This afternoon we were on a bike ride in Coronado. While taking a break at a table in a sidewalk sandwich shop, a biker dropped off a flyer titled “Rebel with a Cause.” Issued by Bikers for Christ in Oceanside. In it was a quote from Colin Powell:
“Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return.” – Colin Powell
This got me thinking that as the number of those who sacrificed their lives and their health for our country continues to grow, I have often in words and writing criticized our country and leaders for starting illegitimate wars and conflicts, ones that have nothing to do with our own security, our own freedom, and the freedom of other nations, yet that cost our young people their lives.
On the other hand, I know of no other country, in all of history, that repeatedly and doggedly sends soldiers overseas in defense of the ideals of freedom and human liberty. All foreign wars I can think of were about conquest, taking away the property and land of other people, or to subjugate them outright. See the Romans, the Greeks, the Mongols and more recently the Germans.
The modern Germans make a sport of criticizing U.S. as imperialists and paint Americans as jingoists. Yet, Germany after 1945 hasn’t sent a soldier into harm’s way to protect any freedoms. The soldiers that went to Kuwait went as peacekeepers under the U.N. and only after immense international pressure. German soldiers, by and large, are alcohol-soft and pudgy, idealistic without the gumption to walk the walk. I know. I was a German soldier once.
It was the Germans that brought most of the misery of the 20th century over the world, caused tens of millions of deaths, including those of many Americans that went to Europe in both World Wars to fight and die, not to protect America, but to protect the world from German (and Japanese) imperialism and fascism, to free France and the surrounding nations, to keep England sovereign and in existence.
Americans have earned the right to be idealistic. And today is the holiday that has been set aside for us to think about that.