Tuesday, December 21, 2004

How the war is going through the eyes of the warriors and what Teddy Roosevelt can tell us about our current situation

An attack in Mosul on Tuesday killed more Americans in one day, than any other in this entire war. That's important to know. It's about the coming elections, and it most likely will get worse. Count on it, it's desperation, and the stench of that is getting stronger. They couldn't discourage us by cutting off heads of non-Military Americans in Iraq, they couldn't do it by cutting off the heads of the citizens of other countries. They couldn't do it by filling vehicles full of explosives and hiding in allys and setting them off with cell phone calls. They will now try, once more, to defeat us in a public forum, the biased American Media. Thankfully, our military, and politcal leadership understands this warping of the 1st Admendment of the Constituion far better than it did during the Vietnam Conflict. We have hope. If you can handle a hard read, that most likely will cause you to come to tears, but will allow you to read a first person account by an Army Chaplin, who went to the field hospital during the attack mentioned above. Steel yourself, and then click here. I'm one to have long tossed aside the concept of "coincidence," and now understand things all happen for a reason. A few nights ago, having tried to entice readers, the few and the maybe proud, to return, I posted a teaser about a book of speeches. The first one I keyed into, and realized it is topical today, was one by Theodore Roosevelt, obviously discussing a reaction to what was happening in the aftermath of the Spanish American War. He was commenting on how we could not back away from a responsibility to "nation build" in the Phillipines. It sounds just like a speech George W. Bush should borrow and modify for today. Here are some cogent extracts from Teddy Roosevelt on April 10th, 1899: “A man’s first duty is to take his own home, but he is not excused from doing his duty to the state; for if he fails at this second duty it is under penalty of ceasing to be a freeman. In the same way, while our nation’s duty is within its own borders, it is not hereby absolved from facing its duties in the world as a whole; and if it refuses to do so, it merely forfeits its right to struggle for a place among the peoples that shape the destiny of mankind. “So, if we do our duty aright in the Philippine Islands, we will add to that national renown which is the highest and finest part of national life, we will greatly benefit the people of the Philippine Islands, and, above all, we will play our part well in the great work of uplifting mankind. But to do this work, keep ever in mind that we must show in a very high degree the qualities of courage, of honesty, and of good judgment. Resistance must be stamped out. The first and all-important work to be done is to establish the supremacy of our flag. We must put down armed resistance before we can accomplish anything else, and there should be no parlaying, no faltering, in dealing with our foe. As for those in our country who encourage the for, we can afford contemptuously to disregard them; but it must be remembered that their utterances are not saved from being treasonable merely by the fact that they are despicable.” “When we once have put down armed resistance, when once our rule is acknowledged, then the even more difficult task will begin, for then we must see to it that the islands are administered with absolute honesty and with good judgment. If we let the public service of the islands be turned into the prey of the spoils politician, then we have begun to tread the path which Spain trod to her own destruction. We must send there only good and able men, chosen for their fitness, and not because of their partisan service, and these men must not only administer impartial justice to the natives and serve their own government with honesty and fidelity, but must show the utmost tact and firmness, remembering that, with such people as those whom we are to deal, weakness is the greatest of crimes, and that next to weakness comes lack of consideration for their principles and prejudices.” “I preach to you, my countrymen, that our country calls not for the life of ease but for the life of strenuous endeavor. The twentieth century looms before us big with the fate of many nations. If we stand idly by, if we seek merely swollen, slothful ease and ignoble peace, if we shrink from the hard contests where men must win at hazard of their own lives and at the risk of all they hold dear, then the bolder and stronger peoples will pass us by, and win for themselves the domination of the world. Let us therefore boldly face the life of strife, resolute to do our duty well and manfully; resolute to uphold righteousness by deed and by word; resolute to be both honest and brave, to serve high ideals, yet to use practical methods. Above all, let us shrink from no strife, moral or physical, within or without the nation, provided we are certain that the strife is justified, for it is only through strife, through hard and dangerous endeavor, that we shall ultimately win the goal of true national greatness.” This call to action to continue to shoulder the responsibility as the US enetered the 20th Cnetury applies to our entry into the 21st Century. We must stand firm, or we will suffer the fate of having others tell us what to do. I don't mean to say we need to be on top because it's a power thing, just that we have been the one nation to change the world for unselifish reasons. Even if we're done a bad job in some cases, stumbling along the way, any one would be hard pressed to say America has been a empire builder for only our own selfish needs. Another great piece I was lead to via some links today speaks to the humanity being shown in Iraq, again, from someone on the front lines. Read this (especially you who proclaim to be on the side of bettering things in life for women). There is a powerful message being sent here. This one may not make you cry, but it sure will make you think hard....something we all could stand to do more often.

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