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Sunday, November 02, 2003
Lessons from the Greatest Generation?

It is getting to be gut-check time. The signals being sent by the media and some political figures over here are unmistakable - - kill enough of our guys and we will lose our will and leave Iraq to fester and rot. The reality is, we cannot afford to do that. It is (a) not the right thing to do morally and (b) it is not in our own self-interest.

I will try not to belabor points made more articulately by others, but the message we are sending to our allies and our enemies in Iraq is that, if soldiers keep dying, we will lose our will to fight this to the end. Expect to see a lot of discussion (from the media, the talking heads and from politicians) come Monday AM as a result of the attack that killed 15 soldiers earlier today.

The reality is, this is a war. It is a war that the President has constantly said would require great vigilance and come at great cost. With one mission -- the liberation of Iraq from Saadam's control - - accomplished quickly and successfully, we now turn to the next stage - - turning Iraq into a functioning and stable nation that respects the rights of its people and its neighbors. There has never been any question that the second stage would be the more difficult one. Yet, the attitude from the media appears to be one of shock that fighting continues and soldiers continue to die.

This is an historic endeavor. Our grandparents' generation was given great challenges and they accomplished great things. The question we face now is - - can we accept the same responsibility? Do we want to accomplish great, historic things as a country? Or do we want to kick the can down the road?

The reality is, we cannot afford to walk away from the task before us. We cannot afford to walk away from the fight. This time, the fight will follow us. If we falter, if we decide to appease Islamofascism and leave the Iraqis on their own to be swallowed up by Islamofacism and the murder and chaos that follow, we will embolden our enemies.

If we have the will to stick it out, I have no doubt we will prevail. There will be great sacrifices. Soldiers will fight. Some will die. But our grandparents' generation fought far more deadly battles - - losing as many as 10,000 a month at some points in the war.

Why didn't they lose their will to fight when the cost was so high, the sacrifice so great? Because they understood what was at stake if they did not prevail. The question is, do we?

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