“If I was going to find a purpose in what men like Adam and Steven died for, maybe I could sleep at night, but even sleepless, I reap this blessing; The fear that once ruled over me subsided and although the memories etch at my heart, it means I get to keep these men alive.” Iraq: What I remember
Fear is an excellent motivator, but love is even stronger. They are opposites, really. Love drives fear away, and, if permitted, fills in the empty places left behind. But it takes time, and in our instant society, time is rushed. If it takes longer than 5 minutes, it’s too long.
Most of us have known fear in some way … fear of failure, fear of success (and the responsibility that comes with it!) Fear of dogs or spiders or snakes (the unknown), or fear of dying. To my mind, these all boil down to fear of the unknown. What we do not know or understand frightens us because our imagination goes to work and augments it to the ultimate extreme, the worst case scenario. Seldom is reality quite so extreme … except maybe in combat.
Korea, Vietnam, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan … American lives have been spent in these “conflicts” without obvious purpose or gain. These men and women fought as directed, and yet years later, or in some cases, just weeks later, nothing has changed. The tribal conflicts continue. The religious war continues between Islam and Christianity that stretches in history back beyond the Crusades. The cost, not just in American lives, but in LIFE, with no added security to show for it is repugnant. While there were stated reasons for our participation in these conflicts, they were/are obscure and immeasurable enough as to make “Victory” equally immeasurable. Yet the cost to the ones physically and emotionally engaged in combat, pay a price beyond measure. Few return as they left. This is the unspoken cost of undeclared war!
Does that mean ignore these conflicts, ignore the need? NO, it simply means that the US weigh carefully the involvement of troops on foreign soil, have a clear, concise objective that centers on securing American interests and victory, gain Congressional approval, and execute. Politicians decide policy – military chiefs execute the mission. Politicians cannot wage war any more than warriors can … Oh wait! Warriors CAN make policy, and maybe more should run for elected office!