November 11, 2007

11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month

(This is partly a re-post of a Veteran's Day piece I did in 2005)

It's good to stop on Veteran's Day and remember that everything we have, we have because of war, because brave men fought in savage conflicts to protect and enlarge our patrimony. Often, when I'm feeling that my life is just too too difficult, I think about an Iraqi man I read about, who spent 17 years in a little crawl-space between two walls in his family's home, to avoid arrest by Saddam's secret police. War freed him, and war keeps us from suffering a similar fate, or far worse...

Remember, as you enjoy your holiday (or, like Charlene and I, you enjoy the huge privilege of being self-employed, and working hard today because the work is there) that you are not worrying about visits by secret police because a lot of good guys killed a lot of bad guys over the course of many centuries...

American troops pray before action in Iraq.Jpg
David Furst / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images
Soldiers from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division gather together to pray moments before setting off on a patrol of western Baghdad on Thursday.
Army Times 11/8/05

Funeral for Americans

American soldiers at a funeral near Saint-Mihiel, 1917

Civil War troops at Catholic mass


You all know how it's often a problem, when children are raised in prosperity, that they sometimes have no appreciation of how hard their parents worked, and how hard and dangerous life can be.

And our nation has a similar problem. Our ancestors performed miracles of endurance and suffering and courage, so we could enjoy wealth and comfort such as the world has never seen. But this very success has created a sub-culture of Eloi, weak and foolish creatures who burble, "War never solved anything," when it has in fact solved a host of their problems. They are sitting in unthinking comfort and security on the heaped bones of America's enemies. And they sneer and carp at our military, while�of course�not moving to anywhere where they are not protected by strong men with guns.

To anyone such as myself, who has read a lot of history, the military we have now is an astonishment. Never on this planet has there been such a combination of soldierly proficiency, of devastating weapons used with extreme restraint, and such care to protect civilians and to nurture chaotic lands towards democracy and progress. I recently mentioned a splendid book, House to House, by David Bellavia, about deadly struggle in the second battle of Falluja. But in most of our wars, we would not have done that house-to-house stuff. We would have just flattened a Falluja, like we did to Aachen. We could easily have destroyed that horrid place, along with many civilians and many terrorist murderers, and not lost a single American life. Instead, American and Iraqi soldiers groped through a nightmare of booby-trapped buildings and carefully-prepared kill-zones. And many brave men died.

They gave their lives to save the innocent. History will record that they are the true Christians of our time, the real "good Samaritans." While our fake-pacifists are just ice-hearted free-loaders, living in safety because blood is shed by real men and women whose boots they are not worthy to lick.

'Strider' am I to one fat man who lives within a day's march of foes that would freeze his heart, or lay his little town in ruin, if he were not guarded ceaselessly...

Posted by John Weidner at November 11, 2007 4:19 PM
Weblog by John Weidner