Saturday, May 26, 2007

Memorial Day and Iraq

Eight more American GI's died today, fighting for the preservation of freedom as a way of life. Many will say that their lives were wasted in a war that we shouldn't be involved in. They will lament the loss of young men and women whose lives had just begun and who should have been able to live many more years on this earth. Sadly, they will also politicize the war and will preach the foolhardiness of attempting to bring freedom elsewhere.

But ask the GI's who are fighting in our volunteer armed forces, and one might be surprised at the clear-headed conviction with which they do their jobs. This isn't Vietnam. These young men and women are more informed and seem to know better just what they are fighting for.

Ignoring the stupidity of any war for just a moment, we must finally, if we are honest, admit that sometimes war is inevitable and necessary. Nothing could have appeased Hitler; no amount of sanctions could have ever changed Saddam Hussein; and no negotiations nor any amount of logic can turn radical Islamic fundamentalists into the friends of modern civilization.

Young men and women, good Americans, are dying. They are sacrificing their lives for what they believe is important and in the best interests of America. And they are there based on those convictions, hoping to ultimately make this a better world. Whether one believes that they can achieve that end result or not doesn't change their valor one iota.

We go about our lives here at home, insulated from the grim realities of the war. The news blares about American Idol or Paris Hilton, and the world of shallow gets thinner everyday. Who are these men and women that are dying? Will posterity remember them? Over 40,000 American servicemen lost their lives during the riots in the Philipines shortly after the island chain became an American possession at the end of the Spanish-American War. Certainly those lost lives had meaning to the families that loved them. Did they make any difference for the better common good? Only god knows that answer.

It is different in Iraq. There, people were being murdered by the tens of thousands under Saddam Hussein. That has stopped and been replaced with a tit-for-tat reprisal effort that was easily predictable, and which will continue for decades. But beyond all that, there is something else. There is great hope and expectation, by those that are giving their lives there. The hope is less than it was previously, as perhaps are the expectations, but the young men and women who are there are dedicated professionals and a better fighting force than the United States has ever had before.

I hope and pray that the politicians can start to realize that what this country needs are statesmen, not the seedy politics and partisanship that has been so systematically practiced in this country in recent history. Look at the brave young minds that go out in the name of freedom to try to make a better world, and be shamed by them if you are a partisan of any political party with a narrow interest agenda. Let us as Americans remember the best of us who will never come back to enjoy the shallow world of everyday life in America, and let us show our anger against any politician, celebrity, or populist who tries to capitalize on their great sacrifices.

They gave their lives for us, as did the soldiers of generations before them. Let us never forget that as we go about our daily lives, largely unfettered by the malevolent forces in the world, which would like to see the great experiment that is America destroyed.

The soldiers, god bless them all.

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