By Roger Propst |
The first bombing of the World Trade Center. The attack on the USS Cole at port in Yemen. The bombings of two embassies in Africa. The suicide bombings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The suicide bombings in Istanbul, Turkey. The suicide bombings in Baghdad. All of these terrorist attacks on innocent people, men, women, and children acknowledged by the terrorists themselves. America is at war! Osama Bin Laden declared “Jihad”, or holy war on America in 1996, but we took it as a harmless threat from an Islamic extremist, and did very little to protect ourselves. September 11, 2001, should have brought it all home, but many wish to view these terrorist attacks as separate incidents of consequence only to those directly affected. Others think we should make our response to 9/11 a police action of seeking out those directly responsible, trying them in courts, and incarcerating them, i.e. the rule of law. The fact of the matter is that these terrorists do not attack us for what we have done, but rather, because we are. The perverted Islamic faith they practice teaches them that killing infidels, i.e., us, gets them a ticket to Heaven. It should be noted that these people are only a very small portion of the Islamic faith; the vast majority are peaceful, life respecting folks.
America is currently involved, along with 31 allied countries, in the Battle for Iraq, the second major battle of the War on Terror. The first was the Battle of Afghanistan, a country of 28 million people no longer terrorized by the Taliban and the likes of Al Queada. America and its allies, along with the United Nations and NATO continue the reconstruction efforts in that country. Twenty-five million people in Iraq are now free from the tyranny of the “Butcher of Baghdad”, Saddam Hussein. The torture chambers are gone; people are not being tied hand and foot, and thrown from roofs; people’s tongues are no longer be pulled out and cut off for saying the wrong thing. Beheadings are not taking place in the public square, and the mass graves containing over 300,000 innocent Iraqis are a thing of the past.
Citizens who oppose America’s involvement in Iraq should not be called unpatriotic because of their views, but those supporting the action are neither warmongers nor right wing extremists, either. Much is being said of why we went to war, but one thing is certain; if we hadn’t, Saddam Hussein would still be in power, all the aforementioned atrocities would still be occurring, France, Germany, and Russia would be lobbying hard to remove economic sanctions in order for them to activate their lucrative oil contracts and purchasing agreements negotiated with the Iraqi regime in return for support in the United Nations Security Council. The time has passed that America can isolate itself and conduct a foreign policy that allows thousands, and possibly hundreds of thousands of us to be killed in a terrorist attack before we respond.
This is not a slightly messy war with no blood, no body count, and no body bags. Over 400 of America’s precious sons and daughters have given their lives in this conflict, and no faction of the American people can claim more compassion for these losses and their grieving families. I am confident that every American mourns the loss of even one. The network and cable news programs tell us every day the numbers of our losses, even segregating them pre and post, May 1st. The messy details of war are not being swept under the carpet; the American people know the horrors of war. War is the worst of all human endeavors, but unfortunately the world is not utopia, and terrorists, thugs, and all those bent on subjugating peoples to tyranny understand only strength.
Unfortunately, Iraq has become politicized as we are inundated with rhetoric of the presidential campaign. Those saying “the increasingly unpopular invasion” of Iraq should look back to World War II. America declared war on Germany without being attacked; Germany invaded Europe, not America. There were many then who said it was not our fight. Thank God for President Roosevelt’s leadership at that time in protecting our country, and Thank God for President Bush’s leadership now. America and freedom will prevail in the World War on Terror by showing strength, not by passing endless UN resolutions without the will to enforce them.