Steamboat Springs In case you might have missed it, we are in a war. The real thing.
Whether you thought it proper to go into Iraq and Afghanistan as a response to Sept. 11, 2001, and to insure that we continue to fight "over there" rather than on home ground, it is indisputable that we are in it up to our necks. Further, though George W. Bush was president when we launched this initiative, it is the height of irresponsibility to proclaim it "Bush's war" and act as if there are no consequences to a pre-emptive pullout. Should we do so, America's prestige and honor will suffer immeasurably for decades to come. Many of us also presume that because our enemies respect only power, they will be emboldened to generate more terrorism or worse right here on the Home Front. How do we know? They have told us so.
War is one of the banes of all civilizations. Does anyone like war? Are those of us who believe that we need to win this war really blood-thirsty types who have no feeling for the horrible losses it inevitably brings? As General McArthur famously said: "The soldier above all others hates war because he sees firsthand the terrible price paid by it." But he and all historically literate citizens know that peace is the exception in history, not the norm. Evil lurks in the hearts of some men and we are fools to ignore it. McArthur told us to be prepared for the next war because it will surely come. Indeed, at present, experts tell us there are more than 60 wars being fought as I write this. If anyone can truly make a case that "world peace" is possible with the nature of man being what it is, I would like to hear it.
We invaded Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, atrocities because we knew the Taliban government was shielding Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaida forces who perpetrated the terrorists attacks. We attacked Iraq because all available evidence showed that the dictator Saddam Hussein was pursuing weapons of mass destruction and was unashamedly kicking out the nuclear inspectors and refusing to deny he was actively involved developing such weapons. Indeed, one could eliminate all references to Saddam and Iraq by the Bush administration completely and rely only on former President Clinton and Democrat lawmakers' statements to justify this undertaking. Further, we had solid evidence that Saddam had used chemical weapons on the Iranians in their 1980s war along with killing untold numbers of his own people by these methods in 1991.
Why were these considered WMD in '91 and not so today? Why do we have the liberal media proclaiming that there was "no connection" with Al Qaeda and Saddam when evidence of this is uncovered incessantly from released documents our intelligence is now perusing?
Our enemies know that the bigger war is always political and in the public forum. It is surely how and why we lost the Vietnam War. The domestic foes of that war are still with us today but they just might consider what it wrought for them. I have met with many of the soldiers who are fighting in Iraq. Thank God they are the most incredibly trained, disciplined and committed patriotic men and women we have ever had in uniform. Because they are volunteers and because of their training, the defeatism of those in Congress and others seems to affect them minimally. They can only shake their heads in disbelief at the "surrender crowd" who want their blood and sacrifices to be for naught.
Gary Hofmeister is the owner and operator of Hofmeister Personal Jewelers in downtown Steamboat, a company he founded in 1973. He is a director of the Conservative Leadership Council of Northwest Colorado and a former Republican nominee for Congress in the 10th District of Indiana. He made 18 trips to the former USSR to teach democratic-capitalism during the 1990s.