Today's military climate is not the same as any we have ever known before. Nuclear weapons are now in every arsenal.
A reader writes me: “The war against Israel is not a war against Israel. It is a war against the west — it is Jihad.”
Incidentally, many years ago Winston Churchill wrote that Islam is, “the most retrograde force in the world.”
There are many historical predictions of future war between the ideas of Islam and western democracy. They surely are ideologies that will find it difficult to live in the same place at the same time.
Is even the American predilection for democracy passionate enough to arouse the fighting spirits and means to protect itself?
The beginning of our own country was instituted by George Washington and his group of rag-tag farmers with guns in their hands who were ready to die for their freedom. Many of our own ancestors followed along and helped us make the beginnings of a great new democratic country. We, the many today, owe so much to the few who wrought a miracle in 1775.
Words of peace and reason seem incapable of arresting the tide of hatred, which is always aimed at the U.S. Despite the fact that the U.S. is the most generous benefactor in the history of the planet, our gifts are mostly received with only dissention and scorn.
The years when I lived in Europe convinced me that all the American help showered on the defeated Germans had aroused mostly curiosity and non-stop envy. In vain I often exaggerated all the good European qualities, which we had saluted in North America, in order to create an amiable universal atmosphere. Such fairness seldom works. Maybe Europe sees our expressions of kindness as false modesty, phony humility. In my own case, I took great pains never to act the “proud American.”
Thinking back to my grammar school days, we started the morning with a ringing recital of the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the Star Spangled Banner.
Both of those treasures took on an extra meaning to me when I was in World War II, fighting against those who would gladly have killed all us Americans. When the surrender came, the enemy was seemingly as happy to call it quits as the smiling American winners. We Americans who fought never considered the possibility of America’s losing the war. Such negative ideas were unthinkable to the average patriotic American!
America may have walked out on a war or two lately per presidential direction. The U.S. however, has never been a loser in a full-scale war-time conflagration. I sincerely doubt that America would ever “fly the white flag” so long as one American patriot was left standing.
The Japanese surrendered at the end of World War II despite the fact that they too had vowed they would never give up. I guess they figured that it was better to surrender than have all of Japan become a pile of rubble such as was the fate of Tokyo.
I recall that long-ago day in 1941 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor: the next morning I got up in my Harvard dormitory, went into Boston and enlisted in the Navy as an apprentice seaman, the lowest rank in the Navy. I was later transferred to Northwestern University to Officer Candidate School, where I graduated as an ensign and went from there to shipboard service as a gunnery officer for the next four years.
Today’s military climate is not the same as any we have ever known before. Nuclear weapons are now in every arsenal. Everywhere in the world fingers are on buttons that can be pushed to destroy enemies handily. That awesome power is perhaps the greatest safety device we could possibly have invented. We all know the horrendous fate that awaits the first to explode a nuclear weapon. The receiver will be the first to die.
The sender, and the world-wide warriors to follow, will go next.
The Bible says, “Peace on earth, good will to men.” Let all of us obey the Bible’s mandate. Let us preserve peace.
Don’t fire the first shot!