Is it true? I mean, is the cost of freedom never, ever, too dear? For instance, the US is paying the price for the freedom of the Afghanis and Iraqis in the blood of our young men and women and the treasure from our national coffers while, here at home, we are preparing to relinquish our own freedom by electing a socialist as the President, leader of the country, and Commander-in-Chief of our military. Is it worth it?
Now let’s see: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, and Lebanon. All these nations (and peoples) are in a state of “flux” as they persist in a struggle to adopt some form of democracy. It has all happened in the past few years.
So “war solves nothing”, huh? Care to rethink your position on that? I thought not. When one entrenches oneself into self doubt as deeply as the peaceniks have, it is nigh impossible to extract them. So, we will simply overlook them, as we have always done. They line the fringes of our society, anyway.
No one likes war. But, contrary to what the peaceniks tell us, war does bring change for the better. Ask the Brits, the French, the Germans the Belgium’s, the Jews…. and the list goes on. (The French may still be too arrogant to admit it, but, regardless of what they tell themselves, the remainder of the world knows they exist as a nation only because of the efforts of US servicemen, and their allies, in two world wars.)
War changes things. The Middle East, for better or for worse, is changed forever. The US has a beachhead in the Middle East and we will be there, to one degree or another, forever. We are not going to leave. As the democracies begin to shape up, and form up, and freedom begins to spread, those who hold the dictator’s reins now will, over time, find themselves out of a job. Those who would hold the Middle East back in the 14th century will find they alone are left in the past. The people are going to move on to liberty and freedom. Once a people taste freedom, it is not possible to strip them of it again. Not for long, anyway. Take it from them and they will fight you to reclaim it.
No matter what you may think of President George W. Bush… and Lord knows, I have MY issues with him… if liberty blossoms, and blooms, in the Middle East, one man will be responsible. George W. Bush. He took a stand when the rest of the world would not. He alone had a vision of a free people who would seek after democracy. Old Europe, now irrelevant, stood on the sidelines as history passed them by. There they will remain. What they do, or say, is of no consequence to anyone but themselves. If Bush’s efforts fail then he will be rightly blamed for that. Only time will tell how successful those efforts are, or just how bad a failure they are.
The spark of freedom has been planted in Middle Eastern countries, ancient in origin, yet infants in the ways of democracy. It will take time to see if that spark ignites the longing for freedom, for self-determination, for liberty, and for the dignity of a free people. There is reason to believe that within days, or weeks, or months of the US pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan, they will revert to their pre-war totalitarian ways. Many of us feel that is the most likely scenario. And yet, there is the optimistic outlook, which says democracy will win out, and the newly freed people will manage to pick up the pieces and build nations able, willing, and even eager to take their place amongst the democratic peoples of the world. Honestly… I hope the optimists win this one. The US, and it’s coalition partners, have paid a dear price, in blood and treasure, to set those enslaved peoples free and give them that chance.
In the meantime, America marches on, constantly embroiled in what seems like a never-ending contest to determine who will lead this country. Many of us worry that while we are busy securing freedom for nations in distant places we are in danger of relinquishing our OWN freedom as the pre-World War Two Germans did… at the ballot box. SOME of us, and we hope, enough of us, still believe that Ronald Reagan’s dream of America as a great “shining city on a hill” still perseveres. The nation Reagan pointed to as the last hope of a world, that lost its way, is in serious danger of joining the lost. I ask again, if the cost of Iraqi and Afghani freedom is the loss of our OWN freedom… then, is THAT price too dear?
For our non-American readers… that is what defines Americans. We are a people willing to risk it all… to set other men free. It costs us… dearly…each time we commit ourselves to a fight for other men’s freedom. For years, and even decades afterwards, we lick our wounds and contemplate the question of the cost, over and over again. For we know, deep down inside ourselves, that freedom must be nurtured with the blood of free men for it’s continued existence. You see… we know that our own freedom depends upon the freedom of our fellowman. As testament to our commitment survey the cemeteries filled with American dead from the remote jungle islands of the Pacific to the picturesque European countryside.
Even now, America is engaged with a foe in a worldwide war to beat back the terrorists who have stated their goal as a worldwide caliphate (kingdom) ruled by a singe religion… a theocracy. They have shown they will do anything, including the cold-blooded murder of thousands, yea, millions of innocents to achieve that goal. America and a handful of brave partner nations is the only thing standing between the free world and the ravenous wolves of Islamofacism.
Yes, we worry about the cost. Yes, we worry about our own freedom. But we know that America’s dedication to freedom would be less than complete should we ever turn our backs on our fellowman struggling to join us in the sacred, priceless, state of freedom.
If the cause is great enough, the price is irrelevant.
© Longstreet, 2008