Wednesday, February 21, 2007

What was asked...

By the time I hit "PUBLISH" on this post, a cool and gentle breeze will have begun flowing into the brimstone gates of hell, as I'm about to agree with Bill Maher.

The debate rages on about Iraq while Americans are dying left and right. On any given day I could defend the proposition that these are unnecessary deaths and I can just as easily side with those who believe these are sacrifices that are ensuring freedom and safety for future generations. I usually doubt those, like my friend Robert, who say we invaded Iraq for oil, but at times I have my suspicions. Surge or no surge? Yes.

I'm that fickle.

Yet there's something that Maher says that I just can't deny. When it comes to the war on terror, President Bush's fatal flaw isn't that he asked too much from our country. It's that he didn't ask enough. After we were attacked, a wave of civic responsibility and unity overcame us. We were together and together we were asking, "What can we do?"

After Pearl Harbor, the event in our history most resembling 9/11, Americans sacrificed. Industry began manufacturing tanks instead of cars. Families consumed less. Children stashed money away in coffee cans and adults purchased war bonds. Everyone had a part and much was demanded.

There was a small window of opportunity where the American public would have done anything this President asked of us to fight the Islamic extremists. And what did he ask for? Patience. He relied on our military and asked the rest of us to be patient and understand that our soldiers may have to die so we can be comfortable and that our victories will not be like the victories of the past. In short, as Maher has said, he asked "the enemy" to fight our military. He didn't make them fight all of us.

So we went back to obsessing over Britney's bald head.


jenA said...

I love this post, and I agree with Bill on the point of asking too little. I also think we ask too little of ourselves, and we're accustomed to believing we don't need such action to preserve or promote freedom any more. We incorrectly assume all cultures are rational and level-headed, have moved beyond measures of violence to influence opinion and are willing to resolve global issues over tea and crumpets.
then again, our own congressional sessions end in shouting matches and silent treatments. So, I guess we're not that much more civilized than the people we fight.

Katy said...

Oh, so true. Geez. Have you seen "Flags of Our Fathers"?

Aaron said...

I disagree, Craig. President Bush asked us all to be vigilant. What more should he have asked? We're not living in the 1940's anymore. Our military and economy are strong enough not to need the kind of sacrifice that our grandparents willingly gave.

We could all ride around on bald tires, but what would be the use? That would not make more good tires available to our soldiers, not this time.

Of course, I supposed President Bush could have asked us all to boycott the evening news as well as the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, and Time magazine. If we had done that, the war would probably be very different right now.