Marines.Together We Served

Monday, November 26, 2007

What Price Freedom?

There is much ballyhooing these days over the War in Iraq and whether we should be there or not. It certainly is a hot issue for the presidential hopefuls as they jostle for the politically correct, or more to the point, the politically advantageous position on the war.

As I reflect on the War on Terrorism, I am somewhat mirthful when reading or listening to the news reports and to politicos. Consider, if you will, that the surge in Iraq is not only effective, it has truly changed the course of the war, thus challenging the positions held by those who have invested in our defeat. They now find themselves at odds with the American people who have no interest in seeing our military embarrassed by bringing them home before finishing the job.

When will this war be over? This is a valid question, but it is also a question that cannot be answered until we have completed the task at hand. The war is not just in Iraq – it is around the world. Muslim terrorists are attempting to disrupt all nations through intimidation and fear, believing that free nations will cower in capitulation. Also, since we in the west view the world through a lens that assumes we can sit down and negotiate any differences with those who adhere to different philosophies of life, we are always surprised when such talks end up going nowhere.

At the turn of the century in 1900, there was a common belief held around the world that man had progressed to a point where we would never experience the devastation of wars ever again. This principle was so strong that it survived the “War to End All Wars,” otherwise known as the Great War, later to be named World War I out of necessity following World War II. Those wishful of man living in peace around the globe formed an organization that would perpetuate these ideals. It was called the League of Nations. Their ineptness in understanding the threats of an increasingly muscular Nazi Germany left this group of internationalists wringing their hands, singing their sad lament, “What Went Wrong?”

The resilience of the League of Nations was proven through its resurrection from the ash heap of failed ideas, like the phoenix of ancient Egyptian mythology, in what today is known as the United Nations. Somehow, someway, we ought to be able to live peaceably, they say. Great! How will we do that, I ask? History proves over and over again that there is always someone who wants to dominate and control another person; that there is some nation that wants to conquer and command another nation; that there is some ideology that compels one sect to destroy and defeat another.

We the people of the United States must make sure that we understand the price of freedom. Not only do we bear the burden of protecting our nation from enemies bent on our destruction, but we have an international commitment to shield other nations from the aggressors that breathe out threats. We may not like it, but by virtue of the fact that we are the most powerful nation in the world, we assume the mantle of protector. To refuse would be to utterly disregard and endanger countless peoples around the world.

Our founding fathers understood this role, being prescient in their establishment of the Constitution. One such worthy remarked in the days leading up to the Revolutionary War, that we could not wish away the threats that endangered the American colonies. Patrick Henry’s words ring as true today as they did in 1775 before the House of Burgesses in Richmond, Virginia when he said,
An appeal to arms and the God of hosts is all that is left us. But we shall not fight our battle alone. There is a just God that presides over the destinies of nations. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone. Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it Almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death.

Today, Lord willing, Laura, my oldest daughter will make me a grandfather for the first time. My other daughter, Jenny, is due in April. The arrivals of these two precious gifts from God are met with great joy and celebration! But in my quieter moments, I wonder if they will grow up in a world where lovers of freedom continued to pay the price; or whether lesser men prevailed leading us into fear and bondage.

The choice we make today determines the world we live in tomorrow. As for me, I will live in freedom, or die defending it. My progeny and yours deserves nothing less.

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