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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Monday, May 28, 2007

Happy Memorial Day!

I realize this is quite a change of topic and tone. If you have not read the posts below, please scroll down. This is a Memorial Day post flown like a flag on the day set aside to remember those who have helped defend America--including the men and women currently fighting in Iraq.
If you are an American and you find yourself longing for an end to the war, that's good. We all long for that, but we dare not confuse walking away from conflict with victory. If we walk away, we dare not confuse a momentary pause with peace. Set aside all the political posturing in DC; set aside the 20-20 hindsight of the 2008 candidates (lets face it, they now benefit more from defeatism than a "win" before their watch); set aside any ill feelings you may have toward President Bush or Prime Minister Blair; set all that aside and ask yourself some questions:

How did the non-uniformed Islamists now detonating IED’s in both military and non-military venues feel about the deeds of 9-11 in New York City and the Pentagon? Did they have that motivational hatred before or after the war in Iraq began? If today were their Memorial Day, who would be their heroes? Whose lead do they follow? Who supplies their weapons? When will they consider the conflict over? If you're still not sure of the answers, you must view this link.

After watching the fervor of that short film, I don't think our zeal for this war's end matches their zeal to "destroy America." We can learn much by studying why they hate us, but if we pull out of Iraq as quickly as the some wish, will those tens of thousands of chanting terrorists say, "We promise to play in our sand box, and you can go play in yours. It's over. We too want peace. We promise that we will not fund or train or harbor terrorists, and we promise not to dance for joy and wag our tongues in the streets when they hit your country again." [In fairness, some would add, and the U.S. should promise to become energy-independent and not do business with or provide humanitarian aid to any nation that does not want to be tainted by the West.]
They will not say that, of course, because the enemy set its teeth against the West before we entered Iraq. I know what I'm saying is unpopular, but war should always be unpopular. We should avoid it whenever the enemy poses no threat and wants equally to avoid it, but to quote King Arthur in First Knight, "There's a peace only to be found on the other side of war. If that war should come [we] will fight it!" Stalemates between reasonable enemies are tolerable, but is this enemy reasonable? Just a few more questions:

Before 9-11 and the war against terrorism began, when President Bush said it would be a long, hard, sacrificial fight unlike anything we've faced before, was he right? When he said that we would respond at the time and place of our choosing, where did he mean?

In the months leading up to the war in Iraq, we were not told that Iraq was behind 9-11. We were watching Saddam Hussein shake a gun in our face (literally and figuratively). He wanted the world to think it was loaded. The intel of the previous decade (and administration) considered it loaded. His lack of cooperation with the UN examiners made it seem loaded. So Iraq became "the place." The war is in Iraq--but not against Iraq. Has that theater (where the enemy dares not let a free nation succeed) directed the terrorists resources and efforts away from attacks in the West? I think so, but I could be wrong. If we pull out of Iraq without a clear victory, we'll soon see.

Maybe the Hawks are right and the enemy will put their energy into attacks on new fronts... maybe the Doves are right and the militants will redirect their hostility to help spread the peace and forgiveness and tolerance of Islam throughout the Middle East and beyond.

In the meantime, I want to pay honor to our fighting men and women. I know many of them well (as former students). They believe in their cause. They wish the good things happening over there would get some news coverage. If you ever wonder why our soldiers volunteer to fight that enemy or if you ever wonder what they see when they close their eyes to the dust.... view this "America the Beautiful" link:
Thank you , Troops! Happy Memorial Day!
Explanation of closed comments: Debate is not intimidating to me. I have spent years teaching debate and judging debates. There was a time I engage in it more often than needed. In at least two previous posts I have written on this topic (here and here), both times I eventually chose to close comments because this topic soon stirs deep emotions, prompts Monday-morning quarterbacking, name-calling, etc. (In one case, I even started getting comments from an Islamist. It's easy to forget the nature of the www. =)

There are lots of blogs that welcome readers to vent or argue valid topics, but when that is not the purpose of a blog, the writer has to decide: Do I want to engage in a debate with my blogging friends (or ideological strangers)? Do I have time to moderate the debate among readers? Am I confident that all will defer to a moderator? Or... do I simply close comments and let people write their views on their own blogs?

Because this last week of school is very busy for me, I choose the latter. This is no reflection on the merit of the opinions that gathered here overnight. I know the confident rebuttals that would have appeared here in response, and I know we are all capable of generating more heat than light on this topic. June is almost here. Let's leave the rising temperatures to the sun as we pray for swift and sure conclusion to this conflict. I have a couple good stories in the draft stage. Come back soon!

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