Putting On the Full Armor of God

A true story from the eve of the invasion of Iraq

Back in early February 2003, a mere six weeks before the U.S. invaded Iraq, a nation's leaders gathered for a formal day of prayer. The leader of the country was there, along with his top military person, his chief spy, and more than half of that nation's lawmakers.

Various people spoke at this ceremony. Finally, the nation's chief spy walked up to the podium and, with no introductory remarks, told the audience:

God teaches us to be resolute in the face of evil, using all of the weapons and armor that the word of God supplies.

Citing one of the major works of his nation's dominant religion, the chief spy continued:

We're told, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stance against the devil's schemes. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the principalities, against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Therefore, put on the whole armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground and after you have done everything to stand, stand firm then with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of justice in place and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes with the gospel of peace.

Take up the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God, and pray at all times.

Citing another tract of his nation's religious works, the chief spy continued:

At the same time, the word of God also calls us to a life of forgiveness and mercy. … We are told, love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back, despairing of no one, and your reward will be great and you will be the sons and daughters of most high, because He is kind to the ungrateful and selfish.

Be merciful even as your father is merciful. Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you.

A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you give will be the measure you get back. The word of the Lord.

And having said that, George Tenet sat down.

The National Prayer Breakfast, on February 6, 2003, at the Washington Hilton in D.C., was nearly over. The invasion of Iraq would begin the next month. Questions about how good the armor was wouldn't arise until later.


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