Monday, May 28, 2007


Today, as I drove around southern Maryland from Annapolis to Scotland Island and back to Washington with my wife in our Jeep Liberty Renegade, driving past so many American flags on display, some fresh and in full wave, others ragged and woefully ripe for its "dignified burning" which is in the officially proscribed act of retiring it, I realized once again that in my limited lifetime of fifty-one years, I have never personally known someone who has sacrificed his or her life in service to our nation, specifically in a military uniform.

I have never suffered the loss that so many in our nation and others have suffered in losing to an untimely death a dear relative or a close friend while performing active military service, partially because of an accident of birth, a time spanning from the Vietnam War, where I and my immediate generation and the one immediately preceding mine, were excepted by age or gender. While decendent from a family whose military tradition has waned since the American Civil War, the few family members and friends I have known who have indeed fought for American forces on foreign soil such as Iraq and Afghanistan have survived with honor. I am very proud of these men regardless of whether I appove or disappove of certain foreign policy choices of any administration. I feel inadequate to express my own gratitude to these living heroes and to those who did not make it back to their families intact, but I must. War is a wicked endeavor. But war often requires war to extinguish itself, just fire is often turned back with more fire.

To this end, I must repost the following essay by Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch:

Today is Memorial Day, and while Hugh grills the Jihad Watch burgers I thought I'd note that one of the reasons why the popular culture does not honor our fighting forces today or in general is that the politically correct mindset assumes that we have moved beyond all that. Conflicts don't ever need to be solved with wars, you see. All we need to do is understand each other a little better, show the opposition that we are really good fellows after all, win over a few hearts and minds, teach the children not to hate, and voila, all will be well, and all manner of thing will be well.

Unfortunately, in the real world, sometimes one may know someone else quite well, and see that he is a good fellow, and despite all the hand-holding and Kumbaya singing, still want to kill or subjugate for reasons of one's own, that don't proceed from the Kumbaya-singer's actions at all.

This is a point that all too many in Washington, at the highest levels, stubbornly refuse to grasp. It is axiomatic in the State Department, and in Europe, and at the UN, that all conflicts can be solved through negotiated concessions. This is so much a part of the air they all breathe that it would be unthinkable even to question it. No one would even think to ask, "What if we implement state-of-the-art hearts-and-minds initiatives, and conform to all their foreign policy and cultural demands, and they still hate us?" This cannot be. The non-Western man is just a reactor, not an actor. He has no imperatives of his own that might set him against us. He is, ultimately, at our mercy, and it is up to us and us alone to pacify him.

The unconscious paternalism of this is ironic, coming as it does from the most besotted of relativist multiculturalists, but in any case, the fact of Memorial Day, and the reality of those who died in this nation's conflicts, shows it all to be false. Sometimes there are disputes between peoples that can't be smoothed over by any amount of making nice. And then, if a nation does not have within it those who will fight and will die to defend it, it will perish.

Today those who believe we have moved beyond wars, beyond fighting, rule the day. Unfortunately, we face a foe who believes war and fighting is his religious duty. He will not be pacified. Our fight is not just military, although it has a military dimension, and a huge adjustment in our current foreign entanglements is needed to defend ourselves most effectively from this scourge. It is a matter of will. Of remembering that there is in Judeo-Christian civilization, and in all civilizations that are threatened by the jihadist imperative of Islamic supremacism, something worth fighting and dying for. Remembering that we are only here to fight this battle today because others fought and died throughout history for our nations, our people, and the principles for which we stand. Let us not just honor them today, but, each in our way, seek to emulate them.

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