Airport a reminder of terrorism’s cost
I was at the airport last Friday and while waiting for my plane I saw the news report on CNN noting that over 60 percent of Americans opposed President Bush increasing the number of troops in Iraq. It suddenly dawned on me that all our lives have been disrupted by Islamic terrorists' since 911 and yet we've lost the stomach for taking the war to our enemies.
Think of this:
We endure long lines at the airport while are bags are being X-rayed and we're personally scanned for weapons and explosives. We think about airplane hijacking, placing nuclear weapons in containers and exploding them in US ports, we conduct biological weapon exercises, we study our vulnerabilities to terrorists' attacks, we survey our cities and spend tens of millions of dollars across the country on homeland security. Why, because we fear another terrorist attack. And yet, we don't have the patience to fight the long war to prevail against our terrorists' enemies.
Our armed forces are decisively engaged in fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have taken the war to our enemies abroad. They're engaged in strategic offense to keep our enemies off balance by killing or capturing enemy combatants, collecting needed intelligence, and disrupting the enemies' plans to attack us at home. This war, we are reminded, has lasted longer than World War II.
We have liberated two countries and are now engaged in helping them build democratic societies that function under the rule of law. And yet we are told by the press and many in Congress that it has taken the Iraqis far too long to build a stable, functioning democracy. We Americans forget that George Washington was nearly defeated by the British during the American Revolution and that the nascent continental congress dithered and wrung their hands while General Washington moved to winter quarters at Valley Forge. Reporting to Congress, Washington wrote that "unless some great and capital change takes place:this Army must inevitability:starve, dissolve, or disperse:."
Just recently we were informed that since the start of the Iraq and Afghan wars over four years ago we have lost 3,000 of our servicemen and women. These figures are held up as unacceptable numbers. And yet, the enemy took over 3,000 lives in New York City in the short span of a few hours on September 11, 2001. During World War II, a war started by a sneak attach on Pearl Harbor where a similar number of American's were killed, we suffered numerous setbacks before we emerged victorious. During the Battle of the Bulge in 1944 when the Germans counterattacked, American forces suffered 81,000 casualties of which 15,000 were captured and 19,000 were killed. But, we didn't stop fighting. We regrouped and re-engaged the enemy and fought until the war was won.
Americans are a-historical. We have grown too complacent; too disinterested in anything that takes away from our lives of abundance and comfort. It seems that we no longer have the stomach for the fight to preserve our way of life. We're fat, we're dumb and we're apparently happy. And, our enemy knows it.