Marines.Together We Served

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Just Win, Baby!

I’m just one person, but I’ve spent a good number of years in our nation’s military. With all the talk today about “troop withdrawal,” “getting out of Iraq,” “bringing the troops home,” “cutting our losses,” etc., I thought I’d throw in my two cents worth.

Americans are winners. They have a long history of taking on the tough tasks and finishing the job. The world is a safer place today because America has stood up to the bullies in the world.

As a kid growing up I was short – shorter than most of the guys, and definitely shorter than all the girls. I was continually harassed about my size by girls and guys. I could tell you about many of those instances as if they had happened yesterday. In eighth grade I was five feet tall. My father had started me doing pushups every morning and every evening from the time I was twelve. I’d put on some muscle despite being “vertically challenged.” One guy in the tenth grade never let up on needling me. He was five feet, eight inches tall. One day during lunch break I’d had it. He spouted off about my size loud enough so everyone in the quad area could hear. I knocked him down, then sat on his chest, pinning his arms to the ground. He fussed and fumed, but could not get me off. After a minute or so, he relaxed. So I asked him, “Are you done?” He said “Yes.” So I let him up. I never had another problem with him.

A couple of things came out of my taking action against this guy. I never wanted to mix it up with him for two reasons: 1) He was older and bigger and I figured I’d get my face kicked in, and 2) His sister had a crush on me, plus she could beat up any guy in the school. But until I confronted this fool, I was always walking around school fearful of getting beat up. I did not enjoy being intimidated like this. Once I stood up to this particular bully, everyone else left me alone. I could finally relax and enjoy each day free from fear and intimidation.

In a lot of ways the world situation is much like the school yard. Instead of guys walking around huffing and puffing, trying to intimidate smaller, weaker guys, you have nations looking to gain an advantage over a neighbor nation either by fear or intimidation.

Suppose you were prescient, and could see into the future. The year is 1918. "The Great War,” or what would eventually be known as World War I, is coming to a close. The allied forces have beaten the Kaiser. Your unit has just rounded up a bunch of German soldiers. You have been selected to stand watch over them in a confined area. You see a young enemy soldier, weak and cold, so you offer him a blanket and a cup of coffee. As he stands there with the blanket wrapped around his hunched shoulders, gripping the hot canteen cup with both hands, you ask him where he’s from in Germany. He’s responds that he isn’t from Germany. He’s from Austria. So you ask his name. “Corporal Adolph Hitler,” he replies. Now, remember! You can see into the future. What you see horrifies you. Over the next twenty years this man becomes a madman! He will be responsible for the death of millions of innocent people. Your M1911, single-action, semi-automatic .45 caliber military issue pistol is in its holster inches from your hand. And the scourge of all Europe, Adolph Hitler, is at your mercy, two feet away. What would you do?

Hitler moved into a position of power in Germany after the war because there was a dearth of leadership. The rule of the Kaisers was effectively over. New young bloods sought to restore Germany’s honor among the nations. Hitler stepped into this leaderless vacuum. The rest is history, and it isn’t pretty.

America is the leader of the free world. We have the financial muscle and the military might to change the world. However, we have been, and must continue to be extremely judicious in our use of these assets, lest we become a bully to the world.

Who are the real bullies in the world? Nations that make threats and actually take steps to arm themselves in order to bring harm to America or her erstwhile friends. Such rogue nations are always a danger and should be regarded as such. When these nations choose to play the role of the school yard bully, someone needs to step in and rearrange their nose.

Appeasement with bullies does not work. It has never worked, and never will work. America had best take care of business in Iraq, Afghanistan, and anywhere else when bullies act stupid. Our military is quite capable of taking care of al Qaida and the Taliban, or any other thugs for that matter. After serving in our nation’s military thirty-four of the last thirty-nine years, I have a pretty good grasp of what our military can do. That’s not my concern. Instead, my concern is the attitude here at home, especially the appeasers, routinely evidenced by certain government officials.

As a Vietnam veteran, I am loath to see our nation lose its nerve in the midst of another war. Every time we had the North Vietnamese by the throat they would cry, “Peace talks!” And of course, we let them off the hook. Never again! You defeat your enemy so they can’t ever hurt you again.

So just win, baby!

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