Psychologists tell us that the first five years of a child’s life are the “formative years”. Input into that child’s brain, during that five year period, will determine who that child grows up to be, the temperament of the adult, and so many other attributes which will determine the adult personality, etc.
Where am I going with this? Well, permit me to wander just a bit more before I bring these thoughts to a common thread.
If you are a regular to INSIGHT on Freedom, you already know that I have what at first appears to be a "fixation" on the war. You know, too, that I have little stomach for anything less than all out victory by the US Military anytime they are committed to a fight.
I have a number of friends, both conservative and liberal. I know that may be hard to believe but some of my liberal friends are like brothers to me. We argue politics and religion, and whatever, with each other, but my friends, those who remain my friends, know that I do not compromise my belief… even for them. And they know, as well, that I do not expect them to compromise their belief either.
Now, let me see if I can draw all this together: I have friends, conservative and liberal, who believe we either should not be in Iraq, or should pull the troops out as soon as possible. I don’t. I believe we should stay there ‘til the fight is done. … and until we completely pacify the country. If that takes 100 years, then so be it. I could not care less what got us into the war. That is of no consequence to me. What matters to me is that we are there and that we are victorious. There is no compromise for me on that … at all.
OK, now back to the first paragraph of this article. I was born a few months before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The first five years of my life were spent in some of the darkest days America has ever experienced. Telegrams were delivered to my neighbors and to my own family announcing the death of a relative, or loved one, or neighbor in combat against the Japanese or the Germans. It became a daily routine. It was a sad, trying time. It was a time when America felt the war deep down in the most secret part of our souls. It was WARTIME.
There was no talk of pulling the troops out of anywhere. There was no talk of impeaching the President because thousands of troops were killed in one day on some battlefield or some beachhead in the vast Pacific Ocean. (America had twice as many men killed on D-Day as we have had killed in nearly 5 years of war in Iraq!) What there was … was… quiet determination. America’s people, unlike modern Americans, never entertained the thought of defeat. There was a steely resolve to do whatever we had to do to defeat the enemy. If that took firebombing entire civilian populations in Germany and Japan and killing well over 100, 000 civilians all at once, to dropping two Atomic Bombs on the last enemy to surrender, that was all fine and good. It was what had to be done to win victory… and Americans said, collectively, so be it. And we won. The world is a much better place because we won.
I lived that period. I soaked it up. The radio in my home was on constantly. I remember Edward R. Murrow reporting from London during the war. I remember Lowell Thomas reporting from some of the worst battlefields on the earth. I soaked it up. And I learned. I learned that when Americans decide to do something, anything, nothing short of God, Himself, could stop us. Oh, we CAN be defeated. But only by ourselves!
That knowledge has served me well. It has taken me places a man of my humble beginnings ought not to have been able to go. But, I have been there and back.
So, to tell me that America is losing a war with a pipsqueak nation, or a group of demented religious nuts, will get a look of utter astonishment from me. I am in disbelief that an American citizen can utter such a phrase.
Look, when I was in grammar school to utter the words: “I can’t:” brought a spanking, by the teacher, with a wooden paddle called the “board of education”. There was no room in the American English language for the phrase “I can’t”. We were a “Can DO People”! And we did.
I am now at what some have called the autumn of my life. But, even today, I bristle when I hear someone say: “I can’t”. I will not tolerate my grandchildren using that phrase in my presence. One of my father’s favorite expressions was: “You can do anything you WANT to do!” He wasn’t fooling around. He meant every word of it!
In MY America… America doesn’t quit! We do what we have to do to win. No matter what that might be. We do it. Americans can do whatever we WANT to do!
As I said above… America CAN BE DEFEATED! But, ONLY by AMERICA!