If there’s one thing I know about it’s the human cost of war. I felt it in the two lumps on my dad’s head. I saw it when my mom had that sullen look on her face as she prepared the travel orders for the fallen Marines during the Vietnam War. And I also experienced it as a youngster praying each night for my older brother while he was in Vietnam.
During my 22 years of active duty service, and my two-and-a-half years as a civilian-military advisor, I saw it up close. My wife Angela knows of it as a daughter and as my battle buddy. And now I fret over my nephew and all my friends still serving.
It has been said by many that, “only the dead have seen the end of war.”
If that maxim holds true, then what can we do in these troubling and perilous times?
I ask that question as I read about the sermon delivered by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Mosul. I watch the growing conflagration between Israel and Hamas — knowing that Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah have signed a reconciliation agreement with Hamas.Japan has recently decided to abandon its constitution precluding them from having a large military beyond self-defense. China and Russia are building a modern day axis supported by client states such as Iran, Syria, and North Korea. And even here in our own hemisphere and along our southern border, we are witnessing a collapse of the rule of law and our sovereignty. A growing darkness threatens the safety and security of our Republic — and possibly the existence of Western civilization. Our gathering enemies are firmly declaring their intent, and what is our response? Certainly not “peace through strength” — it is an eerie silence that serves to embolden those evil forces and sends chills down the spines of our allies.
History shows there are three reasons to choose the strategic choice of last resort — annihilation, attrition, or assimilation. So in the face of a deliberate threat that seeks our destruction and extermination what shall we do? I know, more “coexist” bumper stickers — that will remedy the situation, more compromise, acquiescence, and perceived subservience — yes, that’s the ticket.
Those of us who have seen the human cost of war know the price that has to be paid. And that is why we know limited war yields only limited results. If we are not committed to our own existence what have we devolved into?
This cannot be dismissed as “warmongering,” it is about the survival of our nation and ourselves — unless that’s no longer important.
Yes, I prefer a strong defense that serves as a deterrent, but when the time comes to launch, it must be done fully with complete commitment, as Clausewitz termed the “paradoxical trinity,” combining the will of the government, the people, and the military.
We are facing a crisis in leadership in America at a time when our apparent weakness has become an enticing aroma for the dictators, theocrats, autocrats, and despots worldwide — as demonstrated by the boldness of al-Baghdadi appearing in public to deliver a sermon. We fought for people in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, but never again. Our benevolence is seen as undesirable and rejected.
We have come to a point in this nation where the only way is up. We must not apologize for our achievements, nor should we hang our heads in shame.
I do believe the time is coming when we will have to fight – with rules of engagement that allow our troops to succeed.
I choose survival of our Republic for future generations – will you choose to stand with me, or sing kumbaya with Obama and the Muslim Brotherhood?