Friday, September 9, 2005
A Democrat With Class...
"When we send our young men and women into harm's way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they're going, to care for their families while they're gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return, and to never ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace, and earn the respect of the world."
-Barack Obama, 2004 Democratic National Convention keynote address
Notice he says win the war. Not pull out because of protesters, not cater to the whim of every conspiracy theorist who fancies him/herself a film maker, not pull out because France doesn't like us anymore (oh right, they never did). He also said secure the peace. Now, this doesn't sound like a hot-aired windbag to me. It sounds like he actually understands that a.) war is sometimes necessary and b.) when in war, a country needn't be cuddlycozysnugglebunnies with the enemy so they won't "hate us". Respect does not necessarily come from doing things the way others want you to. Respect comes with consistency, demonstrated respect, and showing you know right from wrong.
Think of the hardest teacher/professor you ever had. Now think about all the rotten things you said about him/her. Think about all the times you cursed and cried because it was just "too hard". Fast forward to today. What lessons did you learn from that person? Do you appreciate the work ethic you earned in that class? How about the pride you felt if your hard work paid off and you actually got a good grade? Well that's war folks. It's not easy, it's not glamorous, and it sure as hell seems like the worst thing we could ever do as a country, but a few million people around the world have been liberated, slavery has been abolished, and fascist dictators have been dethroned as a result.
I am not implying that every war is justified. I am not saying that innocent people don't die. You might say "well if one innocent person dies, that's too many". So they can die at the hands of a megalomaniac, but if they die because their OWN people put them in harm's way and they make it look like we, with plasma-dripping fangs went in and annihilated thousands of civilians as an act of genocide, it's ok? I don't think Saddam Hussein is the only dangerous leader in the world. I do think that the people who use that as a reason to get out of Iraq (if we can't end world injustice simultaneously, then why bother?) would cry bloody massacre if we put the termination of every crazed world leader on our agenda.
I want us to win the war and bring our men and women back just as much as the next red-blooded American, but I do not believe we should pull out without finishing what was started. We need to be honest with ourselves about why we're there, and truly find a way to reach the common goal which is to get in, get out, and bring our people home.