Destiny Or Defeat?
There is a very encouraging message circulating on the Internet right now that I want to share with you. It comes from Chaplain Jim Higgins, serving in Balad, Iraq:
“I recently attended a showing of Spiderman 3 here at LSA Anaconda. We have a large auditorioum we use for movies as well as memorial services and other large gatherings. As is the custom back in the states, we stood and snapped to attention when the national anthem began before the main feature. All was going as planned until about three-quarters of the way through the national anthem the music stopped.
“Now, what would happen if this occurred with 1,000 18-22 year-olds back in the states? I imagine there would be hoots, catcalls, laughter, a few rude comments, and everyone would sit down and call for a movie. Of course, that is, if they had stood for the national anthem in the first place. Here, the 1,000 soldiers continued to stand at attention, eyes fixed forward.
“The music started again. The soldiers continued to quietly stand at attention. And again, at the same point, the music stopped. What would you expect to happen? Even here I would imagine laughter as everyone sat down and expected the movie to start.
“Here, you could have heard a pin drop. Every soldier stood at attention. Suddenly there was a lone voice, then a dozen, and quickly the room was filled with the voices of a thousand soldiers:
And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
“It was the most inspiring moment I have had here in Iraq. I wanted you to know what kind of soldiers are serving you here.”
That doesn’t sound to me like men and women who are fighting a “lost” war, an “illegal” war or an “unjust” war. That doesn’t sound like men and women who are demoralized, who want to give up and are ready to “cut and run.” I’m sure they would love to come home, but I suspect they want even more to guarantee their children and grandchildren will grow up in the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” Our soldiers aren’t worried about the latest poll or the next negative ad. Their fear isn’t losing the next election; it’s losing this war, our country and our civilization! No, I’m sure their voices were strong and full of confidence in the justness of their mission.
Unfortunately, our politicians aren’t so confident. Last night, a majority of the House of Representatives displayed an amazing lack of resolve by voting yet again to begin the retreat from Iraq in 120 days. My friends, what do you think our response would be if we learned of a new tape in which Osama bin Laden warns his fellow jihadists that they can only hold on for a few months? Would we call for a truce, lay down our guns and stop fighting? No, we would press the attack and that is exactly what Al Qaeda is doing. The terrorists know our will is breaking. Every night our “elected representatives” take turns telling them as much on the evening news and by voting again and again to give up. How must this look to the rest of the world?
There is no “balance sheet” the jihadists can point to that suggests they can win this war. They have no state. They have no economy. They have no professional army. They have no navy. They stole our planes to attack us on 9/11. But they do have one thing and it is exactly the one thing that we appear to be lacking: the will to win. Our enemy believes we are weak, fat, lazy and a civilization in decline. Leaving Iraq without victory won’t end the war; it will prove bin Laden right and fuel the fires of jihad. It will betray the vision of John F. Kennedy, proving America is no longer willing to “bear any burden and any price to secure the survival and success of liberty.” It will betray the faith of Ronald Reagan, who saw America not as a defeated country that should co-exist with its communist enemy, but as a shining city upon a hill that could lead the free world. Do we have a rendezvous with destiny or defeat? I remain hopeful so long as America continues to produce young men and women who proudly sing our national anthem and willingly make the sacrifices necessary to preserve our freedom.