Sunday, August 13, 2006
promises to keep...
It is a phrase that became almost universal after 9/11, then glib and now, cliche. "(If X or not X), then the terrorist win." For example: If we stop living our lives, then the terrorists win."
One thing is for certain, the terrorists have a goal, an end result in mind. If you believe that they just want us out of the middle east and to leave them alone, you are a complete idiot. Sorry, that was a bit harsh... you are an utter moron. They want war with us, they want to spread their rule around the globe. It is in their believe system, and it is something they do not take lightly. If you walk away from this post understanding only one thing, then let it be this: this is a struggle over our freedom, religions, and way of life more than politics and border disputes.
I have been thinking alot about this idea, of what the fighting is about, and reading the various posts and essays out there on the web. I have been ruminating and processing things, and really thinking about them. As is so often the case, many of our fellow bloggers and many commentators have said, in better ways than I, many of the ideas and conclusions I have drawn. It may take me a while to sit down and write or say what I want to say, and that may annoy some that I know. I have a nasty habit of listening, reading and internalizing the information before I speak. I don't know, maybe it's the historian in me.
So, I want to step back for a second, from all of the bickering, politicking, and finger pointing that seems to be going on. I want to step back and look at the big picture. We used to do that quite a bit here in America... look at the big picture. Maybe we have gotten away from that. It is easy to do in this 21st century. Unfortunately, we let all the trappings of life and the fear of what's happening to prevent us from looking at things on a larger scale. I hope you will indulge me. I want to talk about this, but I want to point you to just a few of the articles and posts I've read to not only illustrate some of what I am talking about, but also to make sure credit is given to authors and bloggers where credit is due.
In light of the news about the break up of a major terrorist attack by British and Pakistani authorities, we should all be grateful that the fight to keep people safe from terror is continuing to be waged. Nothing disturbs me more than to see people, because of their own narrow mindedness and petty politics and power trips, to discredit the hard work of the people of our country and our allies to keep us safe. To be a Kosidiot and claim that all of this was a set-up or not real, is to truly be one with the tin foil hat crew. Many have noted the pettiness of our own liberal extremists and their narrow vision: Stop the ACLU and Right Wing News have some examples of their comments.
These are people locked in a narrow field of view. Everything, in short, is about them. What they, and others like them, don't realize is that this is not about them or George Bush, or Blair, or Bin Ladin or Sadam Hussein. It is bigger than any of them. It is about promises. The promises of freedom. The war against terror and fear is a war to preserve freedom. Not just for ourselves but those who desire freedom around the world. The extremists and others support a global view where there is no border, and yet they believe that everything we do is about borders. The jihaddist don't fight for borders. Michelle Malkin has written quite a bit about this, showing how this is not a war about borders or land. Victor Davis Hanson has also written a great article about this as well. They fight to impose their twisted view on the rest of the world. Their aim is to spread their way of life and their rule on everyone. Call me a caveman or what you will... if you can't see it, I call you blind and pathetic.
Jihaddists don't fight with guns and bombs and missiles, so much as they fight with dead bodies. Whether it's using them for propaganda or to build up a body count. Destruction and weapons are not their weapon of choice, they are just instruments. Their weapons of choice is death and they wield it without discretion. (Sand Monkey has written something very eloquent about the sanctity of the dead.)
And yet many of our own people, and those of our allies prefer to have their head in the sand and scream and piss and moan about perceived injustices that we inflict by waging war against jihaddist. They believe the jihaddist have a point, and that it is time for the West to just roll over and accept this. They live in a state of "lemmingrad", as Melanie Phillips as termed it. More over, for them freedom is not for everyone. Moral relativism, screwed up logic, and messed up "rules" (as VDH calls them) rule the way we fight. I don't even think they know what we are fighting for... maybe may of us have forgotten. We need to be united in our efforts and in our cause. I think we can disagree and argue about how to go about achieving a goal. However we need to agree on the goal, decide on a plan, and go forward with firmness of direction, patience, and determination to win and see it through the end. If we give up on any of those... if we continue to be divided amongst ourselves, if we give in to weakness-- we might as well through in the towel. I refuse to do so. There are promises to keep.
Many years ago, as we begun to fight on a world stage, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt outlined what we were fighting for, outlined in a speech to Congress. The speech, which has come to be know as The Four Freedoms, cited four freedoms, the freedom of speech, the freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. We should recognize that we continue to fight for those freedoms, and others, today. I think perhaps that is what we are missing. Realizing what we are fighting for and that these freedoms are promises. Promises to our children that we will continue to strive to improve the world and spread the freedom to live and thrive and carry on that promise. The unwritten promise of the Constitution: FREEDOM. We have to be united in keeping that promise to our children; the promise that tyranny and terror will not prevail. That children of all faiths will be allowed to worship according to the dictates of their conscience, and free from the tyranny of extremists who wish to stamp out all religion or who wish to force all to conform to their own extreme view of a belief. The promise that we will fight against those who oppress, those who do not allow them to speak their opinion or to speak without fear of persecution. These are the promises that we must keep. This is what we must fight for, both abroad and here at home. The military, law enforcement, and government agencies and allies fight for us. We need to do, as our grandparents did during WWII, what we can to fight for them and not make the fight in vein.
Let's keep the promise. Let's defeat those who fight to defeat freedom and the extremists, both abroad and at home. Let's remember what we are fighting for. Let's give our children a future rich with freedom.
I want to close with some words from FDR's speech and wish you would read the whole speech and reflect on his words:
"...I suppose that every realist knows that the democratic way of life is at this moment being directly assailed in every part of the world --assailed either by arms or by secret spreading of poisionous propaganda by those who seek to destroy unity and promote discord in nations that are still at peace.
...In times like these it is immature-- and, incidentally, untrue-- for anybody to brag that an unprepared America, single-handed and with one hand tied behind its back, can hold off the whole world. No realistic American can expect from a dictator's peace international generosity, or return of true independence, or world disarmament, or freedom of expression, or freedom of religion-- or even good business. Such a peace would bring no security for us or for our neighbors. Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
...As men do not live by bread alone, they do not fight by armaments alone. Those who man our defenses and those behind them who build our defenses must have the stamina and the courage which come from unashakeable belief in the manner of life which they are defending. The mighty action that we are calling for cannot be based on a disregard of all the things worth fighting for. The nation takes great satisfaction and much strength from the things which have been done to make its people conscious of their individual stake in the preservation of democratic life in America. Those things have toughened the fiber of our people, have renewed their faith and strengthened their devotion to the institutions we make ready to protect.
...In the future days which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression --everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way-- everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants --everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor --anywhere in the wold. That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called "new order" of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb. To that new order we oppose the greater conception --the moral order. A good society is able to face schemes of world domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear. Since the beginning of our American history we have been engaged in change, in a perpetual, peaceful revolution, a revolution which goes on steadily, quietly, adjusting itself to changing conditions without the concentration camp or the quicklime in the ditch. The world order which we seek is the cooperation of free countries, working together in a friendly, civilized society.
This nation has placed its destiny in the hands, heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women, and its faith in freedom under the guidance of God. Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights and keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose. To that high concept there can be no end save victory."
While we may not agree with all of the words or policies of FDR, I believe he was an American President who fought to protect his people and to keep the promises of freedom to the children of his country. These are wise words.
Can we be united in purpose? If we can be, there really can be no end save victory.
I want to fight!