Marines.Together We Served

Monday, June 18, 2007

These are the Times

My wife and I were driving to our daughter and new son-in-law’s home for Father’s Day dinner. A car passed us with a bumper sticker that said, “Honor the Warrior, Not the War.” That got me to thinking.

Just how do you honor the warrior and not the war which the warrior is fighting? Besides that, our military today is an “All Volunteer Military.” No one has to join. Those who have decided to sign on the dotted line do so because they want to, not because they have to.

The draft is a thing of the past. However, not long after 9-11 there was a great deal of talk going around about the draft being brought back. Our nation did have a draft in place between the years 1948 and 1973. It became one of the main points of contention during the Vietnam War, 1964-1975. In January of 2003 Representative Charles Rangel, Democrat, New York, introduced a bill to reinstate the draft. From everything I have read this bill never had a chance.

I have been a part of the military since the late 1960s when I was in college and a member of the PLC Program (Platoon Leaders Class – a college program for future Marine officers). There is a question which every warrior must ultimately ask himself: Is my country worth defending? There can be no equivocating on this. The warrior must come down on one side of this issue or the other.

It is important to remember that all wars are at their core, political. Usually it’s as simple as one nation having something another nation wants. What follows is an attempt to negotiate the differences. If that doesn’t work, then a certain amount of saber-rattling takes place in an attempt to intimidate. If that is unsuccessful, then military forces begin the preparation for armed conflict. And if that fails, final attempts to negotiate take place. Only then do we see the inevitability of the clash of arms.

Though the warrior stands ready to defend the nation against all enemies, the whys and wherefores of how this conflict has come about are not his concern. The warrior is there to obey the orders of those who are senior, leading right up to the Commander in Chief – the President of the United States. In the history of this grand republic of ours there has never been a president who has had to order men to take up arms who has not borne the enormous burden of that decision the rest of his life. This flows right down the chain-of-command. Generals and Admirals agonize over executing these orders, knowing that men and women in the prime of their youth will face death’s door.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote a letter prior to the invasion of Normandy, June 6, 1944. This strategic military plan was to be the beginning of the end of Hitler’s chokehold on Europe. It would also come at a great cost in human lives. But it spared the world of further madness from this maniacal dictator. Take note of what Eisenhower says.
“My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops [Army], the air [Army Air Corps], and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone.”

Today we are facing a very serious and determined enemy that desires nothing more than to destroy our way of life and see us wiped from the face of the earth. When an enemy speaks in this manner, it is the fool who does not take him seriously. The warrior understands this and is prepared to keep the wolf from the door.

The great political writer and patriot, Thomas Paine, wrote,
“These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.”

No true American would be willing to surrender their freedom. However, if we do not awaken to the threats of our enemies we will surely lose what we cherish most.

Is America worth fighting for? You bet it is!
“For those who have fought for it, freedom has a taste the protected will never know.”

So, honor and support the warrior by supporting the war effort. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s the right time to do it.

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