Do you feel an impending angst as 9/11 approaches, especially knowing we’ll relive that day through a deluge of 5th anniversary TV coverage? Or has it all passed you by and become just another calloused memory, no worse than any other you’d care not to revisit?
Will you relive that day and wonder why it happened and then wonder how we’ve come to this day? Or do the concrete realities and reasons for fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan escape your daily concerns?
How much sorrow do you feel with each funeral notice for a serviceman or woman who stepped forward to fight the Global War On Terror? Does it barely register or does it affect you deeply, if even for only a moment? Do you pause and say a prayer for the family in mourning? Or do you shrug it off and carry on with your daily routine?
Do you wonder at the courage and commitment of that man or woman which ultimately led to their sacrifice? Or do you simply wonder how they still had the tenacity to fight so many years after the catalyzing events of 9/11.
Do you still feel the fire from that day? The fire, determination, and will to bring harm to those who exacted such a terrible toll upon us, and all who think exactly as they do. The same fire and will that spurred you to pledge publicly or personally, “Never again!” Or is the will gone? Or was it ever there?
Some lacked the spirit to take on Al Qaeda, even after 9/11. A few more lacked the strength to take on Iraq and the similar threat Saddam posed. Now, a growing number lack the resolve to win this war, to see it through to victory. This, in and of itself, is a chilling predicament, considering our enemy draws upon the pool of their fanatical religious beliefs for a seemingly infinite supply of will and resolve to defeat us.
And when stripped bare, it all comes down to that. Do we possess the will to defeat Islamic extremists whose stated, unequivocal goal is our conversion or destruction? Do we possess the strength of character, as individuals, and as a nation to defeat this clear and present danger?
We need to ask those questions because that’s who we continue to fight, and will continue to face into the foreseeable future, worldwide, including in Iraq.
As violence in Baghdad increased, the picture portrayed was one of civil strife only, of neighbor fighting neighbor, sect against sect. But, at the source, the pot was still being stirred by Al Qaeda and it was still they, as much as any others, our combined Iraqi and American forces were still successfully hunting.
Gradually, more and more of that country moves forward into what critics still call an impossible future. In the last month we’ve seen the infrastructure advancements, a military milestone with 5 of 10 Iraqi divisions being fully operational and one of them now completely independent of our forces, the establishment of the full Iraqi civilian and military chain of command, the destruction of many terror cells by our combined forces, and the capture of Al Qaeda’s number two man in Iraq.
Yet, the facts and success we enjoy against this enemy go unreported or are quickly overwhelmed by a tsunami of rhetoric from those who lack the will to fight or seem to pursue our surrender and defeat against them.
The recent airline terror plots by like-minded extremists were forgotten in a flash, quickly hushed by those who, for no more than political reasons, would like all of us to forget the danger they posed, and from where that danger came.
The defeat of Joe Lieberman, who possesses the intestinal fortitude to fight this enemy to the finish, simply because he has that strength of character, is growing evidence of Americans who lack the will to fight a tough enemy.
In simple, yet very realistic terms, this is a tough war, and sure to be a long war against a nondescript enemy we have to fight wherever they may be.
There are those who understand this and those who do not. There are those who understand the consequences of defeat in Iraq (or any other front in the war against Islamofascists) and those who do not, and there are those who choose not to. There are those who never had or no longer have the will to fight. And there are those who advocate positions which are tantamount to our defeat.
There are a growing number of people who now question the patriotism of those who advocate positions for our defeat and loss in Iraq. I’m not there, but I do have to question their motives and their will to win the war.
So then I have to ask, do we still feel the fire? The same fire, determination, and will to stop those whose violent ideology includes our destruction; the same fire and will that should have spurred our country to pledge “Never again!” Or is the will gone? Or was it ever really there?