Monday, May 25, 2009

The Glamor of War

In the '60's, I watched war movies on Saturday mornings and Combat! on Tuesday nights. After I watched enough during the week, I played war in my buddy's yard Saturday mornings. Bullets, grenades, bombs--then time for lunch. On the evening news, I would occasionally check the nightly Vietnam scoreboard and see that we were cleaning up on the Viet Cong and would surely wipe them out. I felt good when I went to bed, knowing we were beating the bad guys. Glamorous.

In the "old days," war wasn't depicted as graphically as in recent years. Now we can see heads and limbs severed and blood splattered on our local screens. On distant battlegrounds, military personnel can target a distant room and deploy a bomb, providing a kind of video-game gratification to a random observer. Results still devastating. Not so glamorous.

The truth is that flesh-and-blood men and women still wage war, and human beings die. The real heroes are the ones who willingly put their bodies in the way of unseen airborne projectiles or underground devices. As my Iwo Jima friend shared with me, soldiers do not view themselves as heroes; rather, they call themselves just that--soldiers who are doing their duties, knowing that their blood may "water" some foreign soil.

Today I join with General Douglas MacArthur who said, "The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war." Today I give thanks for those selfless souls "who more than self their country loved" and dutifully gave "the last full measure of devotion." Today I pray that the God of Peace would work in the hearts of men everywhere so that they might know true peace.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish

Directional Uncertainty and National Insecurity - President Obama's National Security Speech

The following is essentially a comment I submitted after reading Karl Rove's Wall Street Journal article dealing with President Obama's "flip-flops" and governance:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124286200693341141.html

"Love is blind" comes to mind as I recall the mass swooning during Mr. Obama's rise to the Presidency. The people, wearied of war and the economic battle, chose the path of change proposed by one of the Senate's leading liberals, a relatively inexperienced politician who could give good speeches, as numbers of voters testified. The majority now have what they wished for.

The President's flip-flops are characteristic not only of liberalism, which itself is epitomized by the word "change," but also of expediency. I can accept certain deviations and adjustments to basic, generally consistent policies, but I begrudge an "about-face" in an area paramount to his campaign. Doing so reveals a directional uncertainty about the Commander-in-Chief who leads our nation and is responsible for our national security. Directional uncertainty is certainly something America cannot risk.