Patriot Day. 9/11. The day the world stopped turning. Whatever you call it, today is a day of remembrance. Remember those who died for the crime of being on-time to work that day. Remember those who loved those who died; every year is a new time to be reminded of their loss.
In the remembering, though, we would be remiss if we did not remember the complacency which left us vulnerable, and the lack of response to previous attacks that left the attackers emboldened. I fear that, 12 years removed from that day, we are once again sliding into that complacency; we’re war-weary, as evidenced by the general public’s opposition to any action in Syria. I’m right there with them; I have no desire to continue or start any conflict, I simply want to live in peace.
However, peace requires vigilance against those who would use our peace and freedom against us. It also requires vigilance against those who would restrict our freedom in the name of peace. And, so, we will never see true peace while evil remains with us. Earlier this year, Boston showed us that just because we’ve “won” wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the problem of terrorism persists. We are stuck with evil for the rest of our nation’s existence; my hope is that, doing my part for my generation, we can push that succumbing to evil out to many, many years in the future.
I saw this in a parking lot yesterday, accompanied by the Marine Corps symbol…
GIVE WAR A CHANCE!
Heh - maybe we could have a rally. Instead of Woodstock, New York, we’ll gather in Woodstock, Georgia. :) We could have some long-haired folk singer start singing “What the world… needs now… is war… this war… Our freedom is the thing… that al-Qaeda’s dyin’ for…” (my apologies to Jackie DeShannon)
What people bring you joy in your life? Take a few minutes to think about that. It could be your children - seeing the next generation grow up before your eyes is breathtaking. It could be your parents - it’s easy to form a strong bond with the people who guided you as you grew up, especially once you’re an adult and realize that they did actually know what they were talking about. It could also be your siblings - brothers and sisters usually use each other for fighting partners, but unite against someone outside the family that comes against any of them. It could be your neighbors - people with whom you share a piece of land, evenings and weekends, and common values. It could be anyone, really, and it’s not limited to one person, or even one group. I hope that each of you reading this has many people from all these groups.
Now, think about where you would fit in other people’s lists. Who loves you? Who enjoys your company? Whom do you help to move furniture, or some other more-than-one-person household chore? Surely this list is long as well.
Now, imagine giving it all up. Give up the family, the friend, the acquaintances, and let them all give up you. That’s not a pretty thought, is it? It’s also not an uncommon occurrence - over the course of our nation’s history, nearly 2.8 million people have done just that. Here’s how that breaks down…
Revolutionary War - 10,623
War of 1812 - 6,765
Mexican-American War - 17,435
Civil War - 970,227
Spanish-American War - 4,108
World War I - 320,710
World War II - 1,078,162
Korean War - 136,935
Vietnam War - 211,471
Gulf War I - 760
Gulf War II - 3,000+
2,759,436 - that’s roughly the population of Chicago. And, when you look at the highest numbers of casualties outside the Civil War, where they were all American casualties, the main fighters in World War I through Vietnam were drafted. The majority of them did not choose that path for themselves - it was chosen for them. Yet, they went, they gave it their all, and in doing so, we prevailed and freedom was maintained. Also, these numbers don’t include the brave men and women who have died in non-combat military operations and training exercises. Though their deaths were not on the battlefield, they were on duty; you can’t win a war with an unprepared military.
On this Memorial Day, think of the sacrifice that has been made over the past 230+ years to secure our freedom. And, remember those who, even as I write this, are risking their lives to preserve our freedom. Thank God for such men and women of courage and bravery, and may He continue to richly bless this land.
Several things are converging at once, and I believe they’re related. Tuesday was a busy day, so I’ll explain each, and then how they could be.
First, the hard-working 101st Congress started their 4-day work-week, after taking Monday off for the BCS championship game. (They should have taken Tuesday off instead of Monday, so they could sleep in Tuesday morning after the late finish.) This is the now Democrat-controlled House and Senate - the legislative body we’ll have to deal with for the next two years.
Second, we have Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), on the heels of his joint letter with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) expressing opposition to increasing troop levels, announced that there will be a symbolic resolution voted on in the Senate next week opposing any escalation in the war in Iraq. (This is in the 4th paragraph under the heading “Dems considering options”.) That link also has a full story on the bill that Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy (D-MA) introduced to require Congressional approval for any troop increases in Iraq. This bill is a clear usurpation of executive power, and will not pass muster - however, its introduction and the accompanying rhetoric sends a message. (Mr. Kennedy also gave a speech at the National Press Club in which he was highly critical of the President and his Iraq policy. While I would love to give his speech the proper fisking it deserves (and may if I have the time), I’ll quote one of the more egregious portions here…)
But I do not retreat from the view that Iraq is George Bush’s Vietnam. At the critical moment in the war on terrorism, the administration turned away from pursuing Osama bin Laden and made the catastrophic choice instead that has bogged down America in an endless quagmire in Iraq.
Our misguided resort to war has created much more and much more intense anti-American feeling than Osama bin Laden ever dreamed of. And the sooner we reverse that distressing trend, the better.
I am convinced that John Kerry could have worked with the international community to end that war and bring our troops home with honor.
Third, the first open fighting of the year broke out in Baghdad, where Iraqi forces went after an insurgent stronghold after the insurgents killed over 100 people. The Iraqi forces called for US backup, and together they prevailed, but not after 10-hour firefight.
Are these three things related? If they are, there are two different ways that it could be. The most likely, and the way I believe these are related, is that the militant element in Iraq is emboldened by this new leadership. They hear the rhetoric from our newly-elected leaders, and they sense that the will of the American people may be waning. They feel that if they step up their attacks, and engage in open hostilities, that they will help those in this country who want us to pull out. We’ve known for a long time that terrorists prefer Democrats - remember Osama bin Laden’s tape before the 2004 elections, threatening states that voted for President Bush? If this is what this turns out to be, I pray that we have the will to fight off this renewed zeal on the part of the terrorists.
Another option is that the Congressional Democrats are using the fighting in Iraq as a political issue. (Of course, the media goes right along with them - look at the first paragraph of this story about Sen. Tim Johnson’s emergency brain surgery.) The worse the war goes, the better the Democrats look. I think that a lot of them are not realizing what this means. The Democrats have positioned themselves on the wrong side of this issue. If America loses the war, they win - their prognostications of doom and gloom will have been proved to be true, and they can give the rest of us a big “I told you so.” However, if America wins, they lose - and they will only be madder, and more resentful; they will never admit that our nation did the right thing by going into Iraq. Of course, in a way, they’ve already gotten a small victory; at the beginning, I never would have used the term “if America wins,” it would have been “when America wins.”
Where is the truth? Are these related at all? If they’re not directly related, then they are at least mutually beneficial - which should be enough for any of us that love truth and freedom (and don’&t want the blood of our brothers in arms to have been spilt in vain) to know what side we should be on. Contrary to what Congress seems to think, the American people do not elect and seat 435 "Commander-in-Chief"s every two years - we elect one every four years. For the next two years, there is one Commander in Chief, with a new Secretary of Defense. If the Democrats have ideas for how to win the war, then let them work together with the administration so that we will prevail. If all they have is grandstanding, naysaying, and threats of treasonous proportions, then they need to sit down and shut up.
Why would a patriotic American position themselves so that they are only validated if America loses? The short answer - they wouldn’t.