Paul Bonnifield: Standing tall in Syria
September 9, 2013
Rob Douglas's article "Stay out of Syria" was well written and clear to the point, but it fails to consider several important factors. If the United States chooses to do nothing, will the world be a better place and will America be safer? It will either go up or it will go down. It will not stay the same.
I served my country, and members of my family paid a very high price in World War II, Vietnam and Iraq. So, I'm very much aware of the human cost of war. Any student of the Cold War realizes it was a long, 45-year struggle of surged wars that were fought on many fronts and by methods that include all of the social, political and economic aspects of society. Vietnam nearly tore the nation apart. In the end, it was only a battle, a major and tragic battle, in the Cold War. In hind sight, and not seen at the time, that fight had to be fought although the gains were limited. Surprising nearly everyone, in the late 1980s, the Cold War ended. Communism was defeated. If at any time along that long, hard road, the United States lost its nerve and shrank from the battle, the communists would have won the war.
Douglas was right when he spoke of being involved in a world war. We are involved in a world war. Syria simply is a battle in that war. As so often in large wars, the battles never are clear cut. I, for one, was a critic of the war in Iraq, but I must admit that Iraq is a much better place now than when America invaded. An important factor that must be recognized is despite the terrible sacrifice, harsh criticism and war-weary nation, the United States accomplished a great deal — but not everything.
It also must be recognized that 9/11 was every bit as much an attack on the United States as the attack at Pearl Harbor. The war beginning on Sept. 11, 2001, continues, and we cannot shrink from it or escape it. We are at war, like it or not. No war is good, but we either fight the war or give up and suffer the consequences. It is going to be a long, hard war, and the only way our enemy can defeat us is by defeating our resolve. All modern wars are wars against the masses, and they are the cruelest wars; they are long wars and they test the resolve of the people and their government.
If we don't stand tall in Syria, then when will we stand tall? When a platoon or company was on patrol in Vietnam, they did not have the choice of where they fought the enemy. Often it was in the worst possible place. Yet, they had to fight the fight where the fight was and hope for the best. Often the price was high. In the end, communism failed, and freedom prevailed. Now we are faced with the question — do we have what it takes to see us through the hard fight when the going is tough and there is no glory nor clear victory?
On Sept. 11, 2001, war was declared on the United States. Do we have what it takes to fight that war? There will be no glory, and no one will be singing the patriotic songs of World War I.