When I was in grammar school, all of us engaged in a weekly game of dodge ball. Students from four grades were sided up, the “A” homeroom students on one side and the “B” homeroom students on the other. The balls were divided evenly between both sides and we scrambled to pick up this ammunition, intent on destroying our enemy students. This gave me an early insight into my own and my fellow students’ different personalities.
Generally, the older kids, oblivious of the pelting they were likely to encounter, ran to the demarcation line dividing the two sides, poised to hoist and hurl their soft rubber missiles at their opponents. Naturally, many of these were felled by their opponents’ projectiles and were retired from the game. Others who were perhaps more prudent, hung back from the front line of the playing field, more intent on avoiding the balls flung at them than demolishing the enemy until the numbers on both sides had been culled down to a more manageable size.
In a typical game I found myself sidelined fairly early on. In part this was due to the large, heavy prescription glasses that I wore from an early age that limited my peripheral vision, resulting in my taking more than my fair share of balls to the head and other body parts. But perhaps the more important factor in my less than stellar performance was my own view of my abilities. I knew that I didn’t throw as well as other kids and I didn’t have a vision of being the superstar who carried my side through to victory.
One day, through a matter of chance and a little bit of artful dodging, I was the last kid on my side still standing – versus three older kids on the other side. My classmates, knowing my less than stellar athletic skills, still cheered me on enthusiastically. All of a sudden my adrenaline started flowing. I had to hold up the honor of all of us “A” homeroom kids. I put out of my mind the fact that I was outnumbered by three to one and these kids were all better throwers than I. The only assets I had going for me were agility and desire.
One kid came to the line and fired one of the small, fast balls at me. Remarkably, I caught it – much to both our surprise and the cheers of my classmates. I hurled it right back and it struck one of the two remaining contenders in the foot. More cheers from the sideline. Then it was one on one.
After an exchange of mis-fired balls my nemesis on the other side of the chalk threw one of the larger balls. For a moment I debated whether I should try to grab or evade it. I finally thought I could catch it – and I did. We had won – and my classmates cheered me with tremendous enthusiasm (and I suspect a modicum of disbelief). I felt a tremendous glow, knowing what it was to win.
America once had this “can do” spirit of winning. That’s what brought millions of immigrants to the country. Nowhere else in the world was it possible for a humble person to make the best possible life for him or herself and his kids. Being the best was the goal. It was not an embarrassment. And we won consistently and that had benefits not only for Americans but billions around the world because Americans are a charitable people.
It always amazes me when I hear the envy, inherent in the philosophy of the liberal left that, “So and so has too much money. We should take most of that and redistribute it to those who barely have enough food to eat.” While helping out the poor is certainly a moral thing in which to engage, what the left either fails to realize or chooses to ignore is that once that one time distribution is made, the poor person will continue to engage in the behaviors that made him poor and the formerly wealthy person will continue to engage in the behaviors that will enable him to amass a second fortune.
The underlying premise of left wing American politics is that America is an evil-doer, without the moral compass to participate in world affairs since they believe that it is American past policy which has misshapen our globe into the turbulent place it is. If we were to ask them to name a country that has done more to help out humanity through charitable giving or selfless military service where and when it has been needed, they will either be silent or they will change the focus of the conversation. That is because there is no answer to that question by virtually any measure.
While the real motivation for initiating the war in Iraq may be debatable, there is no question that Saddam Hussein was a violent, ruthless and genocidal dictator. That in itself would present sufficient reason for ridding his people of him. Estimates are that between 250,000 and 500,000 died at his hands. Is that not a sufficient number dead to have removed this scourge from the Earth?
We ignored Hussein and his murders for years. Whether he possessed WMD’s or not, the slaughter of one half million of his own countrymen should stir even the most pacifistic person to action. And after a hard fought war, Hussein was eliminated and Iraq was brought to what, by Middleastern standards, was a level of balance and tranquility. And then we withdrew and the country is once again in chaos with perhaps an even more violent and ruthless force now in control of much of the country. The previous post had several graphic pictures of the horror they currently are bringing on those whose views differ from theirs.
In defense of what can only be generously termed a “policy,” President Obama said in a New York Times interview yesterday that “The responsibility for Iraq falls on the shoulders of the Iraqi government – not the United States. And if we had left a force of 10,000 troops there it would have made no difference in ISIS’ ascendancy to power.” The first part of the statement, that Iraqis should determine their own fate has some fair amount of validity to it. The second part, that leaving troops there would have had no impact on future developments is purely speculative and, in my belief, likely untrue. Having a U. S. military presence there might have at the least shown that we hadn’t abandoned the country and left it totally in the hands of what has proven to be an inefficient and inept government.
Part of the left’s justification for withdrawing from Iraq and soon Afghanistan is that the American people are war weary. Poll after poll shows that is the case. But that is a reflection and expression of politics not policy. If we were to use that metric, there would have been a bipartisan law passed repealing Obamacare since the majority of Americans in poll after poll oppose the law. If liberal Americans want to use polling as the basis for policy decisions they should, at least, be consistent.
Now, in a limited way, we’re back in Iraq. We’re finally supplying some armaments to our longest standing allies, the Kurds and humanitarian relief to the Yazidis and other minority groups that are being butchered by the ISIS savages. Even as we embark on this, we have shown our hand by describing our present and future involvement as being “limited.” It’s fairly clear that if anyone in this administration has ever paid poker, they have not done well in that venture. There is no difference in the way in which the Obama administration pursues American relations with other countries than an NFL coach who shares his playbook with the opposing team.
Because of our natural resources, not the least of which is our people’s ability to perceive that evil, where it existed, could not be tolerated and had to be combatted, America has been the perhaps unwilling caretaker for the world at least since the end of WW II. As a result of a philosophy that ignores that fact, this administration has led an exodus of retreat – and the results are what we see before us today on the world’s stage. It is not a pretty picture and belies Obama’s recent statement that, “The world has never been a safer place.”
When I found myself the lone survivor in our dodge ball game I realized that I was outnumbered and had poorer skills than my opponents. But sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. America faces no such similar deficiency. We are still the world’s strongest power militarily and, despite the decline in our standards of morality, know the difference between what is right and what is wrong. Hopefully, we will do the right thing even at the cost of personal sacrifice.
It’s time that the administration stood up, moved to the demarcation line, looked the army of terror in the face and said, “Enough. You will go no further.” We’ll see if our future actions are determined by partisan politics or intelligent policy.