I write this post for those who say that "we're stretched to thin," implying that we don't have the capacity to handle further military action beyond Iraq. Another implication of this argument is that we could not handle all of the "hot spots," meaning Iraq, Iran, No. Korea, Israel, India, among others, going critical at once.
I refer readers to the biography of Gen. George Marshall, who reluctantly gave his name to the famous Marshall Plan, in his post-military years. During his service, and at the onset of WW II, he was charged with building a military out of next to nothing. I think that he would be happy with the strength of our military against the threats we face today.
President Bush named these three states as "the Axis of Evil." Did that provoke them to their latest level of malevolence? Were they not always "state sponsors" of terrorism, and inhuman treatment of their own people, as well? Iraq shows the difficulty involved in changing any of these regimes, and the need for a long-term commitment.
This is where Gen. Marshall comes in again. He reluctantly backed what was to be called the "Marshall Plan," which ended up with a democratic Germany and Japan, and not without terrible hatreds being displayed from all sides.
The war on terror is just beginning, for the US. Afghanistan and Iraq are only the first rounds that we've actually fought in. Russia, India, Indonesia, Britain, Spain, France, Germany...all of the nations of the world are affected by this scourge. All have fought it, to a greater or lesser degree. Lebanon's getting on board against Hezbollah, from the latest news reports. Welcome to the club, old-timer.
By the way, why is it that so many see the Iraq war as a failure? We got rid of one of the biggest terror sponsors in the world (Three, if you count Uday and Kusay Hussein, may they rot in Hell), and we are now fighting to make sure another terror sponsor doesn't take his place.
I am fully aware of this, even if the media and "opposition" aren't. Gen. Marshall saw many more deaths in the training of troops for WW II than we have had in Iraq. One might not want to compare those, but I'll offer this, by way of explanation:
Shortly after 9/11, when we still thought the death count was around 6,000, I had an email exchange with my buddy John Elder. He was worried about the casualties involved in invading Afghanistan. I told him that my thoughts on the limit of "acceptable" deaths, to the public would be 12,000, or twice as many as we thought had died on 9/11. My rationale was that the deaths of volunteer military servicemen would stir less public outrage than innocent people that were just going to work.
This was my state of mind, in the weeks following 9/11. Military personnel volunteer their lives for their country. They are expected to kill, or be killed. This is also the mindset of our enemies, and which is why we must kill them, before they kill more of us. It is war, with a diplomatic veneer, that we face.
If all of the flashpoints in the world explode at once, I hope that we have a Gen. Marshall (or Gen. Colin Powell?) to help get us through it. I have faith that we can supersede our critics, both internal and foreign. To do less against the menaces of the world today dishonors our very heritage.