Friday, May 11, 2007

Cassandra Strikes Again

Cassandra at Villainous Company has a great post about Iraq and the presentation of the Silver Star to Major Gantt. Please be sure to visit her blog and read the entire article.

"I don't believe in Fate. Not in the sense of an unalterable destiny, some grim, unavoidable future that sweeps us up and dashes us against the rocks of predetermined events. Such visions reduce us to insensate flotsam bobbing in a maelstrom we can neither control nor escape.

Perhaps this is hubris.

If it is, I'd rather be guilty of overweening pride than fall victim to the kind of attenuated ennui that afflicts so many of my generation; the effete moral lethargy that automatically equates faith with oppression, disagreement with censorship, the capacity for moral judgment with racism and intolerance. But oddly enough, though I doubt the existence of a fixed destiny, I've never for a moment doubted that some things happen for a reason.
Perhaps they happen to offer us a choice, a fork in the road. What we do, when we come to that fork, reveals our character for all the world to see:

America is caught up in a debate of whether we should bring our troops home or if we should make one last attempt to bring peace and stability to Iraq. Yet, we don’t pay attention to the details of the war. Last weekend, an American hero received one of the Army’s highest honors – a Silver Star. His award was largely unnoticed, overshadowed by Paris Hilton’s incarceration.

And so, when I read things like this, even though I may be momentarily tempted to feel bitter, to become cynical, to throw in with the 'it's not worth it' crowd, I have to stop and remember who I am. And more importantly, who they were. And are: the Americans and the Iraqis who stand between us and those who would destroy everything we hold dear.

It's easy to make generalizations, to lump people into categories. But what if Iraq judged us all by Harry Reid? Dear God in heaven, what if they judge us by our Congress? That is not the test.

The burden of civilization has always been carried upon the backs of a very few. Most of us are free riders; we coast on the efforts of far better men than we can ever hope to be. And if we are relying on the mainstream media to bring us tales of heroism and honesty and integrity, I fear we shall wait a very long time. Yet those tales exist.

Ask Major Gantt.

And then put this war, with all its casualties and daily setbacks, its moments of triumph and bitter shame, into the context of history. This is a letter, not a binding parliamentary vote. How often have bills come up in our own Congress only to wither on the vine for lack of support when push came to shove? And as to our losses, though they are grievous they too have a place in history. The total number of casualties we've suffered since 2001 is roughly comparable to our losses in one day at the battle of Normandy.

One day.

Yet we say we are tired of war. We have had enough of suffering. We, the richest nation on earth, cannot afford to go on.

But we support the troops, who believe in what they are doing. Oddly, they are not too tired; though they don't spend their time relaxing in comfortable surroundings, shopping and surfing the Internet as we here at home do. They are too busy. I will give up when they say it is time to give up, and not one moment sooner.

Because they are the ones who have bought and paid for this fight with their blood. They are the ones who are there, seeing it all first hand. They are the ones I trust to tell me when it is time, and we owe them something.

We owe them a little bit of intestinal fortitude. Because everything in life is a choice, and it's what you do when you come to those difficult forks in the road that shows what you are made of. Somehow it seems to me that our road is not all that hard.

And our path is crystal clear; at least if honor still means anything."

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