephraimite) National Identity

Albert Jackson McCarn

presented at the First Bney Yosef National Congress

Ariel, Israel

May 26, 2015

By this time I hope that all of us have had our first “moment” here in the Land. You who have enjoyed such an experience know what I mean: it is that instant when you know you are home at last. On Shavuot I had the honor of being present when such a moment came upon one of our brethren at the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem. Another brother shared his moment at the Har Bracha (Mount Gerizim, the Mount of Blessing; Deuteronomy 11:29, 27:12-13; Joshua 8:33) yesterday. My moment came last week at Caesarea. Allow me to share it with you.

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Do All Roads Lead to September?

Is the world as we know it about to change?  How is it about to change?  And when is this change going to happen?

To the first question I respond with an unqualified yes.  To the second I can only say, “In ways that no one expects – not even the most careful and prayerful observers.”  Regarding the third question, I submit that it is changing even now.  As a historian, political scientist, and former military professional, I can assert that the global political, economic, and military system of planet is undergoing a massive realignment such as has not occurred since World War I, and most likely not since the advent of the modern nation-state system in the 17th century.  That is the subject of two blog series published by The Barking Fox in 2014 (“When Empires Die:  Thoughts on the Centennial of World War I”; and “The Shemitah and the Yovel:  Examining the Relevance of God’s Appointed Times”

One sign of change is that people are now talking more openly about things that until recently were only whispered in secret.  For example, in two weeks a gathering of mature, dedicated, sincere followers of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ), along with a number of reputable Jewish colleagues who do not agree with Yeshua’s Messiaship, are meeting in Israel to discuss how the growing Messianic/Hebrew Roots Movement among non-Jewish believers is part of YHVH’s promised restoration of the “Lost Ten Tribes” of Ephraim (Northern Israel).  Such a thing would have been laughable a few short years ago, but now there is genuine reason to believe the prophesied restoration of the entire nation of Israel is in motion.

That is a happy example of these changes now discussed openly.  A not-so-happy example comes from what would be considered “conspiracy theory”.  Is a global conspiracy about to enthrone a totalitarian regime that will bring down the nations of the world, and our personal freedoms as well?  If so, what are we to do?  Or can we do anything?

I have paid some attention to these rumors of conspiracy over the years in the interest of seeing whether there is any substance to them.  Perhaps there is.  What is certain is that events in the United States and elsewhere in the world are moving in directions that have brought great concern among people I respect and consider knowledgeable.  Recently I have had conversations with family, friends, and associates that indicate they are all watching developments and wondering what it all means.  I have no specific answers, but I can pass on something that might help.  Bonnie Harvey of Hebrew Nation News has published an article which looks at several streams of reporting on events that seem to point to a culmination point of some kind this coming September.  Is there any substance to this?  Let the informed and prayerful reader decide.

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Winning By Losing

The Arabic letter "N" ("noon"), indicating "Nasrani", or Christian (Nazarene).  IS has placed this letter on the homes of Christians in Iraq as a warning to convert ot Islam, pay the Jizya tax for non-Muslims, or be executed.

The Arabic letter “N” (“noon”), indicating “Nasrani”, or Christian (Nazarene). IS has placed this letter on the homes of Christians in Iraq as a warning to convert to Islam, pay the Jizya tax for non-Muslims, or be executed.  (Reposted from the blog by Australian youth pastor Dave Miers.)

The world’s attention has at last focused on the genocide happening in Iraq.  Tragically, this story is not new.  What is new is that the Islamic State (IS) has undertaken the brutal, systematic eradication of every group that does not adhere to its barbaric and quite literal interpretation of Islam.  The murder, rape, starvation, and enslavement of Iraq’s minorities who have refused to convert to Islam is now making headlines in the mainstream media.  Hopefully all the world now knows about the Yezidis of Iraq who have suffered these brutalities, many thousands of whom are only now finding refuge after being trapped on the Sinjar Mountains.

Yet the Yezidis are not alone in this suffering.  The Christians of Iraq have undergone severe persecution since 2003.  The estimated Christian population of Iraq in the 1990s was 1.2 million; today it is perhaps 300,000.  Many have fled to the Kurdish region of Iraq, where they have found refuge.  Many others have fled the region altogether, finding new lives as refugees.  The plight of Iraq’s Christians prompted Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) to speak out recently, saying on the floor of Congress, “Christianity as we know it in Iraq is being wiped out.”  His remarks highlighted the atrocities of the Islamic State against Christians in Mosul, indicting the United States and the West for silence on this matter.  Congressman Wolf called on the church to speak out on behalf of Christians who have been persecuted in the extreme, not only in Iraq, but in Egypt, Africa, and elsewhere that Islamic extremists have taken control.  He could also have mentioned Syria, where the Christian population has been literally under siege since the civil war in that nation began in 2011.

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“When Troubles Come”: A Tribute to Dr. Edgar M. Arendall

How do children learn to be adults?  More importantly, how do they learn to be real men and real women?  More importantly still, how do they learn to be godly men and godly women?  Two men of God, Moses and the Apostle Paul, give us the answer:

Hear, O Israel:  The Lord our God, the Lord is one!  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  (Deuteronomy 6:4-8 NKJV, emphasis added)

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.  (II Timothy 2:1-2 NKJV)

Molding godly people out of irresponsible children is a task for mature, godly men and women who determine purposefully to pass on what they know.  It is a conscious decision which carries weighty responsibility and a lifetime commitment.  The heartaches can be many and wearisome, but the rewards are far greater, not only for the individual, but for all humanity, and for the Kingdom of God.  Few answer the call of godly mentorship and discipleship.  That is a tragedy played out before our eyes in broken lives and broken nations.  And yet it only takes a few to reverse that trend.  One man may speak volumes into the lives of many young people.  Our Messiah Yeshua showed us the model; the 12 men He discipled changed the entire world.

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Fox Byte #15:  The Trouble with Death

Ossuary of Douaumont Verdun, France

Ossuary of Douaumont
Verdun, France

Why exactly does God want to kill us?  Sure, He wants us totally committed to His team, but where does death come into it – especially since His promise is to give us eternal life?

The death comes in losing our lives for Yeshua’s sake (Matthew 10:38-39).  What God has to kill in us is our sin nature – that old selfish programming that steers us away from His perfect way.  Even though we believe in Yeshua and are saved, our sin nature keeps on fighting.  No one is immune to this.  Even the apostle Paul said he often did the things he hated rather than the good things he knew he should do because of the sin still hanging on inside him (Romans 7:13-24).

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