"It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom - for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself."
The Declaration of Arbroath - April 6th, 1320
American Thinker:by Michael O’Shea
Snipers aim for a soldier’s heart; congressional leaders aim for theheart of why he serves: Honor, Country, Duty to both. But tocongressional leaders, there’s no honor in Iraq. There can’t be: it’simmoral. Illegal. And it’s not even their country’s war: it’s Bush’s.
Telling parents their child died for George Bush is telling Christa McAuliffe’s folks she died for Ronald Reagan.
JFK committed the US to space, but it wasn’t his race — it wasAmerica’s. Astronauts knew the risks, the myriad of things that couldgo wrong, yet signed on, boosted by their countrymen as much as byrockets. There’s no such lift for soldiers today; they’re stranded,ignored unless exploited, gains unseen, achievements unheard. The Tombof the Unknowns isn’t only in Arlington.
It’s one thing for leaders to oppose a mission, another to undermineit; one thing to make course corrections, another to sabotage the ship,one thing to overhaul an engine, another to wreck it in flight. Thetime to abort a mission is before it’s launched. Once launched, it’sall hands on deck. But for congressional leaders, it’s every man forhimself.
It’s not rifles or smart bombs or Humvees or night vision that separate American troops from others: it’s Honor.
Walter Reed can give soldiers news limbs, but where do they gethonor lost? There was honor in firemen’s fight to save those in TwinTowers, honor in Flight 93’s Todd Beamer struggling to save those onthe ground in D.C., honor at D-Day, honor in Desert Storm: but tocongressional leaders there is no honor in Iraq: only pity.
And potshots at America’s new ally.
Every problem in Iraq is being attacked in Iraq by Iraqis and Americans together, yet congressional leaders snipe.Snipe that Iraqis wouldn’t choose democracy: they have.Snipe that Iraqis wouldn’t approve a constitution: they have.Snipe that Iraqis wouldn’t share oil revenues: they have.Snipe that Iraqis wouldn’t reintegrate former Baathists: they have.Snipe that Iraqis wouldn’t fire corrupt commanders: they have.Snipe that Iraqis wouldn’t turn against Sadr: they have.Snipe that Iraqis wouldn’t turn against Al Qaeda: they have.Snipe that Iraqis wouldn’t welcome American troops: they have.Snipe that Iraqis troops are cowards: they’re not.Snipe that Iraqis politicians are bickering, partisan, and self-serving.Yet congressional leaders bicker on, partisan on, self-serve on,proclaiming all the while Iraqis will never be statesmen like them.
Statesmanship may be the stance, but hunting is the game, the bigger the game the better.
Summon a general shouldering 160,000 American lives — his own sonsoon to be among them - to an ambush disguised as a hearing and toblasts, disguised as “disbelief,” that he lies.
Demand the head of a general, this one Marine, Vietnam vet, 40 yearsdedicated to his country, whose name itself — Pace — means “Peace” inhis father’s native Italy, telling him he can’t be trusted with thefuture of America’s fighters because of his past with America’sfighters, his own son included. To his peers he’s a man of integrity,to congressional leaders he’s unfit.
No matterthat he pledged and lived a life of sacred honor,fought, as Vice-Chairman and then Joint Chiefs Chairman, to assure that troops shall not have died in vain,that more Marines — 5,521 — died from five weeks at Iwo Jim than all services have in four years in Iraq.Congressional leaders demanded his head. Marines routed Al Qaeda inAnbar: on Capitol Hill, they haven’t got a chance. Such are the ways ofleaders paying lip service to troops while kissing up to backers.
Who exploited Abu Ghraib more — Al Qaeda or congressional leaders?How many leaders came to troops’ defense saying those few betrayedtheir buddies and their commanders, their commander-in-chief included?
Wronging prisoners is a capital offense; wronging military leadersis a Capitol pastime. Friendly fire in battle is deplorable; on CapitolHill, it’s routine. Collateral damage is despicable, collateral damageto troops matters as much to congressional leaders as nursery tots didto Timothy McVeigh.
Congressional leaders love to mesmerize, hypnotize, repeating againand again that Iraq is a fiasco staged by Bush, waged by Bush,controlled by Bush, unaltered by Bush, conducted by Bush.
Unanimous advice of the Joints Chiefs? Never mentioned. Unanimousjudgment of the world’s intelligence communities? Never heard.Unanimous resolutions by the UN Security Council? Never happened.Unanimous conclusion by the 9/11 Commission that a failed Iraq will bethe top breeding ground for attacks against Americans? Never mind.
Iraq isn’t a quagmire — it’s a crucible. Masks are burned off,character stands bare, make-up is wiped off, what you’re made of showsthrough.
Rob troops of honor, parents of belief, Iraqis of hope: and what’sleft? A world peopled by the two-faced. Abandon hope all who enter here.
And prepare to be lulled by their lullaby. Within their worldthere’s no Heaven, no Hell below us, Above us only sky, no countries,nothing to kill or die for, no religion too, no possessions, no needfor greed or hunger, all the people living for today, living life inpeace, sharing all the world, the world will live as one: just Imagine.Thus it is sung, thus it is sold. What a wonderful world it would be.
But that world is not this world. That world has no snakes; this onedoes. That world has no rapists, killers, thieves, child molesters;this one does. And this world has terrorists. Only in an imaginaryworld would they vanish
Only in their imaginary world would Saddam not have rearmed assanctions ended and as he pledged. Only in their imaginary world wouldthere beno North Koreans arming Saddam with outlawed missiles,no weapons experts snuck in past inspectors’ eyes,no Iraqi experts ordered not to leave,no millions siphoned from Oil for Food,no UN officials bribed,no “friends” kicking back,no financing terrorist attacks on Israel,no race with Iran to nuclear-arm,no Libya nuclear-arming already,no A.Q. Kahn exposed since there’d be no one to expose him,no No-Fly zones since there’d be no sanctions,no attacks on Kurds north and Shias south when Saddam was again free,no mass graves, rapist rooms, wires electrocuting testicles,no millions of barrels of oil gushing out, billions of bucks gushing back in,no haven offered to Al Qaeda when Afghanistan was attacked but Iraq was not.All they are saying is give peace a chance: Saddam had 17.
How different the world would be were today’s congressional leadersin power in 1957. Three years earlier, Brown v. Board of Education;three years later, Arkansas National Guardsmen blocking blacks fromenrolling in Little Rock Central High. Ike sends the 101st Airborne,nationalizes Arkansas National Guard, Blacks integrate, Supreme Courtenforced.
But congressional leaders, content with Saddam like Orval Faubus waswith segregation, would have pled for the status quo, letting theSupreme Court issue opinions — and the UN issue resolutions — but Godforbid they ever be enforced.
Like Ike, Washington and Lincoln faced challenges unsought yetsought victory. Such times would cow today’s congressional leaders.They not only seek defeat now, they’d tell the world how to defeatAmerica again: homemade bombs, Hollywood stars, andheroic-to-themselves bloggers are all that’s required.
Blue Angel pilots soar due to crews on the ground and Americansbacking those crews in return. Soldiers succeed in combat because ofteam support and Americans, in turn, supporting those teams. But that’shistory. Marcus Welby is passé, Jack Kevorkian is Chief of Staff, Rosiethe Riveter dims, Susan Sarandon shines.
Congressional leaders — Saddam’s defense team — proclaim they knownow what they didn’t know then and thus would have let Saddam go. Intheir imaginary world with their imaginary friends Schroeder andChirac, they’d have contained him. No sweat, no threat.
Nor would there have been lessons learned from Iraq because there’dhave been no Iraq to learn lessons from. IEDs — kryptonite in Iraq —wouldn’t have exploded nor would suicide bombers. There’d be noprotesters: no soldier deaths to protest.
Congressional leaders would flood Afghanistan with troops and bewelcomed as liberators, no formerly anti-Soviet turned anti-Americanjihadists among them. Poppies would disappear, democracy would pop upin a civilization, like Iraq, thousands of years old. Bin Laden wouldbe seized or, should he flee to Pakistan, tribal Pakistanis - with noIraq invasion to goad them to ally with the US - would embrace Americantroops and rally to rout Al Qaeda.
We’ve seen this play — and this ploy — before. Washing their handsof a war whose unpopularity they helped create, concocting Pilateprograms so they didn’t get nailed, they ask not, What is truth?, butWhat is Honor?
Such is the imaginary world of imaginary leaders — pretenders to the throne, pretenders to the noble, pretenders to good.
Little boys love toy soldiers; little leaders love toying withsoldiers, toying with honor, playing heart games, mind games, whileaffirming they can touch hearts, touch minds of Muslims around theworld.
Contrast congressional leaders’ world with the one war fighters see:a man who had weapons before and swore he’d have them again — and use them again — is gone;a people terrorized for decades are free from him but not from AlQaeda, not from neighbors, not from other terrorists in their midst.There’s honor in helping them, or should be. There’s an ally gainedfrom helping them through their stumbles and struggles, or can be.There’s security for America as Iraq’s enemies who are America’senemies are annihilated. But sacrifice and selflessness are notcongressional leaders’ style.
Theirs is a world of one-liners and put-downs, cartoonists andcomedians, in-crowds and the trendy and the fashionable and zingers,sermons about imposing democracy while foisting civil war, rants aboutHalliburton while the real war profiteer, Michael Moore, waddles away.In their world Cindy Sheehan marches into combat; in a soldier’s world,medics would get her help. Billed as a world peaceful and loving,beneath the mask it’s a world of bullies and cut-throats, soothing onthe outside, savage within.
A soldier’s world is one of straight-shooters, in more ways thanone. Asked if more troops will likely die in Iraq, David Petraeusanswered, Yes. Asked if billions more will be spent, David Petraeus,answered, Yes. Asked if Iraq was worth it, David Petraeus answered,Sir, I wouldn’t be here, and I wouldn’t have made the recommendationsthat I have made if I did not believe that…this is about continuing tocommit yourself to something that is bigger than self.No wonder congressional leaders have lost faith; faith in themselves isthe only faith they’ve ever had. Soldiers have faith in something, andsomeone, bigger.
Iraq is about faith: faith that our troops know what they’refighting for, faith that their commanders do everything they can to seethem through and see them live; faith that Iraqis want to live free;faith that their prime minister is risking his life — like theslaughtered sheik leading Anbar against Al Qaeda — for his country andnot for spoils; faith that all men are endowed by their Creator withinalienable rights; faith that American civilian leaders do their bestwith the light they have for one nation under God.
There are honorable Democrats in Congress. The majority of House and Senate leaders are not among them
Nor is a senator, strengthened by sips from Lake Superior, scoldingGeneral Abizaid that hope is not a method. To which he replied, Despairis not a method.
Despair: literally meaning? “Hopeless.”
The only thing hopeless about Iraq is congressional leaders.
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