Monday, May 30, 2005

Who are we?

Reliable reports (from our own military) out of Iraq & Afghanistan show that a "surprising" number of enemy combatants have been...murdered by our personnel. Murdered?
Yes, that is the right word. Of the 108 deaths which have to date occurred during captivity, 27 were categorized as one form or another of felonious homicide. Some people have been killed during interrogations or "softening up" exercises prior to interrogations. Others have been shot and killed after having surrendered to our troops.

What can a patriotic American say about this?

War is an unnatural state for man - and he often responds in an unnatural way...indeed to stay alive, he often must.

Additionally, we are fighting an enemy who daily uses mind bendingly cruel and brutal practices in contravention of every rule by which "civilized" nations practice warfare.

Furthermore, there can be no doubt that we are fighting this war with one hand behind our back - and the other more often filled with conciliatory platitudes than weaponry.

We are faced not only by irregular forces who think nothing of using women and children as shields - but by our own Main Stream Media, who in their hubris, have decided that our military is more of a threat to peace than Saddam, Osama or Kim Jong Il.

Against all this our military continues to persevere and - alongside a staggeringly brave group of Iraqis - is slowly creating a modern nation-state.

Therefore, after reading of the latest outrage by fundamentalist and fascist insurgents, my first response to this - gut level and testosterone laiden - is: Great! That's 108 less assholes to deal with.

Or, after reading about a civilian aid worker being beheaded, my humor level is pretty close to that of Abbot Arnaud-Amaury, who in 1209 at the sacking of Beziers, famously said, "Caedite eos! Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius." (Kill them all! God will know his own.)

Well, I certainly feel better after having said that.


Then I remember that an integral part of what we are trying to do in Iraq, Afghanistan and indeed the Middle East in general is convince the people there that what we represent is BETTER than that which they have and is certainly an improvement over that which our enemies offer. We are trying to demonstrate that an economically successful, secular, democratic republic can still have the moral determination necessary to do right and see it through. It's been said repeatedly - and I can add little to the argument that:

If we sink to the level of our enemies we don't have that moral strength which we claim.

It undercuts our arguments. Further, it hands ammunition to the cowards and defeatists who claim we can't win and should never have tried. I hate the idea of strengthening the arguments of those who assert that we should get out immediately and put our collective head back in the sand.

The U.S. and its allies have already lit the fuse on a democratic revolution. The desire for self-determination has manifested itself in places and among people that our academic and policy elites have long said were incapable of it. Recent events have inspired hope in many who previously dared not permit themselves that luxury. Were this revolution to succeed, the Middle East could rapidly go from security threat to economic threat. Given my choice of threats, I'd take economic any day.

With all that we stand to gain:

1. We must not let our enemies be right about us.

2. We must not aid the media in its attempts to weaken popular resolve at home.

3. We must not permit homegrown, internal enemies of freedom any even remotely valid argument that equates us with the Fascists we're currently fighting every day in Iraq & Afghanistan.

If we sink to the level of our enemies we will have conceded that they may be right and we will have dealt our own cause a grievous wound.

As great a cause as it is, there is no cause great enough to justify a revocation of the rule of law. Those who attempt such a justification immediately doom their own cause.

Today, on Memorial Day, I want to think that those, living and dead, who for over 200 years have maintained their faith in America - as an idea worth believing in and fighting for - can remain proud of the efforts of their fellow citizen soldiers.

The good news is that our military appears to be taking appropriate and serious action to punish those who have perpetrated these crimes.

My faith - in our cause and in that for which we continue to stand - is not shaken; although it is assaulted almost daily.

And while the direction from which some of these assaults come is as baffling as it is disheartening, I believe that the idea of America that I keep in my heart also remains unsullied in the hearts of the VAST majority of those who today wear the uniform of our armed forces.

Make no mistake: The "Rule of Law" is the greatest thing we have to offer the world. Let all peoples see that we hold no one above it. If they see that, then nothing Al Jazeera, CNN or Newsweek can do will deter them from standing up for themselves. They will rally to their own defense and our job will be all but done.

May God rest and take unto Him all those who have died to keep alive the idea of America.

And may God save our Republic.


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