America is at war. There are millions of people in the United States who are upset about that, some to the point that they are demanding we simply give up and leave Iraq, and hoping we just cut out and leave everywhere else we have troops. Others have grown tired of the war and quit the cause because it is not fun for them anymore, an option not available to the men sent to do the actual fighting. The President is unpopular, in part for doing the right thing and sticking to the commitment, knowing that many millions of lives depend on his decisions. The troops are largely well-motivated and determined to stay in Iraq and Afghanistan until those countries can defend themselves, and not succumb to the raging tide of Islamists who would kill or enslave all who stand in their way.
Thousands of American troops have died since the war began. War means death and destruction, and there is no possible way to conduct a war without some degree of injustice and suffering by innocents. So, I can understand the pain of loss and the fear that we might do evil by going to war. I could quote any number of wise sages and veterans, who warn against eagerly sending our young men to slaughter, to either suffer the pain or inflict it. Yet those who oppose all war are often unwilling to face the fact that war is sometimes necessary, sometimes right, sometimes … inevitable, and the only way to deal properly with the situation is to win the thing so the same enemy won’t have to be fought over and over and over again.
This war is right. Those who blame President Bush are short-sighted or liars. This war began when the nations of the Middle East gave way to the despots and extremists, who foolishly thought that the terrorists they created would not attack anyone in their number, but only go after external enemies, to dismay the West and make them leave the region and its treasures to the men who already held palaces and arrogant titles. This war was not declared by anyone in America, Republican or Democrat, but by the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. It grew and consumed first Iran, then spread through the Middle East, converting terrorists from greedy rabbles and craven opportunists, into religious monsters such as we have not seen in any country which keeps religious leaders and government power separate from each other. The enemy used oil as an early weapon, then added hijackings, kidnappings, the odd assassination and random murders in its arsenal, all the while proclaiming its victimhood to the media, which defected from the West and renamed itself the arbiter of the co-called ‘Global Village’ in order to collect more international subscribers.
The men who hijacked airliners, flew them into buildings and murdered thousands of innocent people in one day, they were not Americans nor did they love anything about America. It was not any American’s fault that 9/11 happened, but it fell to America to answer in force. Because nothing but force would suffice.
Afghanistan and Iraq were legitimate targets. Afghanistan for harboring Al Qaeda, and Iraq for its many violations of the 1991 Cease-fire agreement. This war was approved by Congress, no matter what some pretend to say now. This war was not the only course considered, but other options proved unfeasible for the needs. Invading Afghanistan and Iraq was necessary, in order to prevent another 9/11-style attack on U.S. soil, in order to remove tyranny where it was most volatile, and to provide a check on the two most diabolical nations in the region; Iran and Syria. If nothing else, the war has demonstrated to the mullahs in Teheran and Damascus that they cannot dispatch terror with impunity.
This war has also reaffirmed America’s post as the dominant force for stability. No one else has the ability or the will to remove significant threats from the region. Find any military officer and ask him what would happen if Russia or China tried to remove a despot from the Middle East, and they will remind you about Lebanon and Cambodia, about practical limits and psychological barriers. No, I am not saying America is better than other countries, but there are jobs which only America can do.
The cost of war is heavy and sharp, but the need for it cannot be ignored.