One of the members of my team e-mailed yesterday with the sad news that a young member of his extended family, a soldier named Michael, had been killed in Iraq. At the end of his e-mail, this 20-year Navy man expressed the sentiment of our nation in the question: "When do we say enough is enough?"
In addition to expressing my condolences for his family's loss, I felt compelled to challenge the unspoken assertion that Michael's sacrifice had been for a lost cause. I told my friend that,
"I have to believe that his sacrifice makes our country stronger and safer. I am so proud to be associated with you and yours and the tiny percentage of our nation’s population that has answered the call to secure the freedoms of the rest. No soldier who as ever given his life for America’s interests has done so in vain. I assure you, our warriors’ sacrifice and service during this time will not be in vain and will add eternal light to our great nation’s beacon of freedom. There are great accomplishments being made by our uniformed men and women in the name of freedom, in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world, despite the self-serving pronouncements of many at home who denigrate those efforts. I will remember Michael."
I am, frankly, disgusted with the spineless anti-war political manuevering and posturing from all but a few of the more principled of our nation's political leadership. Most of the current war critics were all for taking the fight to the terrorists and the states sponsoring their barbarity, when the popular mood in our nation was for that. Now that our people are turning against the war effort, self-serving politicians are attempting to grab power by cynically bending to the American populace's fickle will.
On the other hand, most of the "hawks" in support of the war are not willing to take the needed steps to put this nation on a true war footing. I saw a picture the other day of some graffitti scribbled on a white board in a Marine combat outpost in Iraq that read, "America is not a war. The Marine Corps is at war. America is at the mall."
Michael was a soldier--a member of a tiny minority of our nation's men and women who answer our country's call to service. Michael's service was selfless. His sacrifice was honorable. His, and his comrades', accomplishments in the name of freedom are greater than most in our nation will ever recognize. Michael and his fellow American freedom warriors deserve our honor, and one of the best ways to honor them is to demand that our political leadership make the hard decisions to truly take our entire nation to war against the nations supporting terrorism as a tactic against freedom. Until the political mullahs and ayatollahs exhorting their nations to jihad against the west are silenced (read: crushed by force of arms), we will not truly honor the sacrifice of our warriors in the cause of freedom.
This Marine will remember Michael.