Duty, Honor, Country—Still Alive and Well
A quiet debate reportedly has arisen in the Bush administration over whether our victorious men and women in uniform should be awarded ticker tape, flag-waving parades down New York City’s 5th Avenue and other streets in the good old U.S.A.
It seems there is some trepidation about whether such fanfare would offend Muslims and Europeans and evince a kind of pride deemed unbecoming in a world given to apology, appeasement, and shamefaced breast-beating over who we are and what we have accomplished.
If we’ve learned anything from the fiasco following the Vietnam War it is that a reputable nation should not tolerate radical minorities tagging its heroes with badges of cowardice and mantles of ridicule and disgrace because they honorably answered the call to serve their nation in time of war.
These young men did not slink away to Canada and hide out while more than fifty thousand of their peers gave their lives for their country. Neither did they join the unwashed rabble that desecrated the streets of America and trafficked with the Communist killers who debased a country and savagely ravished a people.
In those days, it was my duty to help bury some of the young men who had made the ultimate sacrifice. Most were unsophisticated, simple kids who believed it was right to stand up for people who could not stand up for themselves. Although never credited as such, these were genuine American heroes—young people a cut above most of the rest of us; true soldiers who still believed in the late Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s immortal words, Duty, Honor, Country.
Many of us had begun to believe that the concept died with MacArthur and the casualties of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. But such was not the case. Iraq has shown us and, we hope, the world that when it comes to America and our coalition allies, duty, honor, country are alive and well.
So why shouldn’t our soldiers march in a parade? And why shouldn’t we, as God-fearing and profoundly grateful people, line the streets, cheer them on, wave our flags proudly, and proclaim victory?
What do we have to celebrate? Perhaps a competent and committed leadership equal to any since the days of the Founding Fathers. Perhaps the greatest single military campaign in the history of the modern world. Perhaps the greatest show of technological genius ever displayed on the planet. Perhaps one of the most successfully planned war strategies exhibited in human history. Or perhaps the most uncommon courage, devotion, and willingness of our young men and women soldiers to risk it all to free people from oppression.
So to whom should we apologize?
Certainly Not to the Muslims
Our leaders have persisted in telling us that this war was not about religion—and that statement is true from our side of the line. But such was not the case for Islamists who strapped on the paraphernalia of a suicidal obsession in the name and for the honor of Allah. For them, it was a clash of religions.
People in the West made sport of the Iraqi minister of information who stood daily at the podium denying that coalition troops were anywhere near Baghdad and that those who were there were awash in their own blood. Although we may scoff, most Westerners fail to comprehend that this type of Alice in Wonderland fantasy is an integral part of the rhetoric that dupes the Arab street into delusions of superiority.
Two well-documented events are historical proof. During the 1967 Six-Day War, Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser sent urgent dispatches to King Hussein of Jordan expounding on his forces’ sweeping victories over Israel. In truth, however, they were suffering a devastating defeat at the hands of the Israel Defense Forces. Nasser’s lies convinced Hussein to get in on the action in order to share the spoils of victory. Hussein’s “reward” was the loss of Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria.
In the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Egypt and Syria suffered one of the most humiliating defeats in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Yet, despite the cold facts of reality, they persisted in celebrating the Arab forces’ early advances as a victory. It was a delusion that cost Egyptian President Anwar Sadat his life. As he sat on a reviewing stand celebrating Egypt’s “triumphs,” Islamic fanatics murdered him.
Thus the lesson inherent for the deluded Osama and Saddam wannabes in the Islamic world: “Don’t try it!” Clean up your act, or risk suffering the same consequences. Your mullahs and information ministers may tell you the sky is not falling. But look out your windows; a Predator drone may be soaring overhead.
to the Antiwar Warlords
We have long since come to expect that publicity-seeking, show business know-nothings will rouse the rabble for any cause that produces a few fleeting moments of face time on the small screen.
The sad fact is that the very people who risked their lives for them give them the right to denigrate this country and the freedoms our Constitution guarantees. Their religionist, pacifist next of kin, unfortunately, profess to represent the gun-shy Christians of America and the Western world. Without a doubt, the “mainstream” Protestant clergy have long since certified their credentials as card-carrying dupes of the radical left. Their strident rants, rising from the streets alongside the leftover Hippies of the ’60s anti-war movement, have confirmed their irrelevance in the marketplace of the real world.
Their churches are virtually empty; their pronouncements, hollow; and their posturing as world leaders of Western Protestant religion have disappeared behind the barricades of opposition to decency and order in a disorderly world. A recent article by Hollywood producer Dave Berg titled “Anti-war Protestants” in The Washington Times lays the facts on the line:
This domestic [religious] war has been simmering for decades. . . . It is the struggle for the soul of America, which is being carried out by two diametrically opposed armies. One is made up of traditional Americans with Judeo-Christian beliefs, who contend, as President Bush does, that America is a force for good in the world, which is ruled by God. . . . Leading the charge for the Protestant fringe-left are the leaders . . . [who] have cut themselves loose from their moorings of Biblical scriptures and traditions and have set a course both in this world and of it.
One mainstream bishop, wrote Berg, “recently whined, ‘I’d like to go somewhere in the world and not have to apologize for being from the United States.’” The bishop and his fellow travelers apparently would have felt much more comfortable in Baghdad when, earlier this year, Berg continued, “the National Council of Churches . . . went to Baghdad and gave aid and comfort to the enemy. They met and even prayed with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz. . . . Unlike their leaders, most Protestants sitting in the pews are, indeed, mainstream. . . . But now, parishioners are plugged in to what their leadership is doing through various Web sites.”
That’s a bit of good news. What liberal Protestant leaders have tried to hide from those who dutifully pay their salaries has been unveiled through the Web and the Bible-believing Christian media, in particular.
Revolutionaries in Disguise
If you take the time to listen to the voices of the jaded left, this is what you will hear: the shout of Communist dogma, which does not rest beside Lenin in his Moscow crypt. It is back on the street, bellowing the slogans of an era that has outlived its time: “Power to the People”; “Occupation, Not Liberation”; “Power to Hussein, Death to Bush”; “Free Palestine From Israeli Imperialism”; etc. The mantra goes on ad nauseam.
The unvarnished truth is that these denizens of defeatism, intolerance, and appeasement are, in fact, articulating a declaration of war. They are not peaceniks. They are revolutionaries whose one great hope is to overthrow the government and establish a Bohemian Utopia. The question is, If they tear down the establishment, what do they plan to erect in its place? They have nothing to offer—nothing they would dare articulate on the streets of America at this hour, anyway.
Roll Out the Red, White, and Blue Carpet
Let the confetti fall and the streets of America overflow with millions of flag-waving patriots. Let’s have a sea of young men and women in olive drab and desert gear, heroes all, march by reviewing stands to receive the gratitude and salutes of our leaders and all loyal Americans. We have every reason to honor the victory and the victors and, yes, to unfurl the flag.
And although the General has been off the scene for many years, his words still ring true: Duty, Honor, Country. Thanks be to God, we still believe.