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Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Essay: Why We Fight 

Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are. --Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Nearly three years ago, this country was awaken to a threat that had been festering among us for quite some time. Many see that fateful September morning as the beginning, when in actuality it was an escalation of a conflict that for too long went unheeded not only in this country but abroad as well.

Not unlike the threat posed more than half a century ago in Europe, a movement with evil intentions was allowed to mingle among us, to breathe the same air of liberty, to enjoy the fruits of a civilization that they very well despised.

Dwight Eisenhower, on the day that World War II began, wrote to his brother Milton, "Hitler should beware the fury of an aroused democracy."

The notion still lives today.

It is not the need for security that divides our country today. Like Tony Blair has said before, it is the characterization of the threat. Unlike Roosevelt and Eisenhower, we are forced to search for our enemies, and forced to do so not only in the caves of Afghanistan or the narrow streets of Baghdad, but also forced to search for them in Buffalo, New York. Or Seattle, Washington. Or McAllen, Texas.

While the black and white line between evil and good was easy to see in the 20th century from World War II to the Cold War, it is the ambiguity of our enemies today that makes them most dangerous, their ability to conform to our environment the fiercest weapon that they possess.

But make no mistake that their ultimate goal is rooted in perhaps the most evil mindset that this world has ever seen. For this isn't a single dictator looking for new lands to conquer, nor a country fighting for a moral resolve, but rather it is a movement that revels in death--their own or their enemies--and celebrates it. To them, death isn't a solemn occurence, rather it is an honor that comes to the chosen ones.

This movement is one that must be struck down if we wish to keep calling ourselves a democracy, for the threat posed not only threatens our moral superiority, but threatens our liberty and soverignty as well. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, the light of liberty shall never be distinguished.

To understand the need for war in Iraq in the midst of a war on nation-less terrorists is to understand that the symbol of freedom is what fuels the fight against the greater evil. Reagan, in his address on the 40th anniversary of D-Day, said it best when he noted, "When our forces marched into Germany they came not to prey on a brave and defeated people, but to nurture the seeds of democracy among those who yearned to bee free again."

Some will try to tell you that we are in Iraq for economic reasons or for personal vengence, but the fact of the matter is that Iraq is far better off today than it was a year ago, and will be far better off a year from now than it is today. The seeds of democracy that Reagan mused upon 20 years ago today reside in the hearts and minds of a land that could only recently even begin to dream about the privileges that we have nourished in our heartland for more than 200 years.

It is not our judgement that matters, it is history's.

Saddam Hussein was not an imminent threat to our security. No matter what you hear, the leaders of the American and British governments told us that he was not in the moments leading up to the war. But do not be mistaken about the nature of the threat of similar goals and the means in which to help others. President Bush stood before this country in the dusk of September 11th and told us that not only would we find the people that did this, but we would reach out and eradicate ties between states and terrorist organizations.

No matter what the perceived differences between two bodies are, a common enemy is a bond that has been proven over the course of history to be stronger than differences in theory.

To err on the side of caution would be to put the fate of the world in the hands of a mindset that wishes for the destruction of freedom, the end of Western culture and the death of anyone that stands in their way.

All you need for evidence is to look at present day Iraq, where innocent Iraqis are being killed by the very people that claim to be their protector. Regional pride isn't the reason the insurgents are in Iraq. They are there because Iraq's soverignty threatens their very principles.

The war on terror is a war of principles. America must not deter from her principles of freedom and liberty, for the greatest achievement of mankind is not materialistic nor technologically based, but rather the sharing of these principles across the globe.

The democracy is awake. Do not let it sleep.


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