Monday, June 18, 2007

All Will Come Right

"All will come right." - Winston Churchill

The United States of America have never before in their history lost a war where their survival was at stake - or where their survival as a united nation very well might have been at stake. We've overcome literal British invasions, preserved the Union in a great Civil War, trounced the Nazis with the help of our allies, and outlasted the Soviet Union. America survived the Great Depression intact, and didn't need to become a fascist dictatorship (like some countries in Europe did) in order to do so.

Yes, we've run into obstacles - in Korea, when the Chinese intervened. In Vietnam, where guerrilla warfare tactics combined with the Communist AND nationalist sentiment of the natives taxed our moral, political and military resources. Sure, the Soviets beat us into space first...but we beat them to the Moon.

In the Civil War, still the only war in American history that can claim to have taken the most American lives, the rebellious Confederate States possessed leaders who very well could have secured the secessionists independence had their cause the ability to last long enough; this, while the Union went through general after general who seemingly didn't have the right stuff. In the end, the South's loss was America's - and the former Confederate States' - gain.

After all of the struggles America has survived, the enemies we've encountered, the hardships Americans have endured - after all that, how can a bunch of Muslim marauders pose any existential threat to our Republic's existence? In the days of Thomas Jefferson, we took on the Barbary Pirates, North African raiders espousing Islam and
jihad as their inspiration. To the shores of Tripoli went our Marines, and today the Navy that was borne of that conflict with Muslim pirates is the envy of the world.


Why are we so afraid of these "punks"? Because they're on TV all the time, proclaiming their assured victory? What, you believe everything you see on TV? Osama bin Laden or Hassan Nasrallah or one of their deputies says "We're gonna win," and we're just supposed to stock up our cellars or basements and expect the worst? Since when?

Just because we can't trust our own government means we should trust stateless terrorists instead? No. Actually, I do trust those terrorists - when they say they want to kill my fellow citizens, they generally try to do so. That isn't, I must emphasize, a point in their favor. Very much the opposite. But it does mean we should take them at their word - and do our best to stop them.

Yes, we're losing brave men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan...but we're not losing battles. What's happened in the Gaza Strip, with the Islamofascists of Hamas taking over buildings and territory, isn't generally the story in Iraq. With the help of the Northern Alliance back in 2001 and 2002, the war for territory was fought and won in Afghanistan. Doesn't mean the fight is over - but that was a huge accomplishment that's lasted.


I'm not ignoring the mistakes that we've made - there've been plenty of those. I don't think we should be defined solely by our failures, or judged using only our mistakes as a reference point. We're only human - just like our critics.

Just like our enemies.


Sure, terrorists these days seemingly have the ability to strike anywhere in Iraq - but you know what? So do we. What about on a worldwide scale? Terrorists had to hijack planes to destroy buildings in New York - we can freely fly planes off of giant boats to destroy buildings anywhere in the world where we find that threats to our safety may be using them.

We didn't lose the war to depose Saddam Hussein - but admittedly, we're not fighting correctly the war to secure the peace in the chaos of his wake. That's not the fault of the soldiers in Baghdad - it's the fault of the politicians in Washington.


Even so, we have to blame ourselves, too. How many Americans who complain about the government have
ever in their life voted in any general election? Just as (or more) importantly, I wonder how many of those Americans who do vote end up later washing their hands of their choice, Pilate-style, when something goes wrong. How often do voters conveniently forget that they are the ones who give the power to those who abuse it?

Going further, I must many adult Americans, before one or other of the Gulf Wars, could find Iraq on a map? This isn't to say that being able to do so would have prevented war. And I'm not reversing my opinion, that is, that going to war to take down Saddam was justified.

I'm merely saying, in closing, that if we've gone so far astray from that which has made us strong, great and confident enough to accomplish what we have and persevere in the face of challenges and struggles as a nation for over 230 years, it helps to remember that there's plenty of blame to go around. We should accept our share, move forward past the cynicism - and do what must be done so that, in Iraq or anywhere else, we can believe in winning once again.

If we can do that, that half-American former British PM said in the quote I included at the beginning..."All will come right."


P.S. While I understand the motivation of world governments to resume aid to the Palestinian Authority now that Abbas has formed a government sans Hamas, I can't help but think we're rewarding the Palestinians, once again, for another opportunity they missed all on their own. What kind of message does that send?

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