While tempted to ask rhetorically “Isn’t it a great week to be an American?,” I must temper my desire with the recognition that virtually every week is a great one to be an American. Certainly in comparison to the alternatives.
Last week was particularly inspiring. American troops in Baghdad, within a month of launching military operations. Not, as portrayed by America’s own “loony Left,” as conquerors, but as liberators.? Liberating 25 million Iraqis, most for the first time in their lives, from the tyranny of a disciple of one of history’s great mass murderers: Joseph Stalin. Aiding free Iraqis in tearing down a steel monstrosity of a statute in the likeness of Saddam Hussein.
So as I stood in front of the television in the waiting room of Rollison’s Auto Service, I couldn’t help but recall another moment in front of another television. In 1989.?When the Berlin Wall fell after nearly three decades as a monument to the West’s ability to attract those willing to vote with their feet for freedom from oppression.
To be sure, the analogy is imperfect. Whereas the Wall symbolized an ideology its fall, a powerful image of its failure the relatively quick liberation of Iraq from the Ba’athist tyranny was not so much the failure of an ideology as it was the fall of a single, evil man.
Much to the misfortune of millions of its victims, Communism survived Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh and Pol Pot.?Ba’athism will not survive Saddam. But the fall of a statue in his likeness is nevertheless an appropriate symbol of the fall of his singularly personality-driven regime.
And it is notable and appropriate, now that the main hostilities are concluded, to take stock of those opposing American foreign policy as it moved from a decade of ineffectual action against, if not appeasement of, Saddam and his regime, to a position of confrontation.
It’s just incredible how the far Left can disconnect goals from action. Last week, as I drove through Chicago on the Eisenhower Expressway, listening to WLS, the leading talk radio station in America’s Second City, I spotted two stickers that nearly gave the reader whiplash. One sticker said “Free Tibet.”? The other? Some anti-Bush invective opposing war in Iraq so hackneyed as to be virtually meaningless.
The truth is, so radical is the disconnect between what the far Left will say are “appropriate goals” with their willingness to act and pay the personal price for achieving them that it is difficult to conclude that the concession that they are appropriate goals is difficult to understand as anything more than mere lip service.
How, for instance, does that poor soul imagine that Tibet will ever be freed from the yoke of Chinese Communist tyranny under which it has suffered for decades? Sanctions? Diplomatic “pressure”??Harsh language?
The sad truth is that the disjunction between words and deeds among the far Left is one of their less admirable character traits. To be sure, our “friends” on the far Left are accomplished at saying whatever it takes to curry favor or posture as mainstream to “maintain their viability within the system,” as the Great Prevaricator once put it.
It’s when action is necessary and required that our friends on the far Left are nowhere to be found, even rhetorically.
Equally appropriate for recognition are those who opposed American policy. We should not forget just how wrong they have been. There is Janeane Garafalo, a comedienne who has been among the leaders of the entertainment crowd opposing the use of American power. She has famously said that she believed that American troops would not be welcomed as liberators, and told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that she would be happy to apologize to the President if she were wrong. And while we all recognize that mea culpas are difficult, particularly for the intellectually immature, one is certainly forthcoming in this case.
Don’t hold your breathe.
Indeed, what is most important to note is that the same naysayers critical of Bush policy and those advocating an assertive American foreign policy are of the same political bent, if not the same people, who have been wrong about every major foreign policy issue of the last half-century.
The Left told us that American withdrawal from Indochina would not result in a blood bath on a larger scale. But the souls of millions of Cambodians and other “boat people” cry out from beyond the grave to belie that Leftist canard.
The Left opposed Ronald Reagan’s assertive policies against the Soviet Union and Soviet puppet regimes. They considered it dangerous or, worse yet, were apologists for the tyranny that murdered more people than any ideology in the history of the world. Yet my children are growing up without the anxiety attending the superpower confrontation, one that I can remember from virtually the earliest days of my childhood, growing up within a score of miles of a Strategic Air Command base.
How is it that the pathologically wrong never seem to lose their credibility among the media and never lack for access to it? That, if nothing else, demonstrates the bias rampant in the mainstream media.
But it is not a bias, thankfully, that is universal, or one that can long survive confrontation with the heroism of the American military. Among the reports from the battlefield, CNN’s Martin Savidge, embedded with the First Marine Division, was once moved to tears, asking “Where do they get young men like this?”?Their commander, Major General J.N. Mattis, answered that question, on the eve of battle:
“You are part of the world’s most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon. Share your courage with each other as we enter the uncertain terrain north of the Line of Departure. Keep faith in your comrades on your left and right and Marine Air overhead. Fight with a happy heart and strong spirit.
For the mission’s sake, our country’s sake, and the sake of the men who carried the Division’s colors in past battles who fought for life and never lost their nerve carry out your mission and keep your honor clean. Demonstrate to the world there is ‘No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy’ than a U.S. Marine.”
As the world contemplates the end of one of history’s great tyrants, a man who has killed more Muslims than any other in history, it should not be forgotten that the liberation of millions of Muslims came courtesy of the power and will of the United States of America.
Here is where we get young men like this.
An attorney, Young lives with his wife and their two sons in Montclair.