I’ve been thinking (sometimes a dangerous thing). With all the demoguogery aimed at the military and the almost sure Democratic victory in ’08, there’s a lot to ponder.
During the Clinton years, the military was gutted, greatly defunded, and benefits taken away from retirees and some taken away from short timers, too. Other changes that occurred over time since the end of the Cold War cannot all be attributed to Clinton’s years but a sum total of the complacency with which we viewed what we believed to be a relatively benign world. The advent of the personal computer and easy access to the internet brought cultures together from across the world. Some with whom we had formed lasting bonds became bitter enemies after 9/11/01 as former friends took sides in the coming conflict.
The biggest problem with the war on terror is there is no country to which one can point and say this is where the enemy is because the enemy is in every country, including our own. I do not say this to frighten anyone nor is it a statement of sensationalism. It is simply a fact of the state of the world.
Many of our leaders believe we should concentrate on Al Qaeda only when Al Qaeda is but one part of the terrorists’ community. There are other parts that, together make up the whole, including the now deceased former dictator of Iraq. Iraq is but one front in the war on terror, albeit a particularly onerous one.
If we do not win in Iraq, we lose the war on terror, plainly and simply. There are military reasons why Iraq is important in the war on terror. To list and explain those reasons fully are the subjects of books, not a blog post. I’m not sure I understand many of the reasons myself, but then, I’m not a military expert and don’t claim to be one.
The enemy we face today is not one that can be appeased by anything but total surrender; surrender to their authority and their religion. Nor can our enemies waiting in the wings such as N. Korea and considering currents events, Russia and China are trying to reconstitute the Cold War as a prelude to armed conflict. Appeasement has been tried for decades with few long lasting results. Bargaining has been tried as well… with few long lasting results.
No one loves war but there are times when war is the only answer. We are in one of those times. After 9/11 it was said that the forces of radical Islam awoke the sleeping giant. We woke and saw the dangers all around us, not only from radical Islam but others who would like nothing better than to see America die to assuage their bitter envy and spite. Many of us are still asleep, sent back into a peaceful slumber by the lullaby: “If only we stop, they will stop” lulling you into ignoring the fact that we weren’t at war with Al Qaeda when it committed it’s great attrocity on 9/11/01, while they take no responsibility and have no commitment to the oath they took upon accepting the office to which they were elected.
Of course they’ll stop but only long enough to regroup, rebuild, and plan new attrocities with which to attack us. For them, there is no end until they are completely victorious.
To hear our congressional leaders villify our military the way they have done for at least the last three years, the most recent of which are their attacks on General Petraeus, nauseates me. I would hope it would nauseate anyone with an ounce of decency but I suppose many would say that’s too optimistic of me. To hear reports of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial defaced sickens me to my soul.
Placing our military under a cloud of hate for political gains is a double-edged sword. I hope the anti-military/anti-war crowd are sliced royally from the edge upon which they sit. When next we are attacked by forces whose greatest wish is to destroy us, I wonder if there will be anyone to answer the call, considering the way their service to this nation is viewed.