Marines.Together We Served

Monday, April 23, 2007

Loving Life

History does tend to repeat itself.

In the seemingly endless stalemate between Congress and the President over funding of the War on Terrorism, some interesting comments have been made by both sides. "I strongly reject the artificial timetable withdrawal and/or Washington politicians trying to tell those who wear the uniform how to do their job," Bush said from the Oval Office after a National Security Council meeting with Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the Multinational Forces in Iraq.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said, “We have met the enemy, and it is Bush.” Reid spoke just hours after Bush rejected the Democratic leader's suggestion that "the new Congress will show him the way" out of Iraq (This from Fox News).

As the president struggles with Congress to approve the budget for our military without placing a “get out of Iraq” timeline, I was reminded of a quote by Confederate General Robert E. Lee, arguably one of the greatest military strategists in American history. He, too, had his critics and detractors, nipping at his heels like so many pesky dogs. In 1863, General Lee, said, "It appears we have appointed our worst generals to command forces, and our most gifted and brilliant to edit newspapers! In fact, I discovered by reading newspapers that these editor/geniuses plainly saw all my strategic defects from the start, yet failed to inform me until it was too late. Accordingly, I'm readily willing to yield my command to these obviously superior intellects, and I'll, in turn, do my best for the Cause by writing editorials - after the fact."

If you’re like me, you have to be scratching your head over the continuous rancor inside the Washington Beltway. How difficult is it to see that we are in a war against a very determined enemy who cares nothing for our way of life; who has no value or appreciation for life; who has no interest in coming to any negotiating table; who sees the freedoms we enjoy as a menace and a threat to their perception of life; and who has every intention of dominating the world using every means possible to achieve their goal? This is a short list, but you get the idea.

The media today is certainly doing its part to put out the message of defeatism. Well, goodness me, folks, wouldn’t it be nice if life were nice and neat and clean? Why, we could fix all the world’s problems if we took the advice of certain media types and politicians. They have the answers, of course!

In the following quote, you get a pretty good picture of what we’re up against in this war. This is a statement by the military spokesman for al-Qaeda in Europe, Abu Dujan al-Afghani, in 2004. “We declare our responsibility for what happened in Madrid exactly two-and-a-half years after the attacks on New York and Washington. It is a response to your collaboration with the criminals Bush and his allies. This is a response to the crimes that you have caused in the world, and specifically in Iraq and Afghanistan, and there will be more, if God wills it. You love life and we love death, which gives an example of what the Prophet Muhammad said. If you don't stop your injustices, more and more blood will flow and these attacks will seem very small compared to what can occur in what you call terrorism.”

This concept of “loving death,” first came about at the Battle of Qadisiyya in the year 636, when the commander of the Muslim forces sent a message to the commander of the Persian forces in which he stated, "You should convert to Islam, and then you will be safe, for if you don't, you should know that I have come to you with an army of men that love death, as you love life."

President Bush is attempting to preserve our nation, along with the free world, from those who would destroy us. In his speech of March 19, 2004, President Bush referred to this concept: "On a tape claiming responsibility for the atrocities in Madrid, a man is heard to say, 'We choose death, while you choose life.'... It is a mindset that rejoices in suicide, incites murder, and celebrates every death we mourn. And we who stand on the other side of the line must be equally clear and certain of our convictions. We do love life.... We believe in the values that uphold the dignity of life, tolerance, and freedom, and the right of conscience. And we know that this way of life is worth defending. There is no neutral ground — no neutral ground — in the fight between civilization and terror, because there is no neutral ground between good and evil, freedom and slavery, and life and death."

Some people love their own lives so much that they will surrender, quit, appease, cow-tow, or roll-over believing this will satisfy the bad guys. It won’t. Death is preferable to such a life. Patrick Henry had it right: “Give me liberty or give me death.”

Then there are some who love life enough to defend it.

So why does our all-volunteer military go off and fight our wars? Do they enjoy killing people? Is there some gratuitous sense of glee when they bomb and destroy towns and villages? Do they take glory in the possibilities of dying on foreign soil? No, to all of these. They are patriots who love life and are willing to defend you and me so that all of us may enjoy our blood-bought freedoms.

Let us not dishonor their efforts and sacrifice. They deserve our prayers and support now more than ever.

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