Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Life and liberty are beautiful things, for which all men strive, which all men deserve. From the birth of this nation, we have held these rights above all others both for ourselves and for the world. It is the purpose of the United States to bring these things to every man, regardless or race, creed, or nationality. We must never turn away from this mission, and we must never forget those who have fought for this goal before us or those who will fight on after we are gone. We cannot turn away as long as there is a single human being suffering the indignity of serving another or death at another's hands. Life and liberty are God's gifts to the world, and it is every man's reason for being to bring them to those who have not experienced their blessing. We are all soldiers in this fight, and we must never forget that fact.

Whether you think we're going about the battles in Fallujah, Najaf, and the rest of Iraq properly, we are doing what we are meant to do. Disagreement with the means is fine, and must be heard. Dissent from the mission cannot be forgiven. Who are we to sit comfortably in the US while men, women, and children around the world are subject to the evil led by Saddam and others? What right do we have to say that the lives of 1, 100, or 1 million American men and boys can be valued above the freedom of a nation? If you think we shouldn't have gone in, if you think it wasn't the right time, you are wrong. If you think that the next theater shouldn't be pursued, that it won't be the right time, you are wrong. If you think diplomacy and back-channels are sufficient until exhausted, you are wrong. It is always the right time. We are at war. Not only with terrorists, but with anyone who hates freedom, anyone who would deprive it of another. It is our duty to see that this evil is defeated.

I know that this seems simplistic. I know that, at times, diplomacy is the only way about things. I know that we cannot rush to war without assessing the consequences. But at all times, we need to be prepared to fight the next battle, to challenge the next foe. We can no longer stand idly by while freedom is trampled around the world. We will not defeat evil now, we will not defeat it in my lifetime, and we may not triumph ever, but we cannot stand down until we do.

You may ask me how I can support President Bush when I disagree so fundamentally with some important stands he has taken, both economically and socially, both foreign and domestic. This is how. He understands this. He sees that this is our role in the world. He sees that this ranks above all else as the challenge threatening society, threatening the fabric of civilization. I believe that he will carry this fight to whatever battlefield is necessary. This is the one goal where God is unquestionably on our side. He will not let us fail, and He will forgive our shortcomings so long as we remember this mission. There will be losses along the way, but only at the expense of great gain. It can never be wrong to sacrifice your healthy, your safety, your wealth, even your life to set another man free. May God bless this mission, may God bless all those who have pursued it through history, may God bless the men and women who fight at this very moment, and may He never let us abandon this course.

I write this post having just finished the film We Were Soldiers. I highly recommend it to the world: hawk, dove, and everyone on the spectrum inbetween. It carries many complex messages which I am obviously still digesting. In this moment, what I carried away from it is the absolute importance of my words above. Please, say a prayer for the safety of the world.

UPDATE [4/28/2004 - 21:17]: CNN.com - Poll: Iraqis conflicted about war, its impact: "Nearly half the Iraqis polled in a survey conducted primarily in March and early April said they believed the U.S.-led war had done more harm than good, but 61 percent of respondents said Saddam Hussein's ouster made it worth any hardships." (emphasis added)

A couple of things about this. First of all, the headline on the front page at CNN.com says "Iraqis polled: War did more harm than good but worth it" That's a lie, if less than half said the war did more harm than good. At the very least it's misleading.

Second, many people have asked me, in relation to my above post, how I define freedom, how I know when we're setting people free and when we're just exerting our concept of government on them. A poll like this is a sign to me that these people feel more free. They are glad Saddam is gone, and I maintain that we did a good thing.

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