A couple serious thinkers, such as Lex, have asked lately the two burning questions all of us should be faced with right now:
Can we win?
Or.. Can we lose?
And the answer to both of these questions is yes.
I’m the son of a Vietnam veteran, the grandson of two World War II veterans. Both of these experiences weigh heavily in my own thoughts and feelings about the conflict that we find ourselves in today.
World War II was undeniably the good fight – where right triumphed, with great sacrifice, over wrong. Millions died, not a few of them Americans and our allies. Great sacrifices were made on many fronts. All that we had as a nation was poured into that war.
Vietnam was another story. Our nation was sorely divided over our role in the conflict between North and South Vietnam – and the aftermath on our nation and on our military took years to recover.
The shadow of Vietnam looks over everything that we do today.
I firmly believe that regardless of the current situation that we have done the right things as a nation since 9/11. Going after the first sanctuary of terrorism in Afghanistan was the right thing to do – and confronting Iraq and taking military action such as we have done was also the right thing to do.
I believe this because I believe that our nation’s outlook on what it would take to defend our people, our territory, and our interests changed significantly – we could no longer take the risk that a nation like Iraq could possess weapons of mass destruction – so we took that government out.
But even more importantly, these actions combined, over the long term, will change the long term outlook of this region – the power structure of what makes up the Middle East will change and change in huge ways in years to come… if we are successful in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In these areas, I believe we are on the path to victory.. we can win.. but it is not going to be easy.
And this is where I think we can lose.
I think that since Vietnam, we’ve lacked a certain sense of will and determination overall. It was obvious during World War II that it was there.. Korea a bit less so, Vietnam clearly not so overtime. Even during Operation Desert Storm you saw the warnings about massive casualties and major defeat for our forces…
I fear that we’re in for a long multi-year struggle that will take place on many fronts – economically, politically, and militarily – it will happen on distant battlefields, on the high seas, on airplanes and airports, in shopping malls and subway trains, but most importantly around our own dinner tables. As we saw in London, the terrorists are going to bring this battle into our backyards – it’s only a matter of time before we see suicide bombings here in the United States.. and that’s a day as a professional that I dread…
But the most important conversations are those that will happen around our dinner tables, around the grill in the backyard with the neighbors, and in our own living rooms – it’s about being prepared for the battle ahead – and the long road it will take to be safe and secure in our nation and around the world.
It’s not going to happen overnight – it’s not going to be easy – but we have no choice but to engage the world and those trouble spots in this conflict. That’s where the left is dead wrong – and where I fear if we listen to their arguments – and travel down their path – that we’ll lose.
And that cost will be too high for us to bear.