Wednesday, February 08, 2006
A little coffee and pretending
Today I woke up a little earlier then usual and upon going outside realized that it was a beautiful day. The weather has been rainy and cold lately but I awoke to warmth and sunshine. I decided to take advantage of the nice day so I retreated to my room to make a pot of coffee and grab some breakfast. Once these items were in hand I headed back outside to eat and drink under the sun. As I sat there a friend came out and joined me. We sat in the front of our barracks which lies 20 feet behind 12 foot tall concrete barriers. The barrier we guess is to keep out bombs and what not, I guess we aren’t really sure. Any rate, the barrier allowed us to shut off the outside world and pretend for a while. I hiked up my shorts and felt like I was on the beach getting some sun. My friend was thinking about water-skiing on a lake. Personally it was the best morning so far for me on this deployment. I was able to spend an hour and a half outside just sitting talking. I remembered the vacation I took to California after my last deployment and the fun I had there with friends on and around the beach. This day felt the same to me and I was gladly enjoying the opportunity to pretend.
Now for the fundamental truth that lies behind my morning spent in denial.
No amount of pretending can change what lies behind the barrier around my barracks. Just twenty feet past where I was sitting this morning lies a seemingly endless view of an Iraqi landscape, ever boring that it is. There is still conflict, death, and evil out there try that we may to ignore it. Ignoring this truth for a morning is fine for soldiers but when people ignore it in general it is a bad thing.
People who choose to live in America and enjoy their freedom without recognizing what it takes to have freedom fail to realize the incredible price that has been paid for them to do so.
Norman Podhoretz wrote an article a year or so ago about what he feels is WW IV and what led up to it (WWIII being the Cold War). WW IV is the war on terrorism and is what he feels is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan among other places right now. What led up to WW IV was the oversight by many American leaders of terrorist acts in the past: the Beirut marine barracks bombings, kidnappings by terrorists during the Reagan administration, and the World Trade Centers bombing in 1993 just to name a few. Conservatives and liberal leaders alike overlooked terrorism in the past. What they chose to ignore stewed into the much larger problem that we are dealing with now on a massive scale. Their inability to see the real threat that terrorists posed to the world has led to deaths that might have been avoidable had some action been taken earlier.
We haven’t been able to in the past nor can we now pretend that terrorism will go away on it’s own. It is a massive problem that must be dealt with now and if not dealt with will inevitably endanger the very freedom that we enjoy as Americans and want others across the globe to enjoy. We must face terrorism as a nation and convince those who don’t see it for the real problem that it is to do the same. Pretending that things will work themselves out on their own will not work. Pretending that terrorism isn’t that big of a deal wont work. Pretending that if America just pulled out of Iraq then terrorist acts against America would cease wont work. We have a problem that must be taken care of. Just as we went to fight against Nazis 60 years ago to liberate nations from tyranny we must do the same now and stick with it until the job is finished. Despite what people like Arianna Huffington would have you believe, the parallels between WW IV and WW II are valid. We are at the same time trying to liberate a people from tyranny while at the same time ensuring the security of the freedom we enjoy in America. Terrorism has threatened our security from the Carter administration on and nothing has been done about it until now. We can no longer pretend we are at the beach while we are sitting in the middle of the desert.
I wish I was lounging on the beach with a hula dancer and a beer but I remember a saying that goes something like “Try wishing in one hand and doing something in the other ;) and see which one fills up first.” (My grandma reads this blog so I am trying to keep it clean.)
The pic is of my barracks and the barriers in front of it.