Skip to comments.‘These are the times that try men’s souls’
Posted on 02/18/2007 6:49:58 AM PST by Teófilo
By Pedro O. Vega
As published today in the Johnstown Tribune Democrat
The situation in which we find ourselves in Iraq because of the war on terror defies my attempts at originality to describe.
I find myself in need of laying hold of aphorisms and clichés said by the truly Great Ones, and some not-so-great.
The first one that comes to mind is from Thomas Paine, an American Founding Father, written in 1776. Its one I used in a previous column, one I keep returning too because of its sheer wisdom: These are the times that try mens souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
A movement is afoot in Congress to remove funding from military stabilization operations in Iraq. The nonbinding resolution designed to disagree with the presidents military surge currently being debated in the House and Senate represents the first step in that direction.
The resolution is mute when it comes to offering an alternate plan ensuring victory and protecting our national interest in the region.
Summer soldiers and sunshine patriots are intent on prolonging the war on terror for two more generations by hastening a unilateral retreat from Baghdad without giving current operations a chance to work.
Emboldened politicians and pundits now behave as generals, claiming to be masters of the retrograde fighting maneuver and the pursuit of peace.
Another saying comes to mind, this one by that great Pennsylvanian, Benjamin Franklin: There never was a good war, or a bad peace.
Not knowing the original context of Franklins declaration, I am left to deal with its meaning at face value.
I agree with him that all wars are bad, but it goes without saying that some are worse than others. On occasion, theres such a thing as a bad peace if this peace becomes a cover for defeat, humiliation and eventual surrender to the will of the enemy.
Franklins actions in the field of diplomacy belied his own assertion. Once converted to the patriots cause, Franklin ensured that the nascent United States had enough weapons to win the war. His diplomatic skills doubled the size of the country at the end of the revolution, at the expense of the British.
If aversion to war and love of peace ever moved Franklin to appease the British, he never showed it.
Thomas Friedman is credited for coining the Pottery Barn rule of foreign policy. That is: You break it, you own it.
This is what Colin Powell, retired Army general and then secretary of state, told President Bush before the start of the war in Iraq.
Events are about to disprove the logic of this common-sense assertion. We went into Iraq and broke the status quo there, and now our armchair generals want us to retreat without fulfilling our responsibilities, despite an already dreadful investment in American lives and treasure.
We want to walk away; we dont want to own the situation. But the fact is that we do.
Neville Chamberlain returned from the Munich Conference in 1938, waving a piece of paper signed by Adolf Hitler and saying, My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British prime minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time.
Winston Churchill wryly replied, You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war.
Many Chamberlains run around today in the guise of politicians and pundits, waving papers and declaring peace for our time.
Their views might even prevail and become both law and accepted wisdom. But by choosing peace over dishonor, they will ensure the coming of even more war.
Sadly, summer soldiers, sunshine patriots and enlightened pundits alone are not going to bear the bitter consequences of failure in Iraq. They will befall all of us, our children and our childrens children.
One more aphorism is in order. George Santayana once said: Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
As we get ready to abandon Iraq, were about to relearn this lesson in spades. Truly, these are the times that try mens souls.
I'm just as determined to see US win as those are that want us to fail. I just hope I'm not the minority.
Winston Churchill was an expert on Iraq. He was involved in creating it and he was involved in fighting the insurgency in Iraq.
Nations were established for believers as well as unbelievers.
As Christians, we are faced by two major threats. First a threat from within our own nation which reduces belief in God through faith in Christ as a mere comparative form of religion, relegating national governance to good works of men independent of faith through Christ (and those human good workers themselves are in conflict amongst themselves as evidenced by the recent congressional vote). Such thinking is disobedient to His Will and merely provokes Divine Discipline upon our nation.
The second threat is from antichristian foreign nations which seek to attack anything Christian.
Those who seek to mold the world by human good, independent of Divine Good, have redirected our military overseas, while others domestically continually seek to erode national unity.
IMHO, we are becoming ripe for a third party intervention to which we have become remarkably unstable to resist, nationally, believer and unbeliever alike.
In the end, Jack Murtha got my vote
By Pedro O. Vega AKA TEOFILO
As published today in The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat.
I voted to re-elect John Murtha to Congress. It was not an easy decision and my support comes with strings attached. Let me share with you how I reached that decision, and what my expectations are now.
You got what you voted for. Get the F8ck out of here you stinking crat.
Another Democrat Congress' cutting off all our funding for a then Free South Vietnam's Military to fight for its own Freedom with against heavily Soviet-backed Communist invaders from the North =
Pictures of a vietnamese Re-Education (SLAVE LABOR) Camp
What price for us to now pay, I wonder..?
With our own Freedom being attacked by Islamic Fundamentalist Extremists who know they have an oil rich 100 year window to take us all over, like they failed to do in the 7th Century A.D.
Now is the winter of our discontent.
"summer soldiers, sunshine patriots"
Rings a bell....
Murtha is a summer soldier, Kerry was a winter soldier.
Benjamin Franklin: There never was a good war, or a bad peace.
Munich,1938: "Peace in our time"
I'll give Ben a pass on that quote sinc he was such a great man.
For most of his tenure in office, Lincoln was an unpopular president. There were two main oppositional factions: Confederate sympathizers in the Border States and lower Midwest, and the peace wing of the Democratic Party. The latter group believed that the Civil War was undermining the Northern economy, civil liberties, and states rights. Particularly objectionable to Northern Democrats were two Lincoln administration policies: emancipation and the military draft......
The Democrats, on the other hand, were energized by what they saw as the morass of a stagnant Union war effort: death, debt, and destruction with no end in sight. Furthermore, several of Lincolns key policies were extremely unpopular: emancipation, the military draft, the use of black troops, and violations of civil liberties. Democrats also benefited when the presidents outline of preconditions for peace negotiations, in his To Whom It May Concern letter of July 1864, included the stipulation that the Confederate states abolish slavery. Frederick Douglass had to convince Lincoln not to backpedal on that forward-looking stance, and the president did stand firm, even though it undercut his support among War Democrats and conservative Republicans. Democrats played the race card for all its worth, insisting that the Republicans were upending traditional race relations and advocating miscegenationa word for racially-mixed marriage allegedly coined during the campaign.
The Democratic National Convention met in Chicago in late August 1864, when Union military prospects appeared dim. That circumstance strengthened the Peace wing of the Democratic Party, led by Clement Vallandigham, a former congressman from Ohio, and Fernando Wood, a congressman and former mayor from New York City. Their proposals for a cease-fire and negotiated settlement with the Confederacy were ratified by the delegates and incorporated into the official party platform. Confusing the issue, though, the Democrats overwhelmingly chose General George B. McClellan, a War Democrat, as their presidential nominee over two peace candidates, Governor Horatio Seymour of New York and former Governor Thomas Seymour of Connecticut.
McClellan was the controversial former general-in-chief of the Union army, praised as an superb trainer of raw recruits, beloved by his men as the dashing Young Napoleon, yet much criticized for his hesitancy, which some characterized as cowardice, in committing his troops to battle, particularly at the Second Battle of Bull Run and Lees retreat after Antietam. U.S. Representative George Pendleton of Ohio, a Peace Democrat, was selected as the vice-presidential nominee after former treasury secretary James Guthrie of Kentucky, the leader on the first ballot, withdrew.
All this Munich talk is a nonsense. First: what should have been done in 1938? Poland and France were to stage attack on Germany? (USA and UK had no such capacity at that time.)
Second: in 1930's the greatest danger was Communism, which with great bloody effort was defeated in Spain (with the help of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy). People in 1930's did not have benefit of "clairvoyance" supposedly enjoyed by us today.
We cannot predict the future by using Munich analogy. The only conclusion we can draw is that as it was a mistake in 1930 to see Communism as the key threat so we might be mistaken the same way by thinking that we know what are the key future problems. WE DON'T!
The same people who today invoke Munich as the example of error, in 1930's would be calling for crusade against Soviet Union and would be allying themselves with Hitler and Mussolini (as they did in Spain what turned out to be not so bad).
There is enough history to read to see the handwriting on the walls. Evil is brewing all over the world in the form of Islamic terrorists. The only ones that have not learned from history and cannot read the handwriting on the walls are Liberals and RINO's.
Man, does that sound familiar.
Even when God Himself writes on the wall, only a few of inspired men can understand it.
The past analogies are useful but can be deceptive. In 1930s the OBVIOUS (to those on the conservative side) threat was Communism. Fascism/Nazism was seen as a main threat by the Communists and not by all of them.
And there was no real alternatives to Munich in 1938, sorry.
Unlike you, I can explain myself, defend my choices, and take responsibility for them.
I am not going anywhere. Perhaps, you should consider going back to school and take a course in rhetoric, or at the very least, in respect to others.
Yes, Mr. Chamberlain. lol
Seriously, you may be part right- but Hitler came back from Munich emboldened by the pussy attitude he saw.
Perhaps, but UK had no other cards to play at that time. And as Machiavelli said: "a republic or a prince ought to feign to do through liberality, that which necessity constrains them". In Munich Hitler was granted what he would get anyway - Sudetenland.
Untimely resistance is not a sign of strength. Russia was humoring Napoleon before he attacked her. Soviet Russia was accommodating Hitler before 1941. In both cases Russia won.
In 1914 when Russia stood her ground against Austria and Germany who bullied small Serbia - it led to the disaster. If Tsar Nicholas II were a more crafty man, he would abandon Serbs for a while. Both Serbs and Russians would benefit from such stance.
If you worry about Islamism there are some things one could do with little expense - like limiting Muslim immigration, pressuring for reciprocity in religious tolerance - let Saudis and Turks allow churches be built on their land and protect converts, differentiating between expansive forms of Islam and not expansive ones (example for the first radical Sunni, for the second traditional Shia, see the map of expansion over centuries).
My thoughts exactly! Hear hear!
Conservatism no longer has room for those who, like Chamberlain, substitute "peace at any price" for actual policy and for national defense. If Islamofascism wants to wage war against us (it was in all the papers), then war it shall be with as much Islamobloodshed as necessary to discourage and demoralize the Islamolunatics once and for all.
As to communism, we ought not to have "recognized" as legitimate the soviet regime as FDR did. We ought to have sent a lot more than an American/English/Czech (?) "Expeditionary Force" in the immediate aftermath of WWI. Our troops were already in Europe and should have had the opportunity with full backing from pondscum like Wilson to strangle the soviet regime in its cradle. It would have saved us Korea, Vietnam, and very possibly WW II BUT, like PJB foolishly opines today, the war that is postponed (until the enemy is strategically equipped for war) is preferable to the war fought and won NOW when the enemy is weak. When we got one war behind by tolerating the USSR, we were then forced to choose reds or nazis when we could have next joined with a free Russia to crush the Germans. Liberals on the left and counterfeit conservatives (Chamberlain types) on the right set the stage for that choice. I would take Franco over most 20th century leaders. Just how was either Germany or Italy instrumental in the victory of Franco Spain over communism? If so, it was for their own purposes and certainly not for Spanish freedom from the reds and anarchists. See Warren Carroll's The Last Crusade.
Had we crushed communism in its soviet cradle, Eastern European nations would likely have escaped soviet domination because without a soviet union there would have been no Iron Curtain.
We are coming up on having to choose between red China and the Islamofascisti, another choice beloved of the Clinton left and the Chamberlainite phonycons.
Our safety lies not in imagining ourselves just another country no better and no worse than North Korea, Iran, Syria, etc., or to imagine our way of life no more entitled to prevail than Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Al Qaeda, or other Sharia lunatics. If they want to run their infernal pestholes according to their lunacy, that MAY be tolerable. When they decide that they are re-establishing a caliphate over all formerly Muslim geography (including Spain) and convert at the point of a sword and govern by Sharia, then there may well no be room on this planet for the US and for the Islamofascisti, then there will be room for us and not for them. Instead of our wringing our hands and weeping and wailing over what the Islamolunatics may think of us, let them worry about what we think lf them and, more importantly, what we are prepared to do about it.
Israel is not the Sudetenland and it is not going go be turned over by Chamberlainesque cowards, at least not with actually conservative applause. If the Islamofascisti imagine that blowing up school buses filled with Chassidic Orthodox grammar school children is a legitimate military tactic and that homicide/suicide bombing is the pathway to heaven and 72 virgins (who hopefully closely resemble Helen Thomas and Madeleine Notsobright), we should employ our superior technology to make the search for heaven and 72 virgins much, much more efficient, at least at the earthly end. Else, why did God invent Electric Boat and its missile submarines. We do NOT have to take their guff, much less their homicidal passions.
The conservative movement (what some people without a sense of history call "neo-conservatism") does not exist to turn over the world to our enemies on the installment plan. We are no longer (if we ever were) a movement characterized by isolationism. We are not a movement of internationalism. We are a movement of interventionism, effective intervention imposing unacceptable pain on enemies who strike at us or our allies. Robert Taft the Elder is not a model for conservatism. Religiously a Unitarian (as nearly none of us are), politically somewhat libertarian (as a minority of us are), foreign policy-wise (until Pearl Harbor) an enabler by delay of America's enemies counseling that we not stir them up while they armed to fight us in a four-year war for us and longer for others.
Barry Goldwater forfeited, by his enthusiasm for abortion and homosexual "rights" any claim to leadership as well. In the 1960s and 1970s, the New Right (not neo-conservatives but young people not superannuated ex-socialists but dedicated rightists) formulated interventionist foreign policy for a principled nation. We aren't going to go back to Chamberlainism.
If you don't like the analogy to Chamberlain, then chew on Cain as the ultimate paleocon trying to convince God by saying: "I am not my brother's keeper" for that is the essence of paleo foreign policy.
No sale. Now or ever.
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